Entries By brent okita
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
On The Map
May 20, 2016
Elevation: 7,300'/ 348'
May 19, 2016 - Thursday Evening Post
After much deliberation on the part of the pilots, management Basecamp personnel of our flight service the teams launched for Basecamp. Weather was uncertain but K2, our air service, wanted to at least try to get us in the mountain.
The first plane landed, but with a ground fog rolling in the second of our planes had to turn back.
So, here we are, enjoying life on the mountain finally. Although our partners in Talkeetna are sleeping in beds and enjoying burgers and beer, this is what we’ve all come here for.
The drama of the spectacular mountains around us has been sometimes muted by clouds moving in, but the team is excited to be here and eager to learn. Before setting up camp we practiced numerous skills, hoping our partners would get lucky and be able to fly on. But such was not the case tonight.
Unfortunate though that might be, I’m delighted to be with folks so psyched to be here and learn and help out. What a great trip this will be.
May 20, 2016 - 4:30 pm PT
A snowy morning greeted us as we finally crawled out of our sleeping bags after our first night on the mountain. Unfortunately, the visibility was poor too, so our intentions of bringing a cache of supplies further up the mountain were thwarted. Instead, breakfast flowed into lunch as we enjoyed the comfort provided by our cook/dining tent. Stories were shared over a breakfast of biscuits and gravy, followed by more hot drinks and culminating in a hot pot of Ramen for lunch as we make the most of this weather day holding slim chance of having our other half of the team fly in to join us.
A quick satellite phone call to Christina and the team in Talkeetna let us know they have been making the most of their time by training and practicing skills that we’ll need later in the trip.
The Kahiltna crew has not been slacking either, regardless of how the previous narrative sounds. Knots, tent set up, anchors, rescue systems and stove operations have been reviewed and practiced. The team is firing on all cylinders.
Wish us better luck with the weather tomorrow.
RMI Guide Brent Okita and the Kahiltna crew
May 19, 2016
May 19, 2016 - 2:44 p.m. PDT
One plane is flying up in ten minutes, and with luck, the rest of the team will follow shortly thereafter. Here we go!
The pilot gives us a 30% chance of actually getting to the mountain. I think otherwise. More like a 30% of having to return to Talkeetna, but good to have a sober expectation of our chances.
RMI Guide Brent Okita
To my husband Mike Santoni,
Happy Anniversary my love. Thanks for a wonderful 5 years. Good luck to you and your team!! We all miss you here on sunset rd!
Posted by: Alexis Pappas on 5/21/2016 at 5:55 am
You got this Dawn and team. God speed and safe flying.
Posted by: Tom Salata on 5/20/2016 at 7:56 pm
May 19, 2016
May 19, 2016 - 8:25 a.m. PDT
We are awaiting breakfast before heading to the airport to see if we can fly out today. The drizzle falling this morning hasn’t gotten anyone’s spirits down. We’re all excited to get going!
Update - 10:14 a.m. PDT
The sun has been peeking out shyly this morning, which is a marked improvement from our earlier rain. The ‘rampers’ have just finished loading our gear into the two Otters that will fly the team onto the southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier from where we’ll start our climb.
Boots are at the ready for when we get the word that the weather’s good enough to fly. For now we’re in the good hands of K2 Aviation to make the right decision to fly. They’re the experts, and share the same attitude towards safety that we do: it’s our top priority.
As I write sitting in the hangar, I’m watching a couple more sun breaks and hearing a plane warm up, droning out the classical music NPR is belting out on the radio. Both good signs, but not good enough yet to slip on the expedition climbing boots I’ll have on for the next two - three weeks.
With luck you’ll soon be getting a short, curt dispatch from me announcing a move. If not, our next dispatch may be coming from from the dinner table between sips of an Ice Axe Ale. Such is the waiting game here in Talkeetna.
RMI Guide Brent Okita and Team
On The Map
May 18, 2016
May 18, 2016 - 8:17 pm PT
Finally, all the checking and packing and repacking and a million other things that need to be done before we can fly on to the mountain are done. Cool weather kept the mosquitos at bay, and although it was overcast, word from up high on the mountain reported sunny skies.
We’re hopeful for a good day tomorrow so we can start our trip. Planes were taking off and landing on the mountain all day today, which is always a good sign.
With luck, tonight will be our last dinner in town for a while.
Talk with you soon.
RMI Guides Brent Okita, Christina Dale and Chris Ebeling
I hope the weather clears so you can start your journey to the top of North America!! Chris, your big sister will be watching each step of the way. So proud of you, and have fun!!!!!
Posted by: Karen Ebeling on 5/19/2016 at 2:43 pm
Have a great climb! Your niece and nephews will be tracking you guys. Be safe! Love, Carin, Andy, David, Brian and Jordan
Posted by: Carin on 5/19/2016 at 8:07 am