Entries By ben liken

Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Check In from Basecamp

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken, Stoney Molina | December 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

Hey everybody!

Checking in from Aconcagua Basecamp after a wholesome meal of steak, potatoes, and red berries.  Today was spent recovering from our three days of approach and preparing for our carry to Camp 1 tomorrow.  These days can often be long but this one seemed to breeze by due to great conversation with great people.  We spent hours telling stories and joking around, with the laughter alleviating any sign of an altitude-related headache.

Now the sun has set, lighting the clouds to the east in brilliant blues, purples, and pink.  As the stars rise we drift to sleep looking forward to climbing high on this beautiful peak tomorrow.

Thanks for tuning in!

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

Looking out over Aconcagua Base Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team at Plaza Argentina

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken, Stoney Molina | December 25, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 13,800'

Christmas Day was a little different for us this year than the usual gift giving and big meal with the family. We moved into our new home for the next several days, Plaza Argentina, our base camp. After a great three-course dinner of soup, lasagna, and rich dessert, we discussed some of our holiday traditions including fondue donuts and chocolate coins.

We miss you all back at home and hope you had as happy a Christmas as we have had.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

The views of Aconcagua while approaching Base Camp. Photo: Linden Mallory

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2

Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Reach Casa de Piedra

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken, Stoney Molina | December 24, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 10,550'

Hey everyone!

Today the team made it to Casa de Piedra, our second camp of the trip.  Everyone did well with the hike up the valley despite being blasted in the face with 25 mph winds!  We even got our first view of the mountain right before we entered camp.  I would guess that we shot well over 100 pictures between all of us.

Now it is dinner time,  I think Walt is whipping up a stew with lots of fresh vegetables.  The winds are calming down so I think we’ll have a few laughs, head to bed, and try to envision sugar plum fairies as we hope for a visit from Santa. 

Happy holidays folks!

RMI Guides Walter Hailes, Ben Liken and Stoney Molina

Tents at Casa de Piedra. Photo: RMI Collection

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11

Aconcagua: Hailes & Team Start the Trail into the Vacas Valley

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken, Stoney Molina | December 23, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua
Elevation: 9,000'

First day on the Aconcagua trail and even though it was hot, we had a nice breeze blowing most of the day. We were all very thankful to have that wind. We moved well on the trail enjoying the rigid high desert beauty. We also continued to tell stories of loved ones at home and a few misadventures.

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

An RMI team starting the trek into Aconcagua, Argentina. Photo: RMI Collection Hailes and team begin their trek into Aconcagua, Argentina. Photo: Walter Hailes

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Aconcagua: Hailes & Team are Packed and Ready for the Trail

Posted by: Walter Hailes, Ben Liken, Stoney Molina | December 22, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua

This is always a big day, permits, buying last minute supplies, traveling to Penitentes, gear checking, and packing. Luckily it went as smooth as possible. Our one hiccup was accidentally ordering everyone the same special at lunch which was made for two people. So each of us ate a two-pound steak, papas Freitas, salad, and two empanadas. Or as much as we could handle of the giant meal.

Well it’s off to bed for our final night in a bed for several days… I can’t wait

RMI Guide Walter Hailes

An RMI team loading gear in Mendoza, Argentina. Photo: RMI Collection The Road to Penitentes, Argentina. Photo: RMI Collection

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Aconcagua: December 20th -Walter Hailes & Team Arrive Mendoza

Posted by: Ben Liken, Stoney Molina, Walter Hailes | December 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Aconcagua

The first step of having a great mountaineering trip is having a complete team with all our bags and I am happy to report that both our team members and all our bags arrived today in great shape. Once in town we were all able to buy last minute items here in Mendoza while enjoying an unseasonable cool but sunny day. Great summer weather. After a quick meet and greet we talked about what will happen over the next few weeks both on and off the mountain then headed out to one of the great eateries close to our hotel. We all shared the first, of what I am sure will be many funny, stories with each other and with bellies full of Argentina beef we all crashed at the hotel ready for another great day tomorrow.

RMI Guides Walter Hailes, Ben Liken & Stoney Molina

RMI Expeditions December 20th Aconcagua Team Assembles in Mendoza.  Photo: Walter Hailes

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11

Mt. Rainier: August 16th Summit!

Posted by: Ben Liken, Brent Okita, Leon Davis | August 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

With the freezing level at 13,500’, the Mount Rainier summit climb teams reached the top just after 6:00 a.m.  RMI Guide Ben Liken reported light winds and sunny with a cloud deck below Camp Muir. They spent over an hour on the summit taking in the views and crossing through the crater to Columbia Crest, the highest point in Washington.  By 7:45 a.m. both teams had crested back over the crater rim and began their descent to Camp Muir.

Congratulations to today’s summit climbers!

An RMI team on the upper section of Mount Rainier. Photo: RMI Collection
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Fisher Chimneys: Beren and Team Summit

Posted by: Jake Beren, Nick Hunt, Ben Liken | August 09, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *North Cascades
Elevation: 9,127'

In the North Cascades of Washington, RMI Guide Jake Beren and team reached the summit of Mt. Shuksan via the Fisher Chimneys this morning.  The team is back at high camp for the night and has been enjoying sunny, warm, and perfect weather.

Congratulations Climbers!

Mt. Baker as seen from high camp on Mt. Shuksan in the North Cascades, WA. Photo: RMI Collection
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Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Powder Wading

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon | July 17, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

July 17, 2014 - 8:45 pm PT
In just under 24 hours, our climbing team went from the 17,200 ft high camp to the 7,200 ft basecamp.  It wasn’t remotely easy.  Luckily, we had a calm start to the day which allowed us to balance carefully down the exposed and spectacular crest of the West Buttress.  Things got tougher at the base of the fixed lines when we needed to virtually swim through bottomless powder snow.  We reached easier terrain upon which one could walk laboriously in knee deep new snow and this ground got us to 14 camp.  We did a fry-up of a few quesadillas while reorganizing gear and then set off in cloud toward Windy Corner.  Plenty of snow kept us walking funny and breathing hard as we negotiated the side hills and corners of Squirrel Hill and then Motorcycle.

At 11 camp we threw up tents and downed dinner.  The team wanted to just sleep for a few hours before resuming the march to BC at 2:30 AM.  The early start would give our best chance at catching the lower glacier in a frozen (rather than slushy) state.  We pushed on through the night gloom, a few thick fog banks and miles of glacier.  It was great to see -as expected from conditions on the way in- that the lower Kahiltna was well put together.  Very few crevasse crossings troubled us.  Finally we got working, trudging and sweating up Heartbreak Hill.  As we progressed, the weather improved to the point that with our arrival at the former site of Basecamp (nothing remains so late in the season) it was good enough to dial up K2 Aviation on the Sat Phone and seek a pickup.  The K2 pilots did their normal exceptional job in whisking us out of winter and into the Talkeetna summer.

Day 21 of our climb will end with a victory dinner in town.  True, we stopped a couple thousand feet short of the summit, but victory is still ours.  It feels that good to have endured Denali together.

Best Regards and thanks for following,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Flying into Kahiltna Base Camp on Mt. McKinley. Photo: Lindsay Mann The Talkeetna Airstrip in view. Photo: RMI Collection Sunset in Talkeetna. Photo: Linden Mallory

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Mt. McKinley: Hahn and Team Descend to 11,000’

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Ben Liken, Sean Collon | July 17, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,000'

July 16, 2014 - 11:37 pm PT

Hey,  this is Dave Hahn with the last team on Denali.  We did make it out of 17,000’ today.  We woke up, the weather was stable and we started working our way down.  And sure enough, we found some deep snow, it was hard going, sometimes waist deep but we made it down to 14,000’ and then plowed through a bunch more new snow to get to 11,000’.  We are taking a rest here at 11,000’ and our hope, everybody is feeling pretty enthusiastic, about trying to get to the airstrip tomorrow morning.  We are just going to rest a few hours and get on the trail again.  We expect it to be a little bit easier now that we are down low and conditions will be a bit better than what we were dealing with.

All is well with us. 
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

An RMI Team camped at 11,000 ft on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.  Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Dave Hahn calls from 11,000ft on Mt. McKinley, Alaska.

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