Entries By dominic cifelli
August 10, 2019
Our team woke up just after 7am to dense fog and intermittent rain. This group is positive and experienced in the back country, so it was no problem. The skies still have not cleared up, but we were able to cover the topics of technical gear, walking and advanced scrambling all while staying relatively dry. Not wanting to get the team too wet, we took shelter in our tents after breakfast, waiting for a break in the weather. We are now back in camp, relaxing outside as the sun is just starting to poke through. It is warm and any wet items have dried out by now. The team is looking forward to climbing tomorrow and we will check in, hopefully from the top!
August 6, 2019
Hannah Smith called in by SAT Phone this morning to let us know that the entire team had reached the summit of Mt. Baker via the Easton Glacier route. She reported excellent warm weather and a great route. The team has begun their descent and will return to town today for showers and a fresh meal.
Congratulations to today’s climbers!
MT. BAKER TEAM !!
Very proud of you Peter Gaeta !!
Posted by: Doreen Kaplan on 8/6/2019 at 1:39 pm
Congratulations, I am in awe of your bravery and hard work!
Posted by: Judy Costigan on 8/6/2019 at 1:08 pm
July 16, 2019
The Five Day Climb July 13 - 17 opted to make their summit attempt today. RMI Guide Josh McDowell led their team to the summit of Mt. Rainier on a “fantastic day”. Josh reported a light breeze, sunny and warm temps this morning. The team will return to Camp Muir for their final night on the mountain. Tomorrow they will descend to Paradise and conclude their trip with a celebration ceremony.
Congratulations to the Five Day Climb team!
June 22, 2019
Saturday, June 22, 2019 - 4:07 PM PT
We got an early start, up at 12:30am at 11k Camp and got to the airstrip by 8:30am. In the process we kicked, pulled, punched and cussed our heavy sleds as they barrel rolled, tipped and flipped down Ski Hill into 7800’ Camp. From there the clouds and ominous skies that had hung over us from Kahiltna Pass began to clear and we got some spectacular views of the surrounding peaks. We hit the bottom of Heartbreak Hill and 50 minutes later were at the airstrip. All sorted and ready for the De Havilland turbo Otters to arrive we kicked back for a few moments to reminisce on a great trip and felt kind of bad for the fresh meat just heading out for their first day on Denali.
Currently back in Talkeetna, a quick breakfast at the Roadhouse and now sorting gear for flights home. Looking forward to showers, burgers and beers, not necessarily in that order. We will reconvene for dinner and a session at the Fairview to bring a close to a wonderful 3 weeks on Denali. RMI-5 signing off, thanks for all the blog comments and support along the way.
On The Map
Congratulations to you all. What an unforgettable experience.
Enjoy your achievement - and the beers burgers and showers.
Thanks to your great guides as well.
Posted by: Stephanie on 6/23/2019 at 10:38 am
Fantastic!! Congratulations to you all. Thank you for the updates it’s been good reading them. Take care xx
Posted by: Anna Naylor on 6/23/2019 at 10:24 am
June 21, 2019
Friday, June 21, 2019 - 7:55 PM PT
We got up and started packing when the sun hit the tents this morning. It’s nice to have the Buttress to yourself and not have to contend with uphill traffic. The Team probably could have used a few more hours of sleep after the big summit day but the weather was splitter and we launched with the hopes of getting to 11 Camp.
The descent was fairly warm and provided for lots of photo opportunities as we traveled on the ridge that was obscured in clouds during our ascent just a few days prior. After getting down the fixed lines we spent 3 hours at 14 Camp to collect our cache of food, trash, human waste and equipment. Our friends of RMI 6 had some water for us and we said our goodbyes. Pulling sleds around Windy Corner is always an ordeal but the new snow made for good trails and traction. A little under 3 hours had us down Squirrel and Motorcycle Hills. We are settled in at 11,200’ waiting for some dinner and water. Our plan is to launch in the early AM and head for the airstrip. Cooler temperatures will make traveling on the Kahiltna glacier easier and first flights are around 9 am. Unless we get pinned down by weather the next dispatch will come from Talkeetna. Thanks for following along.
June 21, 2019
Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 11:09 PM PT
Well, we did it and several entities tried to tell us it wouldn’t happen! Last night the weather forecast failed to mention the building high pressure and instead called for mostly cloudy skies, snow and light wind. We got up at 5 am and there were clouds over the summit and blowing snow. At 7 am the upper mountain was blue bird with a few clouds out to the North. We got the Team going and then the 17 Camp traffic jam merging onto the Autobahn formed right in front of our eyes. It’s like driving down the highway and you’re thinking, “damn I am making great time” then 30-car pile up in the blink of an eye. We pumped the brakes and saw an opening, waited about 15 minutes in the sun and 15 in the shadow of Denali. A guided group had an issue and there were three ropes pulled over so we swooped into the HOV lane only to experience an average commute to Denali Pass.
From the pass we ascended towards Zebra Rocks, a steep rocky ridge that is comprised of white granite and a black rock, it’s name escapes me due to altitude, sun, exertion and a little CO from the stoves. After topping out in the mellower terrain above Zebra we meandered towards the Football Field with views of the Farthing Horn and Arch Deacon’s Tower formations. The group had put in a big effort and there were a few who thought they had reached their high point, only problem was that it was more mental then physical. We rolled through the small hills into the Football Field for a warm break just below Pig Hill. Once up Pig Hill we were in the cold wind on the Southside of the summit ridge as we rounded the Denali Horn. A short stint brought to the Northside of the corniced ridge and we were in calm air and warm. We topped out at 4:15pm and enjoyed amazing views of the lower glaciers and really all of North America cause there was nothing on terra firma higher than us.
It’s been a great expedition and the summit on a great day is just icing on a 20,320’ cake. Tomorrow we descend to 14 Camp and from there the weather and fatigued legs will dictate when we hit the airstrip. There’s still a lot of terrain to cover and we have to collect all our cached gear, food, trash and human waste. The full packs and sleds to the airstrip will be a rite of passage for the Team, they don’t know yet but their hearts are going to break on the last hill into the airstrip but beers and burgers heal all of Denali’s aches and pains. Thanks for following along, this isn’t the last post but we might not get to another one until we hit Kahiltna Glacier Regional airport…no fake prestige airline clubs just some buried treats in the snow for an amazing group of climbers who have been an absolute pleasure to spend the last 16 days with.
RMI Guide Mike King & Team
So happy for you all! This is amazing! Love the group photo
Posted by: Catherine Nock on 6/23/2019 at 10:16 am
Congrats on yet another successful climb Nephew Mike King! Thanks for sharing your teams mission! Safe Travels today and every day!
Posted by: Bill King on 6/23/2019 at 4:33 am
June 19, 2019
Wednesday, June 19, 2019 - 2:47 PM PT
We had a slight breeze all night and while the flapping fabric was not enough to keep us up the first night at 17,200’, it had several people not sleeping well. The guides got up at 6:30 am to check the wind and weather. Snow was billowing up into the atmosphere and swirling down the slopes that we would need to climb. We pumped the brakes a bit to see what the heat from the rising sun would do to the winds. After a few more hours the snow was still spinning and we decided it was too late to begin a 12-hour summit bid. The early afternoon has us resting in warm tents and taking some laps around camp to force us to breath more. Just sitting in the tent won’t help us get ready tomorrow. Our plan is to get started shortly after the sun hits camp and be on top early afternoon. Everyone is feeling better then when we first got here yesterday and anxious to finish this wonderful expedition.
On The Map
Gareth you have got this!! We’re all cheering you on here in PSL. Can’t wait to catch up when you are back!
Take Care :)
Posted by: Port Sunlight Team on 6/21/2019 at 3:53 am
Go team go, we are rooting for you Allan and for today’s summit!!!
Posted by: Bryan C-G on 6/20/2019 at 12:56 pm
June 18, 2019
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 8:55 PM PT
Well, today we finally got out of 14 Camp. We had spent eight nights there and by an early season Denali trip that’s nothing but for us and the weather we have had, it felt like an eternity. Today proved to be no cooler temperature wise, HOT going up the fixed lines and once we gained the West Buttress proper it was some of the figurative coolest ridge walking this group has done. We didn’t get great views due to thin clouds but that’s ok, our entire trip has been good views.
We don’t know what tomorrow holds and we could take a rest day if needed. High pressure is building over Denali and we are hopeful to summit tomorrow. Getting to 17 Camp can be a chore, but once you’re there Camp must be built, 6 XGK stoves must be managed to make drinking water and hot water for meals. Camp is situated in a glacial depression and we can see the Autobahn which plagues climbers for the first two hours on summit day. This section gets its name from how fast you can get going if you fall and are not clipped into the running belays. Other than a long day, the Team is doing mostly well. It’s normal to not feel 100% here at 17,200’. None of us are living our best lives physiologically, but we are really excited to have a crack at 20,320’. Thanks for the support and blog comments, I’ve been saving them for an alternative pep talk tonight instead of my traditional surly high school gym coach style motivational speech.
On The Map
Go team go! We’re rooting for you Allan and today’s possible summit!!!
Posted by: Bryan C-G on 6/20/2019 at 12:59 pm
Is so amazing what you are doing!!! Keep up the good work!!!
Please send my regards to Boris! We miss him!
Posted by: Laurent Villa on 6/19/2019 at 5:59 am
June 17, 2019
Monday, June 17, 2019 - 8:40 PM PT
Not much to report except that due to some weather and a few extenuating circumstances we took yet another weather/rest day. The forecast is looking good for the remainder of the week. We will plan on moving up to 17,200’ tomorrow. The Team is doing well, we are all anxious to get out of this camp after eight nights. They built an igloo to stay busy and spent a lot of time chatting in the kitchen tent. That’s all from 14, hopefully you’ll hear from us after a successful move day to High Camp.
Safe climbing! We’re following your blog and hoping you can get the weather move on up.
Posted by: Stephanie Smith on 6/18/2019 at 4:44 pm
EIGHT DAYS?!!! I’ve been without connectivity for 4-5 days. I thought King et al was taking new group up. Okay, weather forecast looks promising. Igloos sound fun. But, it sounds like your turning native. Climb forth and conquer! Lol! Be safe
Posted by: Susan Moore on 6/17/2019 at 9:42 pm
June 16, 2019
Sunday, June 16, 2019 - 11:36 AM PT
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads reading this. We got a little snow and slight breeze last night. The weather from the SE continues to bring clouds and precipitation towards the mountain. We have opted to stay put today and see what Monday brings. There is a period of improving weather Wednesday to Friday. Since we have our cache in at 16,200’ we just need 36-48 hours to launch up for a summit attempt. Moral is still high in the Team. A snow couch and lounge area was built yesterday with a large snow “TV” carved out for viewing the clouds roll over Mt Foraker. Obviously we would have preferred to have been up and down by now but that’s not what Denali had planned for us. We will improve camp today, eat a big lunch and continue the 14,000’ Camp hangout. Everyone is healthy and happy, fingers crossed for improving weather.
RMI Guide Mike King
On The Map
Not flippin submitting, stoopid autocorrect ;)
Posted by: Dan Naylor on 6/17/2019 at 1:26 pm
Rogers & Gaz, keep it up lads sounds an amazing expedition.
Good luck with the weather for submitting :)
Posted by: Dan Naylor on 6/17/2019 at 1:25 pm