Entries By brent okita
July 19, 2017
Posted by: Brent Okita
July 18, 2017
Most of the team flew in last night, weathering the long flights and time changes admirably. Our hotel, the Arumera River Lodge here in Arusha, Tanzania, is great. They held the restaurant open for us so we could have dinner and decompress from our travels some.
This is unlike any hotel I’ve stayed at. Africa at it’s best, with the diminutive antelope called the Dikdik and Blue monkeys running around the grounds filled with tropical trees and vegetation and insects I’ve never seen before. Kansas it ain’t!
The drive in from the airport earlier was a forty five minute exercise in restraint as I tried to concentrate on my conversation with the manager of our outfitting company here for Kilimanjaro, while still watching the people and goings on around me. Bikes piled high with crops from the fields, women in beautifully colored saris and everything else that makes Tanzania such a wonderful place to visit.
I must confess, this is not my normal expedition. This is a family affair triggered by my sister in laws big birthday and my brother’s pulling the strings to make it all happen. Plus, my wife is part of the team too. Thanks Brad!
Ahead of us is breaks, our official team meeting and orientation and subsequent equipment check readying us to begin our climb tomorrow of one of the ‘Seven Summits,’ family style.
Now if I can just get over my jet lag.
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RMI Guides Brent Okita, Bryan Mazaik and Lucas Haaland led their Four Day Summit Climb team to the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning. The team reached the crater rim shortly after 6:30 with 100% of their crew. The team enjoyed a beautiful day with clear skies and light wind. They will descend to Paradise and transfer back to Rainier BaseCamp where they will celebrate their adventure.
Congratulations to today’s climbers!
Good job!! Can’t wait to see pictures!
Posted by: Dusty Leigh on 7/12/2017 at 5:02 pm
Emily and Phil, you are awesome, congratulations on the summit! Love you both, I am sure you are enjoying the views!
Posted by: Chris Bolton on 7/12/2017 at 11:52 am
July 4, 2017
RMI Guide Brent Okita led the Four Day Summit Climb July 1 - 4, 2017 to the summit of Mt. Rainier today. Brent reported clear skies with moderate winds and nice climbing conditions. The team spent some time on the summit enjoying the views and celebrating the 520th summit of Mt. Rainier for Brent Okita. The team will return to Camp Muir and continue their descent to Paradise later this afternoon.
Congratuions to today’s Summit Climb Team and to RMI Guide Brent Okita!
June 30, 2017
RMI Guide Brent Okita called from the Mt. Rainier crater rim with the news, “We are on the summit on a Bluebird Day!” Clear skies, no wind, and views for miles- can’t beat a summit like that. The teams spent an hour on top before starting their descent at 7:00 a.m.
Congratulations to Chris Paskoff and the rest of the expeditioners on reaching the summit! What an experience and what a view!!
Posted by: Scott Paskoff on 6/30/2017 at 8:38 am
June 20, 2017
RMI Guides Brent Okita, Jenny Konway and Matt Rosenberg led the Four Day Summit Climb of Mt. Rainier June 17 - 20, 2017. The team arrived at Camp Muir yesterday afternoon. They began their alpine start around midnight and climbed to 13,500’ before deteriorating weather and poor visibility forced them to turn around. The team will return to Camp Muir and then continue to Paradise. We look forward to seeing them at Rainier BaseCamp later today.
Special thanks to RMI Guide Jenny Konway for providing photos of today’s climbers!
June 12, 2017
A leisurely, big breakfast of eggs, bacon and hash browns was had after sleeping in fairly late yesterday. When we finally got out of the posh we were surprised to find that planes might be flying soon. Yes, we were keeping an eye on the weather, but it wasn’t really that good yet. At first we couldn’t really believe it and the team indulged in some leg wrestling antics (which the women handily won).Then we heard the words, “RMI Okita, two Otters are in the air for you”.So we went from slow mo to go go as we tore our tents down and packed in a matter of about twenty minutes! I think some folks were motivated to leave. As we brought the last of our stuff the fifty yards to the glacier landing strip we saw the planes come into view. By 1:00 we were in town, unpacking group gear and trying to dry stuff that was soaked from the unseasonably warm temps and rain. We’ll not discuss our evening affair in much detail except that the food was good and the libations rather excessive.
We’re on our way to the airport now, twenty three days after flying on to the mountain. No summit to boast of this time. But looking back on it all, it’s the people we climb with and share adventures with that inspires me to live the life of my dreams. Summits may be nice but are somewhat ephemeral. Friendships formed while climbing mountains last a lifetime. Thanks to the wonderful group of climbers with whom I’ve shared the past three weeks. You’re the best!
And now they are on their way back to you, with stories to tell and memories to share. Indulge their eccentricities. Should they reach for their pee bottle in the middle of the night or ask for a “swirl” after dinner, don’t worry. They’ll recover from these mountain habits in time.
Thanks for joining us these past three weeks!
RMI Guides Brent, Christina and JT
It looks like you guys are patient and strong enough, it is true JT, Summits are ephemeral, the mountain still there, JT I’m sure the smile is still there and the fight for adventure grown, great to hear team is back and rested :)
Posted by: Lauro Urbina on 6/17/2017 at 1:39 pm
June 11, 2017
June 10, 2017
The sleep of the dead finally hit me this morning just after my last post. An hour later JT asks, “Should we get up? It’s 1:04 am and the alarm on my phone hasn’t gone off!”
The night hadn’t brought the hoped for cooling, but it was time to leave and make that trip to Base Camp. Breakfast and hots were served in the remains of our old Posh site, sans the actual Posh, then we were off. As we turned the corner at 10,000’ heading down the Kahiltna we were treated to the amazing view down glacier of the jewels ad the Alaska Range. Hunter, Foraker, Crosson and other peaks were starkly defined in shades of black and white, along with some other hue that seemed hard to place. Unusually dark clouds prevented the pinks and reds we often see at 3:30-4:00 am, but this view I’ve never seen before, and may have been even more spectacular. 6+ hours of hard walking finally brought us back to Base Camp. Reflective of the poor snow year in the Alaskan mountains this year, there were a number of sketchy crevasse crossing to be negotiated. Then white out conditions kept us from seeing the landmarks that would otherwise tell us exactly where we were, but the track in the snow of others gave us something to follow. Then, low and behold, the tents of Base Camp popped into view and we knew we were done. Unfortunately, these same clouds have prevented planes from flying and landing here, so we are again captive of the weather gods and just waiting to be released from Denali to return to civilization where we might wash the twenty one days of toil off us and sit in chairs at a table and eat food that requires more than just a spoon.
I just hope that, when we do get to that restaurant, some social graces return to folks and we don’t see them licking their bowls clean in anticipation of the next course.
I’ll of course advise everyone to bring a pee bottle to their hotel room, and perhaps even a CMC (clean mountain can), because some habits might just be too difficult to break after these twenty one days.
Goodnight from 7200’ camp, where I hear the snow hitting the tent walls in increasing intensity. Oh well, at least we need walk no more, for now.
RMI Guides Brent, Christina, JT & Team
What an Awesome adventure, Summit or not…An Awesome Adventure! Congrats to everyone!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 6/12/2017 at 4:36 am
It sounds like quite an adventure to 17K. From what Ive read everyone’s bailed off 17 Camp in the last few days. Quite a year for crevasse falls too. Glad you guys made it safely back to camp! Now to chill out and sip some Alaskan brews until the ride shows up. Have an Ice Axe for me when you get back to TK!
Posted by: Keith Gates on 6/12/2017 at 12:28 am
June 10, 2017
June 10, 2017 12:07 am PST
It was a day of decisions. The team sadly broke apart today, with the main group heading down, and two strong and driven individuals opting to stay on the mountain to give ‘er another try. Caught in the middle I was torn between sticking with the two and going for the summit, or sticking with the main part of the team. After anguishing over the decision, I chose to finish off the expedition with the team, rather than lead our two erstwhile members to the top.
A sketchy forecast helped me in my decision, and I think my two climbers will have a better chance of summiting with the groups I left them with. They’ll be joining Tyler and Jake’s teams, who have a bit more time than I to wait for good weather.
So here we are, in our tents at 11,200’ camp waiting for the night to referee the glacier so we can travel over its frozen surface to minimize the risk of crevasse falls that have been occurring much more than normal lately.
It’s sad separating from our two teammates, and leaving the mountain without a summit under our belts. For me it’s been twenty five trips since I’ve not summited. But folks are in good spirits.
I think we all really appreciate the time we’ve spent here, the friendships developed, the hard times as well as the fun times.
In two hours we awaken for one last day on the glacier. That is, as long as the air service can pick us up in the morning.
With any luck, next time I chat with you I’ll have had a shower, eaten a big ol’ steak and perhaps consumed an adult beverage or two.
Good night from 11,200’.
On The Map
who are the two going for the summit?
Posted by: win smith sr on 6/12/2017 at 10:21 am
Team - Sorry that you did not summit but congratulations on such strong climbing and a great adventure. Many people have been rooting for you and continue to do so. Descend safely and enjoy your return to civilization. Ken
Posted by: Ken Porrello on 6/11/2017 at 5:12 am
June 9, 2017
June 9, 2017 12:55 a.m. PT
Every fifteen minutes another gust would pummel the side of the tent. Of course, it would have to be on my side. The moisture inside our precious shelter, frozen to the walls of the tent would fall on us with each gust, forcing us deeper into our bed of down.
Day five at 17,200’ turned in to a real doozy. The forecasts have actually been fairly good lately, and no good news was to be had with the latest issued. In fact, a high wind alert was posted for the upcoming four days with winds into the sixties. This had camp on edge, including my wise assistants Christina and JT, upon whom I rely so heavily to help make our trip the best and safest, My initial optimism that the weather would surely improve with time was tempered by the latest info coming out. A decision to retreat to the relative safety, protection and comfort of 14,200’ camp was made by all in camp, even though the strong winds are cause for concern as we need to navigate the technical terrain of the West Buttress.
Taking down tents and packing up went well even in those conditions, a testament of the ability of our veteran and tested team. The climb down to camp went well, besides the inevitable traffic of perhaps fifty people leaving camp simultaneously.
To our delight, the RMI teams at 14,200’ got into our cache and had camp all set up for us when we pulled in, What incredible work, A huge THANKS to https://www.rmiguides.com/blog/expedition/denali_5_23_17/desc, Jake and their teams!!!
So now, at day 19 we have a number of folks feeling the pull of home and a life put on hold while we take part in this incredible experience. A couple of others are still excited to finish off the climb and willing to put in a few more days. An updated forecast in the morning might help us see if we actually have a realistic chance of getting a good enough break on the weather in a few days time. We’ll make some final decisions in the morning, but right now we might not even have good enough weather to leave camp.
Goodnight from 14,200’ camp (revisited),
RMI Guides Brent Okita, Christina Dale and JT Schmitt
On The Map
“Nevertheless, she persisted…”
Keep strong and safe, team.
Posted by: Jasmin on 6/10/2017 at 6:38 am
Hello Mountain Friends! So sorry that I couldn’t join the climb at the last minute this year. Everything has resolved itself with my family’s health issues, but it was necessary to stay here. While I have been very disappointed that I can’t be climbing with you, I have been following the blog entries about your progress with enthusiasm, and am impressed with the tough resolve that you have all exhibited as you’ve faced the various challenges on the mountain. I truly hope that the weather relents and gives you all a well-deserved shot at the summit in the next few days! Best of luck and stay safe everyone. I hope to climb with you all at some point on down the road. -William
Posted by: William Kenyon on 6/9/2017 at 6:59 pm
June 8, 2017
June 7, 2017
“Ok, I know we’ve been climbing for three hours straight, but let’s get a quick bite to eat and drink and get out of here and back to camp.”
“Brent, there’s like over thirty people behind us on the route.” JT exclaims, trying to be heard over the winds that have just picked up.
This was the scene at Denali Pass a few hours ago, high point of our midday sojourn to kick in the route, reset the anchors to the current route and mostly get some exercise so we do not waste away up here.
After passing a windless evening last night I was optimistic of our chances to summit this morning. But, as our typically poor luck would have it, around 7:00am the first ripples of wind tickled the tent walls. By 9:00 we had 40 mph gusts pushing the tent walls into our faces. Yes, we were all ready to go if the weather improved since it wasn’t horrible outside besides those pesky gusts.
Finally, 11:45 rolled around and we decided to go for a little walk.
By 12:30 we were climbing to Denali Pass. This is typically later than we’d like to start for the summit, but we didn’t have the summit in mind anyways. What took me by surprise was how our little walk inspired the entire camp at 17,200’ to gear up and climb.
Our team really climbed well today, especially impressing me on how well everyone descended.
The weather forecast is not really inspiring, but we’ll hang in here for a couple more days anyways to see if we can catch a break. The team is still smiling, and we had a great experience today. All it takes is one nice day to finish this thing off.
RMI Guides Brent, Christina and JT
On The Map
JT - I’m living vicariously through you, have fun and be safe.!
Posted by: Uncle Tad on 6/9/2017 at 6:53 am
Keep the faith, Lindsay and team!
Posted by: Ken Porrello on 6/8/2017 at 12:49 pm