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Entries By ben luedtke


Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Weather Day at 14K

Friday, July 2, 2021 - 1:16 pm PT

Just as forecasted, a storm has settled in on Denali. At 14K Camp it is snowing with some moderate gusts of wind and very little visibility. Up above us on the mountain we can hear the winds crashing over the West Buttress like waves in the ocean.

We're protected and safe, though, with a well-built camp. After a hash brown, egg, and cheese scramble for breakfast, we're just relaxing in our tents or in the cook tent, reading, napping, and sharing conversations, a thin piece of nylon the difference between comfort and suffering.

This storm is forecasted to last into tomorrow, and we're in no hurry to stick our noses in it. Hopefully we'll get some nicer weather in its wake.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Go go Aaron!! Keep on goiiiiiiiing. Love, Em

Posted by: Emilee on 7/2/2021 at 2:33 pm


Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Take Rest Day at 14,000 Camp

Thursday, July 1, 2021 - 3:07 pm PT

We enjoyed a long, restful night of sleep at 14,000' Camp, with (relatively) warm temperatures. The agenda for today includes drying out boots in the sun, charging batteries with solar panels, resting, reading, and eating.

It's sunny and warm here in camp, but there's a nasty lenticular cloud on the summit, indicating high winds aloft. The latest weather forecast is calling for a storm affecting the mountain an lasting into Saturday. We're all set to weather the weather. And our hope is to get a good, three day window in which to have a summit bid. We'll be in touch again tomorrow with the latest. Now back to reading...

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Cache Gear at 16,400’

Wednesday, June 30, 2021 - 6:26 pm PT

The winds and clouds from yesterday and last night disappeared and we woke to crystal blue skies this morning. After breakfast we loaded our packs with food and fuel and headed out of 14K Camp, up towards the Headwall. The first two hours were in the shade, and chilly, which made for great climbing weather. We were finally in the sun by the time we hit the fixed ropes and the temperature was downright pleasant.

We ended up putting our cache in at around 16,400' and headed back to camp, beating both the heat and the many climbers descending from high camp.

Back in camp a little after 2pm, we had plenty of time for a nap before dinner. Now we're set up with our cache up high. We'll take a rest day tomorrow and then wait for a good weather window to head up to high camp and hopefully have a chance for a summit bid.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Following along with you Aaron!  Great photos and I may paint a few - enjoy the snow it’s HOT here! We love you
Mom and Dad

Posted by: Mom on 7/2/2021 at 8:53 am


Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Visit the Edge of the World

Tuesday, June 29, 2021 - 4:25 pm PT

The sky was blue and winds were calm at 14k this morning. Up higher it was a different story, with a lenticular cloud cap on the summit and long plumes of spindrift streaming out to the east. We enjoyed a morning jaunt to the Edge of the World, where we could look down almost seven thousand feet below us to the Kahiltna Glacier and our camp at the Base of Ski Hill at 7800'.

We also spent a few ours reviewing and practicing some climbing techniques that we will employ up higher.

Our next task is to establish a cache up high, above the Headwall on the West Buttress proper. Weather willing we'll do that tomorrow. Now it's time for some reading and resting before dinner.

We'll be in touch tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Move to 14,200’

Monday, June 28, 2021 - 9:02 am PT

With clear skies and light winds we retraced our steps from a few days ago up to Genet Basin. This time, though, we had our whole kit with us and now we've a established a comfortable camp at 14,200'. Today will be a rest day for  us, and we will review the skills necessary to travel on the fixed rope above us on the head wall.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Happy Birthday, Jim!

Posted by: Laura ODonnell on 6/30/2021 at 1:50 am

Keep up the good work guys! #teamAaron

Posted by: Emilee on 6/29/2021 at 10:22 am


Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Weather Day

Saturday, June 26, 2021 - 3:45 pm PT

When we got in our tents last night it was clear and calm, but the clouds, wind, and snow returned overnight, although with much less vengeance than before. We fired up the stoves early with hopeful anticipation that the cloud deck would drop below us and winds would abate, but that was not the case. We decided to stick around 11k another day, with an improving weather forecast ahead of us.

The hope is that tomorrow is our day to bump camp up to 14k. We're rested, acclimatizing, and our team has already tackled the climb to 14k on our carry day; while it will still be strenuous, the team is well prepared for the move to 14k. And we're looking forward to it.

I'll check in again tomorrow, hopefully from a higher vantage point.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

We miss you. You are always in our thoughts and prayers.  Stay safe and healthy.

Your fan club,


The Arnolds

Posted by: Jeannette Arnold on 6/29/2021 at 4:19 pm

GO AARON!!!!

Posted by: Emilee on 6/27/2021 at 6:11 pm


Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Poised to Move to 14,000 when weather improves

Friday, June 25, 2021 - 12:41 pm PT

The snow and wind from yesterday persisted through the night and into the morning, and now, at midday it continues. The weather is forecast to improve as we move into the weekend, and we are poised to move to 14,000' when that moment arises. In the meantime we're lounging, reading, snoozing, and also digging out our tents. Spirits are high as we continue to weather our first Denali storm. We're all all looking forward to seeing the sun again and getting back to our upward progression. Hard days of climbing and long days waiting out storms are hallmarks of a Denali expedition.

"...snow falls and it passes..."

We'll touch base again tomorrow to let you know the latest.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hi Daryl and all,
Looks like you’ve been playing the waiting game. I hope you are safe and having a great time. You ROCK!

Posted by: Will on 6/29/2021 at 8:52 pm

Told everyone today Daryl on the Mtn and everyone so impressed! Wishing everyone a good days rest! No such thing as bad weather.. just gotta be prepared for it! Which you all are!

Posted by: Katie on 6/25/2021 at 4:14 pm


Denali Expedition: Walter & Team R&R at 11K Camp

Thursday, June 24, 2021 - 12:48 pm PT

It's been windy and snowy today at the 11,200' Denali Camp, although we caught glimpses of blue sky above us occasionally this morning. We're all cozied up in our tents after a big breakfast. We're content to rest and relax, enjoying some reading and some napping. We're at a great altitude for acclimatization, so we're (hopefully) getting stronger for our next mission, which will be to move up to Genet Basin at 14,200'. That will happen on the next good weather day, perhaps tomorrow but more likely Saturday or Sunday. We'll keep you apprised of our status. But for now we're happy, hydrated, and comfortable in our current camp.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Beautiful team,  magestic scenery…keep up the great work Daryl.

Posted by: Pat on 6/24/2021 at 10:39 pm


Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Ascend Toward 14,000, Place Cache and Return to 11,200 Camp

Wednesday, June 23, 2021 - 5:55 pm PT

The alpenglow was serene early this morning as we fired up the stoves to make hot water for breakfast. We got off to an early start and loaded up our packs with food and fuel to cache up high. Armed with crampons and ice axes we ventured onto the upper mountain. We climbed Motorcycle Hill and then Squirrel Hill in the shade, encountering a chilly breeze on the latter. Next came the Polo Field and then we finally hit the sun at Windy Corner. Our team made good progress and the weather was perfect, so we continued higher to Genet Basin to make our cache. We were afforded beautiful views of the upper mountain, as well as Mounts Hunter & Foraker and the rest of the Alaska Range to our south, and the expansive tundra to our north.

We buried our supplies in the snow and then descended back to camp, arriving before 3pm with enough time for a siesta before dinner.

We're sitting pretty now, with a cache up high. We'll take a rest day tomorrow, which coincides well with an approaching storm. Once that storm passes we plan to move camp up to 14k on the next good weather day. In the meantime we're tasked with resting, eating, reading, and some well earned sloth time. We acclimate very well at this altitude (11,200'), and we're very satisfied with our progress. We'll check in again tomorrow in between the chapters of our books.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Praying for safety and warm in the storm. One day at time. We all so proud of Daryl. You are outside living life! Love you

Posted by: Katie on 6/24/2021 at 8:49 pm

Praying for safety with the storm and that you are able to move up 14,000 safely and timely!

Posted by: Marg Millman on 6/24/2021 at 4:35 pm


Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Retrieve Gear, Rest at 11,200 Camp

Tuesday, June 22, 2021 - 4:45 pm PT

We "slept in" to a normal hour today; being up at 11,200' we no longer have to be on an alpine start schedule, traveling at night when the glaciers are frozen. The sky was clear above us as I fired the stoves at 6am, and clouds filled the glacial valleys below. After coffee and a Pop Tart, we headed back downhill to retrieve the cache of supplies we buried a couple of days ago. A quick jaunt downhill and forty minutes of climbing back up hill, and we were back at camp with all of ours supplies. We enjoyed a big leisurely brunch of eggs, hash browns, bacon, and, of course, more coffee. Meanwhile the clouds that had been below us earlier had risen up to our level and it began to lightly snow. That was fine by us, as the rest of the day we lounged in our tents, resting, napping, and reading.

If the weather cooperates, we plan to put in a cache up above Windy Corner tomorrow, somewhere above ~13,600'.

We'll be in touch tomorrow and let you you know how it goes.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

I am following to see progress, my good friend Rob Millman is part of this adventure.

Posted by: Anthony Walker on 6/24/2021 at 7:13 am

Whoop whoop!

Posted by: Emilee on 6/23/2021 at 8:55 pm

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