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Entries By dominic cifelli

Denali Expedition: Cifelli and Team Weather the Storm

As we arose from our tents again at 14,000’ camp, fresh snow covered everything as if a frozen Baja Blast machine broke in the middle of the night and began spewing as far as the eye could see.

Today marked a choice, go for it, and continue up beautiful Denali, or stay here at14,000’ Camp for another night, and wait for a better window. Upon first view of the surroundings, the choice was clear, spend one more day resting. This journey has been largely about patience, especially these last few days, but we are on the home stretch now, also just days away now from returning to civilization…

All the fish tacos, burritos and fajitas, Doritos, and Fritos, and Cheetos, pizza, burgers and glizzies and frozen margaritas All these and more, await at Talkeetna

Climber Joey Myers & Team

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Denali Expedition: Cifelli & Team Relax After Yesterdays effort

Wednesday, June 28, 2023 - 10:39 pm PT

Our climb yesterday earned us a well deserved rest day. After sleeping in we were awoken to some delicious extra cheesy breakfast burritos. This was followed by a musical production of “These Boots Were Made For Climbing” by the soon to be famous Denali 10 (look for us on TikTok). Stay tuned for our upcoming show “Dancing on Denali”, which will include some tasteful  nude scenes as well. The rest of our day was spent relaxing as we look forward to beginning our summit push either tomorrow or Friday.

RMI Climber Mark Kulow

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Denali Expedition: Cifelli & Team Take a Trip Up the Fixed Lines

Tuesday, June 27, 2023 - 8:25 am PT

The morning started out cold, crisp, and clear. Excitement was in the air - today we were climbing.

We ascended the steep snow up to 15,700. For some, each step was a new highest altitude ever climbed, while for others the thin air was all too familiar. Looking up, we could see the two ropes poking out of a steep slope of blue ice and wind blown snow. Looking down, through the clouds that had rolled in, glimpses of our camp could be seen far below. One by one, we attached ourselves to the fixed lines with ascenders. Initially cautious and unsteady, we soon found our footing and got into the groove - one duck step after the other. Nearing the top, the wind had picked up, and it was decided around 16,100 to descend back to camp - our mission of acclimatizing and experiencing the fixed ropes accomplished. Heading down the lines was exhilarating; facing downhill with one arm ensnared around the rope, we leaned forward and let gravity do the work. Relaxing in camp the rest of the day, we all felt prepared and ready - hopefully awaiting our chance to climb higher in the coming days.

RMI Climber Alex Smith

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Amazing, so so incredible.  Go Alex and team, go!  Stay safe and warm.

Posted by: Cristian on 6/28/2023 at 6:19 pm

Gooooo uncle Alex! Hope you packed some Dan Dan noodles for the summit! Xox

Posted by: Liz and Max and ollie on 6/28/2023 at 5:35 pm

Denali Expedition: Cifelli & Team Practice Fixed Line Training

Monday, June 26, 2023 - 10:47 pm PT

We continue to wait and be patient as less then ideal weather hangs onto Denali.  Another breakfast of bagels and locks was well received by the team and has helped to keep spirits high.  Waiting and being patient is an often overlooked skill necessary for expeditionary climbing. Our team is leaning wholeheartedly into this.  After more rest the afternoon was filled with fixed line training In preparation for our continued ascent.  Hopes are high for an opportunity to carry and climb above the fixed lines.

RMI Guide Seth Burns

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Denali Expedition: Cifelli & Team Enjoy Well Earned Rest Day

Sunday, June 25, 2023 - 8:00 pm PT

After three consecutive days of carrying load up the mountain our sore limbs couldn't have been more grateful for the well earned rest day. We started the day late with eggs hash browns and bacon which could easily give local diners a run for their money. Most of the group relaxed in their tents enjoying their digital and analog ways of entertainment as we waited for dinner as we all know rest days come with a feast. We had pasta.

The chess pieces have been moved by us and mother nature and we have reached a stalemate. We have the three musketeers to help us reach the top in style. With Dom leading the wolf pack who would happily fall in the crevasse to save the rest of us; Seth always doing the needful without expecting anything in return and Dan lightening the mood of the group after a hard day with his cheeky one liners. All we need now is the good karma of 10 souls to give us a 72 hour window to summit the mountain. No matter what the future holds, our place will never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Marching to the summit, One step at a time.

Onwards and Upwards��

RMI Climber Saurabh Sharma

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Denali Expedition: Cifelli & Team Build a Fortress at 14k

June 24, 2023 10:19pm PT

Good morning from 14k camp!

After a hard-earned, good night’s rest, we woke up to frosty air, clear skies, and no wind. We began our descent past windy corner to retrieve our cache and were reminded once again of its namesake. The team, feeling strong, made quick work of our retrieval, and arrived back at camp in good style.

The day was far from over.

Anticipating a storm, we got to work fortifying our camp with the deepest posh this world has seen and some snow walls that would make the Great Wall proud. We let the rivalry of our two challenging snow block quarries bring out the best in us. Mother Nature is hard to beat but we might as well try. Now we wait and see what Denali and the weather will let us do. Passing the time by enjoying each other’s company and eating some tasty snacks.

But not too many, we might be here for a while…

RMI Guide Dan May

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Denali Expedition: Cifelli and Team Move to Camp 3 - 14,000’ Camp!

Friday, June 23, 2023 - 11:43 pm PDT

After a stormy night it was time to say goodbye to our beautiful Camp 2 on the magnificent Kahiltna glacier. Some of us got a little sentimental about it, as it was home to us for the last five nights. I guess we never had a chance to mention it earlier, but we put quite a lot of effort in our camp to make it nice and neat with the snow walls around it, especially our restroom, this was a piece of art :).

We woke up at 6am and following another great breakfast and then packing we had to wait until we got the right window at 10:30 am for Mother Nature to clear up the weather and let us to move to the higher camp. We ventured into Motorcycle Hill, then retraced our steps from yesterday and went through Squirrel Hill which leads us to through polo field and then the famous windy corner. The Windy Corner deserves its name, yet the Squirrel Hill isn’t any less windy. I was about to fly away two times with the backpack and the sled. When we passed the Windy Corner and started going up the last hill before we reached Camp 3, the mighty Denali decided to show us its warm face. As the sun went up and the wind stopped, we started getting extremely warm on the hill. Since nobody ever claimed a name for this hill before I decided naming it "Double Fry Hill" (I have nine witnesses now :) The upcoming two days stronger weather is waiting for us in the Denalian wilderness. Yet we are hoping to carry the cache tomorrow from 13k.

Today we were lucky to get the right time window to move to our new camping place which is one step closer to conquer the fabulous Denali Summit. The team remains strong, positive, and hopeful that Denali will grant us clear skies in the next few days so we can spread your wings and soar towards its magnificent summit!

Stay tuned.

Till tomorrow! A bientot!

Climber Ilknur Colak & Team

Ps. The word of the day is "clutch" (from Travis)

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Denali Expedition: Cifelli and Team Cache Gear - Ready to Move

Thursday, June 22, 2023 - 8:27pm

Yes! After experiencing days of snow and wind delay, the team was blessed with a sufficient weather window to depart the 11,000’ Camp and resume climbing. The objective for today was to cache food stores for future retrieval once the 14,000’ Camp is established. Morale was high as the team stepped off smartly after consuming an amazing breakfast of toasted bagels topped with cream cheese and bacon.

A smooth pace was set up on the significant incline of Motorcycle Hill.  The snow was not too deep for crampons. At the top, the team turned right and proceeded up Squirrel Hill, admiring the beauty of Father and Son Walland, the impressively sharp drop off of Peters Glacier.  Intermittent gusty winds had already exposed some patches down to the blue ice beneath, but our crampons, ice axes, and ropes kept everyone safe and secure. Next came the crossing of the Polo Fields where the snow was quite deep and powdery. Our guides elected to cache a bit short of Windy Corner today. Everyone unloaded the group and personal food for burial in the snow.

The reverse route going downhill was surprisingly quick and in no time the team was back in camp.  Hopes are high that we will have an opportunity to move up to 14,000’ Camp tomorrow and continue our acclimatization for the higher altitudes yet to come. It was a great day!

RMI Climber Rick Sturckow & Team

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Denali Expedition: Cifelli & Team Practice Crampon Skills, Wait for Better Weather

Wednesday, June 21, 2023 - 7:19 pm PT

Our night of snow storms was briefly broken by clear skies and stunning views, at least for the 2am night owls. By 7, back to snow and low visibility, thus another rest day.

The team finally woke at a leisurely 8am, and gathered in the cook tent for an extraordinary breakfast. Hard at work, our tireless guides had put together pan-fried breakfast burritos that would give any cafe a run for its money. No cap. Seth may consider an alternate career as Chipotle’s chief burrito roller. Sated and happy, the group later headed out during a brief weather interlude to practice crampon skills. The next days of the climb will necessitate these on the steeper and icier terrain. With no one stabbed or stepped on, the outing was considered a success. Relaxation ensured the remainder of the afternoon as movies were watched, books were read, and an unlikely duet belted out classics by The Who. 

We are well rested and ready to hopefully cache just past Windy Corner tomorrow, and continue our journey upwards.

RMI climber Alex Smith

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Safe travels moving upward!

Posted by: Jenni on 6/22/2023 at 11:49 am

Denali Expedition: Cifelli & Team Remain at 11,000ft Camp in Heavy Snow

Tuesday, June 20, 2023 - 8:20 pm PT

After a night of heavy snow we had an awesome breakfast of blueberry pancakes. We then reinforced our camp in anticipation of the continuing storm. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and so I was inspired to write a poem about our adventure. Here goes:

Denali is the mountain, they call it the “great one”.

Here in North America it’s second to none.

To get to the summit, that is our goal. 

Standing so majestic, it captures the soul.

On our way to the top, we have to dig deep.

With courage and strength, a reward we will reap.

On this journey, new friends have been made.

The memories we share will surely never fade.

Each step gets us closer to reaching our dream.

I know we can do it, we have a great team.

Look up to the clouds, the beauty that we see.

Rising so high, its name is Denali.

RMI climber Mark Kulow

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