Entries By caleb ladue
July 29, 2016
Day one on a Mt. Shuksan Fisher Chimneys trip is a big day, maybe the biggest day of the climb. Most guided parties take eight hours to reach high camp perched at the edge of the Price Glacier above the Chimneys. So when the team drove to the trail head in a heavy wet cloud we needed to make a decision about hiking in those conditions. We stood in the parking lot in our gore-tex, gathering large beads of water that collected from simply standing in the cloud. We drove back down the mountain hoping the forecast for better afternoon weather would prove true. It did not and we decided to try again in the morning.
The following day, as clouds started to pass over the area, we began the approach in a drier cloud and took every bit of the eight hours to climb the Chimneys to high camp. The plan was to set up camp, rest for a few hours and continue towards the summit unburdened by heavy packs. At 4:30 p.m. we began the journey upward, traversing the Price, climbing the steep Hell’s Highway and cresting onto the upper Sulphide Glacier. A cloud followed us up the Sulphide, hiding the summit pyramid but we were able to climb on instruments towards its base. At 7:00 p.m. the clouds parted long enough to show us the pyramid and in what condition it lay. A steep snow traverse gained the lower rock band where it usually is a low angle scramble and we spotted a few teams descending in the early evening light. So far, we had been moving for 12 hours and now we were looking at summiting around dark and descending complicated terrain under headlamp. We made the conservative call to turn around and made our high point the base of the pyramid, just 600 vertical feet shy of the very top. Disappointing sure, but the team put in an extraordinary effort to climb all day and we were satisfied with the decision to leave the summit for another day.
July 12, 2016
RMI Guide Jake Beren and the Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz team reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning via the Kautz route. Jake reported clear skies on the summit. The team will spend some time on the summit before making their descent. The team will spend one more night on the mountain before descending off the mountain tomorrow.
Way to climb!
Congrats on your climb and reaching the summit! Special kiddos to Chad and Tom for completing their first big climb!!
Posted by: Carrie Paben on 7/12/2016 at 5:57 pm
Congratulations on your climb. Special congrats to Tom and Chad on their first big mountain climb. Very proud of you!
Posted by: Trudy Colvin on 7/12/2016 at 3:37 pm
June 22, 2016 - 2:33 pm PT
Here’s a soggy hello from just south of the Canadian border. Caleb and I are sitting in a coffeeshop in Bellingham pouring over radar maps and weather forecasts, while our boots dry in the parking lot.
Yesterday we were suppose to have climbed Mt. Buckner, but both the weather and route conditions shut that down. On Monday we made it to one of our potential camp locations after eight hours of climbing only to find that it was buried in snow. We had to dig for 20 minutes to make snow platforms for our tents. It started raining later in the night and by the time we woke up at 3am to launch, everything was rimed over with several inches of ice. Because the first hour of the climb requires scrambling on six-inch rock ledges and the use of bare hands, we knew it wasn’t an option.
After checking the weather every 20-30 minutes until 8am, we gave up and went back to bed. The wind continued to blow and spit light precip. Around 10am, there was a clearing and we decided to capitalize on the opportunity by making a quick trip to the summit of nearby Sahale. From the top, we had incredible views of our camp and the surrounding peaks before the clouds obscured them again.
In the early afternoon we packed up camp and started the trek downhill. As a group we decided to focus our efforts of the next objective, Mt. Shuksan, and take a full rest day in Bellingham to dry our gear and prepare.
Wish us luck and a drier next few days.
June 13, 2016
The May 24th Denali Expedition led by RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Caleb Ladue, and Blake Votilla flew off the Kahiltna Glacier yesterday and return to Talkeetna. According to Tyler, the team was planning to celebrate their climb at Talkeetna’s Roadhouse. After 18 days of living in tents the team is happy to be back in the land of burgers, beer, showers, and mattresses.
On The Map
Welcome back, Bob. I hope you getting busy planning your next beautiful adventure on this wild planet. Cheers to you and the team!
Posted by: Emily Jenson on 6/14/2016 at 1:58 pm
Congratulations to all of you.. Very Cool and I am sure extremely GRATIFYING !!!
Posted by: Mary Anne Kyburz-Ladue on 6/13/2016 at 9:02 am
June 12, 2016
June 11, 2016 - 11:57 pm PT
Hi all, we are at Base Camp. Just when you think it’s over it’s not till the fat lady sings. We packed our camp for what what we had hoped was the last time early this morning. The crew as always on this trip was ready to roll early and we arrived at base camp at 8:30 this morning with lite snow and cloudy skies. With all our will we wished the fog and snow away. Our wish was only met after the planes has powered down for the day. A long day of anticipation of burgers, beer, and more was lost so we enjoyed each others company and reflected on our journey in the Alaska range. With the weather on the lower glacier clearing a bit this evening we’re hopeful to see all the colors of the outer world we departed from 16 days ago. Hoping to smell the summer in the low lands and eat like kings tomorrow. Blow some good weather vibes our way!
RMI Guide Tyler Jones & the team
On The Map
Congratulations Blake. Nice. Very Nice!
Posted by: Adelle on 6/13/2016 at 6:19 am
What a long, strange trip it’s been . . .
Posted by: Dad on 6/12/2016 at 1:09 pm
June 11, 2016
June 10, 2016 - 10:59 pm PT
Waking up at 17K camp this morning was tough after yesterday’s big day. We were happy though to be on the move again, back down the mountain to thicker air. Walking down the West Buttress was beautiful, and this time we were actually able to enjoy the knife ridge views. Taking in views is much easier walking down when you’re only using half the physical effort as the way up. The mountain treated us with pleasant weather all the way to 11K Camp until we hit the storm layer, walked through some high winds and blowing snow and eventually below the storm to 7,800 camp. Now we’re enjoying a cheese, bacon and bagel fry up celebration and looking forward to the final leg of our journey back to basecamp tomorrow! See you all soon and thanks for the support!
On The Map
Still trying to keep a little vertical distance from reality.
Posted by: Dad on 6/12/2016 at 5:41 am
Wow descending almost 10,000 feet and through a snow storm layer—thats a long day! I hope you’re all holding up well on this last leg down to base camp!
Ongun I can’t wait to hear from you! sending you my hugs!
Posted by: karina on 6/11/2016 at 9:29 pm
June 10, 2016
June 9, 2016 - 10:38 pm PT
We are all safe and sound back at our high camp after a long summit push. This morning we got out of the tents at the suns first rays to clear but windy weather. We were a bit nervous as the wind extended into the late morning but once we were tied in to the ropes around 10:30 the sun started to grace the slopes of Denali Pass and the wind let up a bit. We climbed smoothly up to the pass.Today was a chilly one, filled with managing our feet, hands, and faces against the pesky cold. Our bodies were spent as we finished Pig Hill and to our surprise the summit ridge was rather warm and welcoming. We took photos, embraced and congratulated each other on a strong effort. The crew made great time on the way down and we are grubbing on soup and ramen, looking forward to descending to more oxygen rich air.
Time for a bit of rest for this tuckered out crew!
RMI Guide Tyler Jones
On The Map
Very exciting and very thankful to hear you are heading down safe. Please be careful on your way down and cannot wait to hear the stories upon Dan and Eric’s return.
Thanks to the RMI guides for keeping our loved ones safe.
Posted by: karen Stewart on 6/11/2016 at 6:26 am
Congrats all! Now hurry down Mr. President Oxygen because I’m trying to plan your next expedition :-)
Posted by: First Lady Oxygen on 6/10/2016 at 8:56 pm
June 9, 2016
June 9, 2016 - 6:16 pm PT
Hi Everybody -
It’s Tyler Jones and the RMI 4 Team. We are standing on the summit of Mt. McKinley, well now Denali. We are all doing well and we will give another shout when we get back to Camp.
Thanks for your support and we will talk to you all soon.
RMI Guide Tyler Jones
RMI Guide Tyler Jones check in from the summit of Denali.
On The Map
Congratulations to Blake and everyone! Lei
Posted by: Lei on 6/10/2016 at 8:33 am
Congratulations team!!! I’m so happy and proud of you guys and hope you have an amazing feeling of accomplishment! Your strength, perseverance, patience and humility when needed carried you to the top! I’m celebrating your achievement here in NYC and hope you have a safe return down!
Ongun I can’t wait to see you and give such a big hug!!!! Mwah!
Posted by: Karina on 6/10/2016 at 6:07 am
June 8, 2016
June 8, 2016 - 2:25 p.m. PDT
Hi from High Camp on Denali! We were in a holding pattern this morning as we had high winds and very cold temperatures. Now the day has warmed up and winds have died a bit, but we are sitting in a very thick cloud. The tents are warm as always with the sun’s intense radiation shining through. So we sit and wait, snoozing, mixed with conversation, laughter and anticipation. When our window arrives we are in crouching tiger position, ready to launch on our summit push.
RMI Guide Tyler Jones and Team
On The Map
Sorry to hear you are stuck at camp. Eric is keeping me informed about what that must be like. I imagine it’s more fun than the Builder, and less miserable than attending a rainy losing ND game.
Today I drove to North Lame (or some town nearby that looked exactly the same). It was 95° and smelled strongly of cows. I sat in a windowless conference room for 6 hours and then drove back. My coworkers made a big deal out of eating Rocky Mountain Oysters, which I think sounds like a good name for a local minor league team.
Remember, if you can’t climb because of the cold, use your artistic eye to find an ice cave ballroom.
Posted by: Mary on 6/9/2016 at 6:28 am
PULLING FOR YOU GUYS EVERY DAY. THE RMI POSTS ARE GREAT.
SENDING BEST WISHES TO ENTIRE TEAM AND ESPECIALLY MY FAMILY DAN AND ERIC.
Posted by: Karen Stewart on 6/8/2016 at 8:22 pm
June 7, 2016
June 7, 2016 - 8:30 pm PT
We got up this morning to blue skies and a promising forecast. The minute the Big Orange Ball (aka Bob number 2) shined on camp we were outta there, moving uphill. However, we were forced to heavily slow our roll as huge swirling snow plumes were blowing off the 16 ridge and the upper mountain was completely sheeted in wind blown snow.
So we picnicked in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. The visibility was almost endless as we could see much of the range in sharp detail. We rested and snacked for over an hour before the winds started looking more and more friendly. Before we knew it, picnicking was over and as we were hopping onto the fixed lines.
After the practice a few days before the team zipped to the top and met up with our buried stashes! Then it was on! Climbing the 16 ridge is absolutely breathtaking, and we earned it today. The stiff wind never really let up, but it did nothing to dampen spirits as we looked down 2,500 feet to 14K camp and beyond.
Now that the ridge has been walked, and the tents pitched, the team looks to try and recover enough to make a stab at the summit in the morning! Let’s just hope this wind blows itself out…
Wow congrats guys!! Sounds like such an exciting day! Stay safe on this last push to the top. I can only imagine the gorgeous views from where you are. Im so impressed with you all—what an adventure! Enjoy it!
Ongun I’m sending you all my hugs!Xoxo
Posted by: Karina on 6/8/2016 at 5:45 am
Summit dogs for everyone!
Posted by: Dad on 6/7/2016 at 9:48 pm