Entries By eric frank

Mt. McKinley: Frank & Team Fly to Kahiltna Basecamp

Posted by: Eric Frank, Geoff Schellens | June 01, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

The clouds parted long enough for our team to fly onto the Kahiltna Glacier today.  We have been packed and ready for this day and now we are ready to climb!

Once we are settled in at Kahiltna Base, we’ll check in again.

RMI Guides Eric Frank and Geoff Schellens

The Upper West Rib team just before boarding their flight onto the glacier. Photo: Geoff Schellens

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Mt. McKinley: Frank & Team Waiting for a Break in the Weather

Posted by: Eric Frank, Geoff Schellens | June 01, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

May 31, 2014 - 11:02 pm PT

Not a plane was buzzing this morning when we awoke to dark skies and a slight breeze here in Talkeetna. Today was our fly day, but we are waiting out a hefty storm that has hundreds of climbers waiting on both sides of the Alaska Range. We met at the K2 hangar to wrap up some last-minute packing with high hopes for hopping on a plane; alas, we stayed stuck on the green-side, in Talkeetna along with swarms of anxious climbers. We are all psyched for tomorrow’s potential - crouched and ready to jump on a plane at a moments notice. For now, we will continue to exercise our patience, a vital skill that we will need on the mountain.

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens

RMI's Ticket to the Kahiltna Glacier, K2 Aviation. Photo: Ben Liken

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Mt. McKinley: Frank & Team Ready as soon as the Weather’s Ready

Posted by: Eric Frank, Geoff Schellens | May 30, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

May 30, 2014 - 7:43 pm PT

Hello from Talkeetna, Alaska! The Upper West Rib team arrived in Anchorage yesterday afternoon and shuttled north to Talkeetna, our launch site for the mountain. Right now, this sleepy little town is bursting at the seams with climbers waiting to fly onto the glacier. The skies are overcast and the planes have been grounded since early in the week. Everywhere you look, there are softshell clad people trying to pass the time. 

Our team was distracted from the constant refreshing of weather websites by plenty of prep work today. After meeting with the National Park Service for a general orientation, we rolled our sleeves up and got right to work. Eight hours later, our bags are packed and we will head to dinner to discuss the only thing on waiting climber’s minds… “when will the clouds break?”
For now all we can do is relax and know that we are prepared whenever that eventuality comes about.

RMI Guide Eric Frank

Denali Upper West Rib team in Talkeetna. Photo: Eric Frank No flights leaving Talkeetna, AK, today. Photo: Eric Frank Upper West Rib team organizing gear in Talkeetna. Photo: Eric Frank

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Mt. Rainier: Four Day Summit Climb Turns Around Due to Poor Weather

Posted by: Eric Frank | May 26, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 12,300'

The Four Day Summit Climb May 23 - 26, 2014 was forced to turn around at the top of Disappointment Cleaver today due to poor weather.  RMI Guides Eric Frank and Pablo Puruncajas made the call to start the descent.  The team will return to Camp Muir and then start their descent to Paradise later this morning.  We look forward to seeing everyone at Rainier BaseCamp this afternoon.

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Alaska Seminar: Davis & Team Back in Talkeetna

Posted by: Leon Davis, Eric Frank | May 13, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

Greetings from Talkeetna!

So we made it off the glacier just in time!  This morning we woke at 3:30 am to start the 5.5-mile walk back to basecamp. The forecasted storm was slowly creeping in from the southwest and as we walked down glacier in the twilight, clouds came spilling over Mt. Foraker, threatening to shut down visibility. At 11:30 we could hear the mosquito hum of K2’s Otter as Randy flew in just below the cloud ceiling and set the plane down on the runway. Forty-five minutes later we were in sandals and t-shirts in downtown Talkeetna enjoying the warm air and flowering fauna. It has been an excellent experience for our folks. As we dry our gear on the lawn, everyone is quietly reflecting on the last six days spent in the Alaska range.

RMI Guide Leon Davis

After six days on the glacier, the team dries out their gear in the K2 lawn. Photo: Leon Davis

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Alaska Seminar: Davis & Team Attempt Kahiltna Dome

Posted by: Leon Davis, Eric Frank | May 13, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 8,700'

Hi everyone!

Well today we went for Kahiltna Dome and we got higher than any other RMI seminar in recent history. Soft snow and punchy crevasse bridges put a halt on our upward progress close to 11,000 feet. Despite the early start, temperatures never allowed the snow to freeze solid enough to prevent us from dropping into the many cracks that guard the ridge.  The guides put the question to our seminar participants about whether it was safe to continue and the entire team made some very rational common sense arguments on the decision to turn back.  We do believe these folks are starting to understand their limits while making good decisions, as we hoped this seminar would help impart!

We are safe and happy back at 8700’ camp hoping to fly off tomorrow if the forecasted snow does not interfere.

Good night and see you all soon!

RMI Guides Leon Davis and Eric Frank

An RMI Alaska Seminar traveling the glacier. Photo: Kel Rossiter An RMI Alaska Seminar headed uphill on a beautiful day. Photo: Kel Rossiter

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Alaska Seminar: Davis & Team Alone on the Upper Kahiltna

Posted by: Leon Davis, Eric Frank | May 11, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 8,800'

Good evening friends & family,
The team is here at 8,800’ camp on the Kahiltna, 5.5 miles from base camp. Today we walked with a few days of food and fuel up glacier under clear skies and later a blazing sun. It seems to be unseasonably warm here for early May, but we can hardly complain about great weather!

Early tomorrow morning we will leave camp and make an attempt on Kahiltna Dome and we are all excited to see what the mighty Kahiltna looks like from 12,200’!

Until tomorrow, good night from us all.

RMI Guides Leon Davis and Eric Frank

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Alaska Seminar: Davis and Team work on Glacier Travel

Posted by: Leon Davis, Eric Frank | May 10, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

We can’t complain about the two days of bad weather that prevented us from flying on when it is this beautiful at base camp. The weather here is stellar and watching the sun track across the greater Alaska range has the team in awe.  Distant Avalanches off Mt. Hunter and Foraker provide awesome viewing in between skills training. Today we traveled up the SE fork of the Kahiltna for an attempt on Horiskey’s Hump (Radio Tower) but poor slope conditions turned us back.  Not as much snow sticking to the slopes here this year and firm conditions on steep terrain forced us to make a conservative decision. The team is very thankful for the chance and they learned a great deal about themselves.

Tomorrow we train and prepare for an attempt on Kahiltna Dome!

RMI Guide Leon Davis and Team

The Kahiltna Glacier. RMI Photo Collection

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Alaska Seminar: Davis and Team Enjoy Sunny Training Day

Posted by: Leon Davis, Eric Frank | May 09, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

May 8, 2014 10:20 p.m. PST
The team took advantage of bluebird weather today by training on various mountaineering techniques near Kahiltna Base. We did this in anticipation of an attempt on the Radio Control Tower tomorrow. Now that the group has all of the necessary skills under their belt, we can safely travel up the glacier and, hopefully, climb to our first summit!

RMI Guide Leon Davis

An RMI team camped at Kahiltna Base Camp.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Alaska Seminar: Davis & Team’s Unexpected Good Fortune

Posted by: Leon Davis, Eric Frank | May 08, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,300'

May 8, 2014 1:54 a.m. PST
The team woke this morning to the sounds of birds chirping in the trees, which meant that yesterday’s rain had passed. The sky was still overcast, but as we assembled for breakfast at the Talkeetna Roadhouse spirits were high and conversation about our chances of flying onto the glacier carried a positive tone.

By late afternoon, it looked like another night might find us sleeping in Talkeetna and dreaming of glaciers, but luck fell our way. We were instructed to “suit up” and get loaded on the plane. Our flight service, K2 Aviation, was going to put us in the air and see if they could punch through.

Six hours later, we were nestled into our camp on the southeast flow of the Kahiltna Glacier. We established a camp and had a phenomenal dinner. Everyone is in awe of the surroundings and the group’s cameras are getting quite the workout.

RMI Guides Eric Frank, Leon Davis and the Alaska Mountaineering Seminar crew

K2 lands at Kahiltna Base. Photo: Katy Reid

On The Map

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