Entries By eric frank

Mt. McKinley: Upper West Rib Team Builds a Snow Fortress

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Eric Frank | June 08, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

June 8, 2015, 10:59 am PT

After a strenuous day getting to 14 Camp yesterday, we slept in this morning. The sun crept into camp around 9:15 am and we slow crawled out of our tents shortly thereafter.  The weather today was pretty good but the forecast is calling for some more snow and wind so we spent the day building giant snow walls around our camp and resting. The team is doing very well and acclimating well. If the weather is good tomorrow we might go do a short walk up the West Rib but either way we are dug in here at 14,200’ and are ready for whatever the weather gods allow us to do.

That’s all for now.
RMI Guide Geoff Schellens

The view of an RMI camp at 14,200 ft. on Mt. McKinley, AK. Photo: Lindsay Mann

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Mt. McKinley: Upper West Rib Team Moves to 14,200’ Camp

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Eric Frank | June 07, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

Saturday, June 6th 10:55 p.m. PT

After three days of significant snowfall, we awoke this morning to mostly clear skies and moderate winds. Three days of laying in a tent will make anyone antsy, and, understandably, the team was raring to head up hill.
We used the energy and enthusiasm to make a move to Mount McKinley’s 14K camp. After an hour of wallowing through deep snow, we escaped onto firmer terrain and found ourselves here in camp six hours later.

Everyone is tired from the exertion, but elated to be this high on the mountain. Thanks for following along.

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens

Climbing Squirrel Hill on the move to 14,200' Camp, Mount McKinley. Photo: Brent Okita

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Mt. McKinley: Overnight Snow Fall for Upper West Rib Team

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Eric Frank | June 05, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 5, 2015 - 6:53 pm PT

We woke this morning to silence, my first thought was that the weather had become good. Soon I rubbed my eyes and realized the we were completely snowed in. After digging out of the tent we spent another hour excavating camp before we could even start making breakfast. Obviously not a move day. Once camp was dug out and coffee was coursing through us we spent the day sharing stories, reading, and napping in our tents. The wind and snow let up for most of the afternoon and we are all hopeful that tomorrow will bring good weather for us. The team is antsy to move higher on the mountain but there is nothing we can do about the weather. Spirits remain high and everyone is healthy and happy. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather tomorrow. Thanks for following along with us.

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens

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Mt. McKinley: Upper West Rib Team Rests Again

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Eric Frank | June 04, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Thursday, June 4, 2015 6:45pm PST

The snow is still falling and the winds continue to blow here at 11k camp. This morning, the Upper West Rib team woke to another six inches of accumulation and drifts ranging from mid-calf to mid-thigh. We quickly shoveled our camp back into shape, then lingered over breakfast bagels for several hours while we discussed potential future schedules.


Overall the team is doing an excellent job of staying busy and motivated while utilizing these imposed rest days. Between bouts of shoveling, we are able to sneak in hours of reading, naps and movie watching. Once the weather improves we will be strong and ready to cruise uphill.

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens

Mt. McKinley's 11K Camp in Storm Conditions. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Upper West Rib Team Scheduled Rest Day

Posted by: Eric Frank, Geoff Schellens | June 03, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 3, 2015 - 5:08 pm PT

Last night shortly after dinner a light snow began falling as we got in our tents. This morning we awoke to 8” of new snow and it has continued falling all day. It is always nice when weather forces a rest day right on schedule.
We drew out the breakfast process making hash browns, eggs, bacon, and uncountable cups of coffee. The early afternoon was spent napping an watching movies in our tents and shoveling out camp. Hopefully tomorrow is nice and we can get a cache in at 13,600’ before returning to 11 camp. The teams is in good spirits and enjoying a day off their feet.
That’s all for now, thanks for following along.

RMI Guides Geoff Schellens & Eric Frank

Tents covered in new snow at 11,200ft Camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Upper West Rib Team Establishing Camp at 11,200’ Camp

Posted by: Eric Frank, Geoff Schellens | June 02, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 2, 2015 - 5:43 pm PT

Light snow is pelting the outside of our tents this afternoon, but we are warm and dry inside. Soon we will need to venture out and build high walls around our camp to protect the tents from any potential wind damage.  Despite the fact that it is a lot of hard work, wall building tends to be a favorite among groups. It is half artistry and half big-kid Legos.
The group was already productive today. After a leisurely breakfast of bagels with smoked salmon, we took a three hour stroll down to our cached food and brought it back up to 11,200’ camp. Now we are firmly established here and getting stronger for our next move uphill.

RMI Guides Geoff Schellens and Eric Frank

An RMI Team camped at 11,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Upper West Rib Team Moves to 11,000’ Camp

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Eric Frank | June 02, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Monday, June 1st 10:23 pm PDT

This morning we woke up at 7:30 to another beautiful day. Despite the chilly breeze, we packed up camp and had a quick breakfast and hit the dusty trail. Soon the wind dissipated and we found ourselves in base layers again. The team moved very well up Ski Hill and past our cache site on up to 11K camp. Luckily 11K camp was somewhat vacant so we moved right into an old camp saving us a lot of work, although we will need to fix up the snow walls a bit tomorrow. After a delicious dinner of mac and cheese, we crawled into our tents as the low clouds crept higher with the incoming front. Weather permitting tomorrow we will retrieve our cache at 9,600’ and do some work around camp here at 11. Thanks for following along with us.

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens

Pulling sleds up Ski Hill on Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Upper West Rib Team Caches Gear at 9,600’

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Eric Frank | June 01, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,800'

Sunday, May 31st 11:16 p.m. PDT

The team got a late start this morning after a middle of the night arrival at 7,800 ft camp. Breakfast took the majority of the morning, but eventually we loaded up a portion of our food and gear to make the three-hour trip up the glacier to cache our load. Everyone did well despite the heavy packs, and we are looking forward to the them lighter and lighter as we eat more food.

This evening we were able to congratulate both Mike Walter and Pete Van Deventer’s teams who are on their way down from the summit.

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens

An RMI camp at 7,800 feet, Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Upper West Rib Team Flies onto the Mountain

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Eric Frank | May 31, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,800'

Sunday, May 31st 11:17 a.m. PDT

The Upper West Rib team covered some serious mileage today. We had a casual morning in Talkeetna with a big Roadhouse breakfast and then strolled to the hangar to put the final touches on our packing and preparations before flying into the range. With such warm temperatures (Talkeetna was as warm as 77 degrees) we pushed our fly time back to the afternoon to accommodate our night schedule on the lower Kahiltna Glacier. We loaded our DH Otter at 3:00 PM and shortly thereafter were flying. The flight into the Great Alaska Range is one of the most spectacular mountain flights I have ever experienced. As our small plane maneuvered through the peaks and up the the glaciers, everyone’s eyes were glued to the windows. After landing at base camp we began rigging our sleds and getting ready to move. With such good weather we wanted to take advantage of the cooler temperatures in the evening for our move to 7,800’ camp. We left BC just after 8:00 PM and soon found ourselves walking past beautiful peaks like Mt Francis, Foraker, and Crossen. Despite the heavy packs and sleds, the team moved very well . We arrived just before 1:00 AM and set camp, had some dinner and racked out. Everyone is climbing very well and excited to have the expedition underway. That’s all for now.

Thanks for following along with us as we make our first steps toward Denali.

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens

An RMI climbing team hauls sleds to Mt. McKinley's Camp 1. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Upper West Rib Team Prepares in Talkeetna

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Eric Frank | May 29, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 348'

Friday, May 29th 12:52pm PDT

Today the UWR (Upper West Rib) McKinley team is scurrying around getting all of our gear dialed for the glacier. Planes are landing and taking off every few minutes, which keeps us motivated to stay on our tasks. Line by line we are crossing off our check lists, and the piles of food and gear are growing to epic proportions.

The weather is stable right now, and it looks promising that we will fly on tomorrow.

Thanks for following along. We’ll update everyone from the glacier!

RMI Guides Eric Frank and Geoff Schellens and team

The view of the Alaska Range from Talkeetna, AK. Photo: Eric Frank RMI Guide Geoff Schellens with the May 28th McKinley Upper West Rib Team in Talkeetna, AK. Photo: Eric Frank The RMI May 28th McKinley Upper West Rib Team sorting their gear in Talkeetna, AK. Photo: Eric Frank The food is ready to load into duffels for the RMI May 28th McKinley Upper West Rib Team. Photo: Eric Frank

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