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Entries By ben liken

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Acclimatize at 14,000’ Camp

June 30, 2016 - 9:43 pm PT

Hey all,

We are all settled in here at our 14,200’ camp were we can finally visualize the upper mountain.  Before we could move gear and people up hill though we had to retrieve our cache of food and gear at 13,200 ft.  So after a filling bagel breakfast we set off to grab it, and after a 3 hr round trip time the team was back in camp getting a little more rest.  We are not fully acclimated to 14,000’ yet so a little rest is still needed to recoup. 

Now as the never ending sunlight moves west we are gearing up and talking fixed line technique, in hopes that we can climb high tomorrow.  If the weather holds we will move some food and gear to the top of the fixed lines at 16,200’.  Then after breathing that thin air and scoping our line up the rocky west buttress, we will retreat to 14 Camp.  As the old saying goes “climb high and sleep low”. 

The team is still climbing like pros!

RMI Guide Ben Liken

On The Map

Good luck Robin and the rest of the group.

Posted by: Kent on 7/1/2016 at 2:41 pm

Sending lots of vibes from Utah for good weather and continued success!

Posted by: Caitlin Olive on 7/1/2016 at 11:27 am

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Move to 14,000’ Camp

June 29, 2016 - 11:03 pm PT

After an evening of snowfall and a lot of talk of stormy weather on the way, we were just a bit surprised and pleased to wake up at 11,000ft to cloudless blue skies.  But we knew just what to do with such an opportunity… pack up and head for 14K.  It was a great day of climbing on the way.  Even though we’d come much of the way on our carry two days back, the team hadn’t yet seen the scenery.  It was all out and spectacular today, especially when we got around windless Windy Corner and could see the lower Kahiltna Glacier -our world from a few days back- far below.  Mounts Foraker and Hunter were gigantic and beautiful as well -again, made more spectacular because our team hadn’t seen much besides clouds for a few days.  We made pretty decent time, reaching Genet Basin and 14 Camp in six hours.  It was a treat to meet up with Mike Haugen’s victorious RMI team just below 14.  They’d obviously done quite well and were moving lower with big smiles on their faces.  We reached our new home at 4 PM and began the now familiar routine of digging in, building tents and getting a kitchen going.  Dinner in the spacious dining room (read -snow pit with snow benches and a snow table) we inherited was quite comfortable.  The entire team seems happy to have arrived at the foot of the real mountain… the approach is nearly over.  Tomorrow morning we’ll drop down to recover our windy corner cache. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

I went to high school with Dave Hahn. Today I work for the US Department of the Interior as part of the FBMS program. We created the software than manages most of Interior’s finances. We are always looking for ways to connect our team with DOI’s mission, and the opportunity to follow from afar as your team ascends Denali is very cool. So, from a bunch of people who support Denali National Park and all the other aspects of Interior’s mission, we say safe travels and have a great climb! Thanks for the inspiration!

FBMS program Reston, VA & Denver, CO

Posted by: Bill Salzmann on 6/30/2016 at 10:08 am

Fantastic you have made it so far up the mountain!!  So happy the weather didn’t live up to the forecast yesterday.  Missing you madly Andrew and sending you lots of good vibes up the mountain.  Melissa and all the kids xxx


Posted by: Melissa on 6/30/2016 at 8:42 am

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Enjoy a Rest Day at 11,000’ Camp

June 28, 2016 - 9:51 pm PT

Hey everybody,

After four continuous days of strenuous climbing we finally stopped for a rest day.  The team is doing splendid, but on a large mountain like this we need to let our bodies recover and acclimatize. 

The crew slept in until the smell of hashbrowns, eggs, and bacon crept into their tents around 9:30 am.  Most folks said they “slept like a rock”.  After some casual conversation and coffee drinking we set off to read, watch tv shows, or listen to NPR for the afternoon until we met for even more food at dinner.  It’s a tough life here at 11k but somebody’s got to do it.

Tomorrow we will try to move camp up to 14,200’ providing the weather stays in our favor.  Stay tuned!

RMI Guide Ben Liken

On The Map

David Schnautz, your Grandmother told me about your new Boots.Heal up! and Go,Go,Go,Team 8,we are Rooting for all of you. The Summit is a waitin’ !

Posted by: Rodney Hughes on 6/29/2016 at 6:51 pm

Heal up and hair over David Schnautz and Team 8, the summit is waiting for y’all!

Posted by: Sondra Schnautz on 6/29/2016 at 8:13 am

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Make a Carry to 13,300’

June 27, 2016 - 11:08 pm PT

Another murky day, weatherwise.  It was snowing lightly when we checked things at 6:45 AM, but it was calm and there were hints of clearing in some of the cloud layers stacked above us.  We got up and had a slow and substantial breakfast as we watched the skies.  With a few patches of blue showing, the decision was made to go on up for our carry.  We left camp at about 10:15 and were promptly surrounded again by calm and listless clouds.  It was a relief to be spending a day without our sleds and to be in crampons instead of snowshoes.  The terrain, beginning with “Motorcycle hill” right out of camp, was steeper than any of the ground we’d covered to date, but that was nice too.  We all felt a bit more like climbers with ice axes in our hands at last.  The team wound up and across “Squirrel hill” to get to the lesser angled “Polo fields” below the end of Denali’s West Buttress.  At least we think those were the granite walls of the Buttress… we couldn’t really see very far up it in the clouds.  Conditions stayed windless though, so we pushed on to Windy Corner.  Nobody seemed disappointed that it wasn’t living up to its well-earned reputation.  We cached the provisions we’d been carrying there at about 13,300ft, digging a big hole and burying it all to keep the ravens from attacking.  Then it was an easy and uneventful hour back to camp with light packs and still not much for views.  We were down by 4PM and taking naps and sipping water by about 4:30.  Tomorrow is a rest day, so we are less concerned than usual by the continued light snow and ever-present murk. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Remember Kathleen “the pain is only weakness leaving your body”.We are Keeping track and living vicariously through you. Good luck on the weather and making the summit!    Annette and Ed

Posted by: Annette and Ed on 6/29/2016 at 10:00 pm

Dave H: Thanks for the wonderful posts!  It’s fascinating to follow the team’s progress daily - murk or not. Congratulations to all of you for your hard work so far.  Cheering for you from afar!

Posted by: Julia on 6/29/2016 at 5:51 am

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Move Into 11K Camp

June 26, 2016 - 9:54 pm PT


Today we woke to our clearest morning yet, with stunning views down the Kahiltna Glacier and onward into the Talkeetna Valley.  With a hot coffee and granola breakfast in our bellies, we were ready to turn the corner at Kahiltna Pass and head higher on the mountain.  The entire team rocked the four-hour journey to 11,000-foot camp even with the continued burden of big sleds and packs. 

After our tents were pitched we settled in for an afternoon siesta as the sun blazed above.  By the time dinner was served things had changed as the clouds had built up around us and it was starting to snow.  Now as we head to bed it seems to be coming down at a rate of 2ish inches per hour! 

The plan for tomorrow is to break up the loads and carry some supplies and food to 14k.  This will give us a taste of the crisp thin air of the high Alaska Range and help us in our acclimatization process.

We’ll let you know how it goes!

RMI Guide Ben Liken

On The Map

Michael Waters, your family is with you in spirit every step of the way.  Stay safe and good luck.  We know you will make it!  We look forward eagerly to the daily blog of the progress of you and the team from Dave.  Hugs, Nan

Posted by: Lynn Shannon on 6/27/2016 at 8:57 pm

Heritage Place is cheering and praying for you all and especially our Kathleen:)

Posted by: Heritage Place on 6/27/2016 at 6:17 pm

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Charge up Ski Hill and into Camp at 9,300’

June 25, 2016 - 9:14 pm PT

Checking the weather at 3:30 this morning revealed a slightly gloomy world of clouds.  It had snowed, but just a little, and it was calm.  So we fired the stoves and rallied the team.  While we ate breakfast and got ready to travel, about 50 climbers from at least a half dozen teams trudged by on the final day of their expeditions.  More or less happily heading for the exits.  We recognized and shouted greetings to many of the guides.  They’d all tagged the top in the last couple of days after waiting out prolonged storms. 
    Our team packed up and got on the track as if they’d been climbing for weeks.  We were moving by 6:15 AM with the sky clearing and trail conditions far better than they’d been the day before.  On the compacted and frozen surface our sleds were a lot easier to pull.  We charged up “Ski Hill” and after a couple of rest breaks and some tough uphill sections we pulled in to the plateau at 9,300 ft and dug a new camp in the snow.  By noon, most of the team were headed into their new homes to nap and get out of the intense sunshine.  We passed a lazy and quiet afternoon without much more sign of other teams.  We’ve already got the place to ourselves, it seems. 
    We’ll get up early again and see if we can get up to 11,000 ft tomorrow. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Wow that looks fantastic!!! We’re really hoping the weather holds for you. Good luck from down under

Posted by: Kate & Paul in Aus on 6/28/2016 at 9:01 pm

Go get it David! We all have your back here in Texas.

Posted by: Brian Schnautz on 6/26/2016 at 4:29 pm

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Leave Base Camp and Camp under West Kahiltna Peak

June 24, 2016 - 10:24 pm PT

It began raining at Kahiltna Basecamp around 9PM, and that transitioned to wet snow at about 2 AM.  So we didn’t go for that Alpine Start we were angling toward.  It was still snowing at 7:30 AM when we got up to build breakfast but then it quit and things began to improve.  We’d begun to think we’d be stuck in BC for a storm day, but with clearing weather and the knowledge that the glacier was in exceptionally good condition for late June, we decided to make use of the day.  As always, it took a while breaking camp and gearing up for this first push.  It was awkward rigging sleds into rope travel and it was awkward for some to be on snowshoes with heavy packs.  We got out of BC by 10:45 and by then the sky was mostly blue and the sun was mostly hot.  After the rain, the surface was a little slushy but not all that bad for travel.  We moved down the SE Fork and took a right turn at the main Kahiltna Glacier.  We had things pretty much to ourselves with only the occasional one or two European climbers at a time coming past on their way out.  We made steady progress, but we weren’t moving fast with the slushy conditions.  We decided to quit after six hours of work, which had brought us to just about 45 minutes below the more common camp at 7800.  We are out under West Kahiltna Peak.  All day as we traveled, we could hear avalanches thundering down the mountainsides, and from time to time we’d look hard enough to find the clouds of ice billowing out from the snowy torrents. 
We had a secure camp up by 6 and dinner by 7 PM so that all could get enough rest for another big day tomorrow.  Hopefully on a frozen surface with cooler conditions. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Go Robin and team! Sounds like some tough going up there and cold! It’s nice and warm and muggy here in NC. We’re all thinking about you and wishing you and the team the best of luck as you all get further along! Russell

Posted by: Russell Moore on 6/25/2016 at 5:32 pm

Hola! Superbub, Tatto, The Pake and kiddos here! Giving a shout out to the Guy Lard Boof Tard! aka Mike Waters. Wishing the best to you and your team and praying for good weather!



Posted by: Bub on 6/25/2016 at 11:25 am

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Fly to Kahiltna Base Camp

June 23, 2016 - 9:39 P.M. PDT

First day in our new home…The Alaska Range. We enjoyed a final night in Talkeetna and another great breakfast at the Roadhouse, but then we hustled out to the airstrip. There was no “hurry up and wait” today, more like just plain hurry up. The weather was good and the pilots were ready to go. Stan and Randy each piloted a big and beautiful Otter on skis into the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier and spit us and our gear out onto the snow…all before 10 A.M. We spent a calm day building camp and reviewing glacier travel techniques. We’d take breaks from time to time to sip water and stare at the giant mountain walls surrounding us. Cloud cover moved in to obscure those walls by our early bedtime. Our intention is to be up at midnight for an alpine start. During the flight in, we could see that the rumors have been spot on. The lower glacier is in excellent condition with very few open crevasses. Even so, we’ll go at it early when the surface has the best chance for being frozen solid.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Sooo excited for you guys! What an awesome experience! Get after it Hannah and crew! Best wishes for some good weather. Happy climbing :)

Posted by: Kate Kimm on 6/25/2016 at 2:42 am

Schnautz!! We are rooting for you! Kick ass buddy. We hope the weather stays perfect for Yall. Can’t wait to hear all about it when you get back!!!

Posted by: Ash, Rick, and TDub Egan on 6/24/2016 at 7:19 pm

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Gather In Talkeetna

June 22, 2016 - 12:17 a.m. P.D.T.

The final RMI Expeditions Denali trip of 2016 is kicking off. The team assembled in Anchorage today, with a few reunions and a few introductions, and made the traditional pilgrimage to Talkeetna. Bill, our Denali Overland driver, got the van out of the Anchorage rush hour traffic and out onto the open road with big views of the Chugach foothills and the Talkeetna Mountains. After a last stop for provisions in Wasilla, we cruised on up to epic views of the Alaska Range itself just before pulling into Talkeetna. We settled our climbing gear at the airplane hangar and checked in to the venerable Talkeetna Motel. Some of the team ventured out to sample local beer and appetizers, some went straight to the mattresses after long days of prep and travel. We’ll dial down on pre-climb details tomorrow morning…Tonight it was unwind and get settled in the land of the midnight sun.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Best of luck Team 8, everyone from Texas to Grand Cayman is cheering for y’all and we’ll be watching as you make your way to the top!  Safe climbing and enjoy the ride David Schnautz, love ya long time!

Posted by: Sondra Schnautz on 6/23/2016 at 7:29 pm

KirkMan - Proud of you Bro!  Miss you already!

Posted by: Charles Holliman on 6/23/2016 at 2:51 pm

Mt. Rainier: Teams Summit!

RMI Guides Dave Hahn and Ben Liken led their teams to the Mt. Rainier summit!  After some light now and 5 mph winds for the ascent, the weather has improved to blue skies and no wind as they topped out.  At 9:30 a.m. the teams began their descent back to Camp Muir.
Congratulations to today’s summit teams!

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