Entries By brent okita
May 31, 2016
May 31, 2016 - 12:03 am PT
Our day was a resounding success! A cold, early start had us ahead of the madding crowds as everyone was determined to take advantage of some perfect weather. It had snowed 6-8” overnight, and ours were the first tracks up the pristine slopes leading to the fixed lines and the start of the West Buttress.
By far the steepest climbing we’ve encountered, the Buttress is also the steepest, most dramatic climbing most of our group has ever done.
The team performed well, with us getting a cache at 16,800’ and another one at high camp at 17,200’.
Everyone is pumped by the day and really looking forward to our first rest day.
It’s getting late and cold, so adieu from 14,200’.
RMI Guides Brent, Christina, Chris and the team
On The Map
May 30, 2016
May 29, 2016 - 11:50 p.m. PDT
Awakening to wind buffeting the tents and spindrift everywhere kept us hunkered down in our bags later than usual this morning. When we finally ventured out at least the sun was out in all it’s glory, which sure made up for the gusts and blowing snow.
A quick breakfast of Pop Tarts and we all rallied from the tents to cut blocks for the wall around our Posh tent that we just didn’t have time to build yesterday. Kind of reminiscent of our morning a few days ago at 11,200’. The team rocked the work we had to do to allow us to get our cool tent fully functioning, A second breakfast of grits and hot drinks fortified us to do our short back carry to pick up our cache at 13,500’. And now we’re set.
We have a carry up to 16,200’ or higher planned for tomorrow, but if the weather doesn’t let us we’ll certainly enjoy a rest day.
The weather forecasts look good for later this week. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.
Ciao from 14,200’.
RMI Guides Brent Okita,Christina Dale, Chris Ebeling and an incredible team of climbers
On The Map
Be safe Michael! Amazing climb! We are thinking about you!
Love, Lesleigh, Lyndon, William, Lucy and Grace
Posted by: Lesleigh box on 5/31/2016 at 5:26 am
I swear to God, Paul, that I begin hyperventilating with every update! So incredibly excited for you! What an amazing journey! Be safe! We leave on the 11th for our Mt. Whitney climb.
Posted by: Virginia on 5/30/2016 at 8:07 pm
May 29, 2016
May 28, 2016 - 11:20 p.m. PDT
Luck has been with us as today turned out to be a nice day for a walk. And walk we did, moving camp up to 14,200’. We retraced our route from yesterday, passing by our cache just long enough to pick up a couple extra shovels to help build camp. The team crushed it going to 13,500’, but as is normal, felt the altitude on the last 700’. Unfortunately, we weren’t lucky enough to find a vacated camp to move into, so had to build camp from scratch. What’s nice though is that our neighbor is the RMI team before us. Graciously, they filled water bottles for our thirsty crew upon arrival.
We’re all in bed now looking forward to some well deserved rest after our big push.
Good night from 14,200’.
RMI Guides Brent Okita, Christina Dale, and Chris Ebeling, and the team
On The Map
We are pulling for you. Be strong and climb safe!
Posted by: Scott and Nicole Clark on 5/30/2016 at 1:26 am
Hi to everyone! Greetings from Norco, CA where we are in t-shirts We check your blog everyday and enjoy everything you report. Glad to see everyone is doing so well. Looking forward to your next report. Cheers
Posted by: Lori Golding on 5/29/2016 at 5:15 pm
May 28, 2016
May 28, 2016 - 12:19 am PT
Strong winds buffeted camp this morning to the extent that we actually cut snow blocks to form walls around our beloved Posh tent before having breakfast.
That done, pancakes were the order of the morning as we looked on at the winds up high and wondered if we’d have any chance to make our carry today.
Pancakes, hot drinks and lively conversation carried the morning, but our eyes kept track of the goings on up high. So when a significant downtrend in the winds was noticed, we rallied and went for it, albeit later than we would have liked to start off.
Our carry to 13,500’ went off perfectly, with everyone climbing really well.
Let’s hope tomorrow allows us some break in the winds. As I finish this dispatch the winds have calmed, so I’m optimistic on our getting to 15,300’ tomorrow. But who knows?
On The Map
Hello Brent , Christine & Dawn! What an Awesome Experience you are having! Love these emails! Sending calm wind thoughts! Climb On and Climb Strong!!!!
Posted by: Dave on 5/29/2016 at 3:26 am
We are enjoying our Memorial Day weekend here in Florida where it is 87 degrees and sunny. Sending warm hugs and sunny wishes for your Denali adventure. Keep tough and never act your age! Love you.
Posted by: Carol Probstfeld on 5/28/2016 at 12:10 pm
May 27, 2016
May 26, 2016 - 10:13 pm PT
Eggs,bacon, hash browns and of course the hot drink this team raves about, hot cider, started our day on the right foot. Three hours after breakfast we were back in camp with our cache from 10,000’.
Some review of ice axe arrest and cramponing after lunch has prepared us for tomorrow’s big climb to bring a cache up to 13,500’. This is where the climbing begins, and we’re really looking forward to it.
The afternoon was spent relaxing in the tents, a much needed and appreciated respite from the hard work everyone has been doing to this point.
Spirits are high as we get off the Kahiltna Glacier and start getting close to camp at 14,200’.
Let’s hope it’s not too windy for us on our climb around Windy Corner tomorrow.
On The Map
Hi Michael -
Glad you had a day to rest. Gorgeous picture! Good luck with the big climb today. The blog has been great.
Love, Mom and Dad
Posted by: Frank and Maureen Santoni on 5/27/2016 at 10:08 am
May 26, 2016
May 25, 2016 - 11:14 p.m. PDT
The walk up to camp at 11,200’ was our easiest of the trip. Less than 3 hours of climbing with reasonable loads today was a very nice break for the team. Everyone was all smiles coming into camp just after noon. We even moved into a recently abandoned camp so we didn’t have to work on building camp. Our cache is a mere 30 minute walk from here, so picking it up on our back carry tomorrow will be even easier. Which is perfect after all the hard work everyone has been doing. And of course, the Posh Tent remains the center of activity and social life for us here on the mountain.
That’s all for now from camp at 11,200.’
RMI Guides Brent Okita, Christina Dale, and Chris Ebeling and the team
On The Map
Hey Team, Beautiful picture! Looks Incredible. I wish you all the best! Climb Strong Dawn!!!!
Posted by: Dave on 5/27/2016 at 3:24 am
Paul, Looks amazing! Wish I was there! Be safe and have an incredible journey. Love living vicariously through you!
Posted by: Virginia on 5/26/2016 at 8:54 pm
May 25, 2016
May 24, 2016 - 10:15 pm PT
At 6:00am the guides were just wrestling with the thought of unzipping from warm cocoon of down that so wonderfully keeps the cold outside at bay. A cold front had come thru and the winds had picked up as well. At that hour we didn’t know what to expect from the weather. Frost was sticking to the ceiling and walls of the tent, making any attempt to get up unpleasant. This was our first cold morning of the trip.
As it turned out, the sun had finally come out in all its glory, quite contrary to the forecast. For the first time the Alaska range was out in all its glory. We had a great walk down to pick up our cache, and unlike yesterday, had some relatively light packs to shoulder. We were actually able to put a new cache in above us at 10,000’, which will make our back carry in two days pretty easy.
Back at camp, with the tortellini dinner behind us, we’re back in our down cocoons as the sun has dropped over the mountains to our west and a chill has returned to camp.
Tomorrow, 11,200’ camp!
Cheers from the team at 9600’. We’re all doing well.
RMI Guide Brent Okita
On The Map
May 24, 2016
May 23, 2016 - 9:39 p.m. PDT
The fickle nature of the weather on the mountain lately was again evident as the wet snowfall of yesterday had passed leaving us with cooler temps and a bit better visibility. Today we even got some nice views of this wonderful part of the Alaska range. Our big challenge this morning was Ski Hill, our steepest hill yet. Leaving a cache of food and fuel buried at our camp here at 7,800’, our loads were a little more reasonable today, but Ski Hill still proved to be a bear. Hips and shoulders certainly got worked today, but I’m excited that everyone was up to the task and we arrived at our next camp with plenty enough spare energy to build a good camp.
I’m continually impressed with the crew. Their tenacity during the tough stretches and enthusiasm upon reaching camp bodes well for our having a great trip.
On The Map
Hey Dawn! Tell Brent to post more pictures! :) I am pulling for you and the team from back here in Illinois!!!
Posted by: Dave on 5/25/2016 at 3:23 am
Hopefully all the evenings you spent wandering around Chicago with Izzy’s 50 lb dog food bag prepped you for this! Mike, hope you are having a blast as well. Love you and miss you!
Posted by: Stephanie on 5/24/2016 at 8:18 pm
May 23, 2016
May 22, 2016 - 9:43 p.m. PDT
Our first day of climbing as a complete team went really well. Although clouds obscured our views of the incredible scenery around us, we had much better visibly than we had yesterday. Plus, our efforts yesterday lightened our loads just enough that today’s climbing was quite manageable. Our camp here at 7,800’ is nice, but the snow that’s been falling since we got here has made our kitchen/dining tent a most popular place. Our Posh House is always the center of community here; it’s the place we can eat and share a hot drink or two and be out of the elements. The conversations that come out of that place…
With luck, we’ll move camp to 9,600’ tomorrow, but we sure would like some improvement in the weather! Everyone is doing great and looking forward to moving up the mountain. Hopefully we’ll be talking from 9,600’ tomorrow.
RMI Guides Brent Okita, Christina Dale, and Chris Ebeling and the crew
On The Map
Mike - Mark Winter says he is not concerned about you as long as you stay away from bicycles.
Your scuba family is watching each day and sharing your adventure - although vicariously.
Posted by: Jim Pearson on 5/25/2016 at 10:08 am
Hey Paul, SO incredibly proud AND jealous of you! Just know that I am living every step vicariously through you and you make your journey to the top! You make training for Whitney seem like a walk in the park - at sea level! Be safe and ENJOY!!
Posted by: Virginia on 5/24/2016 at 7:19 pm
May 22, 2016
May 22, 2016 - 1:12 am PT
Late tonight the sound of planes filled the air with the sweet roar of Turpin prop engines. Our flight service, K2, had taken advantage of a very short and rare window of marginally clear weather to ft three of their Otters onto the glacier to pick up some climbers anxiously awaiting a trip back to civilization, but more importantly to us, they were bringing the rest of our team to finally join us.
Day three and we’re finally together!
This all happened just fifteen minutes after we had returned from a nine hour climb to carry food and fuel to 7800’, Camp 1. Everyone did a fantastic job on the climb, and our efforts will make our move tomorrow a bit less tortuous, as normally we carry all our gear up from Base Camp in one move.
Let’s hope the weather cooperates and we can finally start climbing this mountain.
RMI Guide Brent Okita and crew