Entries By eric frank

Mt. McKinley: Upper West Rib Team Train at 14,000’

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Eric Frank | June 12, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

June 11, 2015 10:02pm

With unsettled weather upon us we slept in this morning had a nice brunch and spent the afternoon reviewing some technical skills. We discussed some of the techniques we will use and practiced removing and stowing various types of gear as we climb. The team is anxious to get climbing but there is nothing we can do until the weather improves. For now we are enjoying long meals, funny stories, and some good naps. That’s all for now. Thanks for following along and keep your fingers crossed for some good weather up here on Denali.

RMI Guides Eric Frank, Geoff Schellens & Team

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Mt. McKinley: Upper West Rib Team Bides Their Time

Posted by: Geoff Schellens, Eric Frank | June 10, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

All of the pieces are in place for an attempt on the Upper West Rib, now we are just waiting on the weather. With yesterday’s carry to 16,400ft we have had a chance to stress our bodies and progress the acclimatization process.
The weather in the Alaska range can be a fickle thing. Moisture from the south mixes with frigid temperatures from the north, and the resulting scale of weather can be anything from light snow flakes to true arctic blizzards. Right now we are in a holding pattern waiting for the snow to stop. It has only snowed a few inches today, but two feet are predicted for the coming 48 hours. With our shovels at the ready we are waiting to see if the prediction comes true.

There is a silver lining to the forecast, however. It appears as though after this round of snowfall, the weather will stabilize and we may get our window to climb. That is still a few days out, but we are hopeful. The highlight around camp today was a potluck style lunch. After two weeks on the glacier a little variety in the daily diet was a welcomed change.

Thanks for following along, and if anyone feels like overnight shipping a snowblower and a few gallons of gas our way, it would be much appreciated.

RMI Guides Geoff Schellens, Eric Frank and the UWR team.

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Mt. McKinley: Upper West Rib Team Carry to 16,400’

Posted by: Eric Frank, Geoff Schellens | June 10, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 16,400'

June 9, 2015, 9:46 pm PT

The weather forecast has been calling for an impending storm, luckily it held off until late this afternoon. This morning we woke, ate a quick breakfast, and rigged for caching up on the Rib. With light loads and good climbing conditions the team made good time as we worked our way up to the West Rib. Clouds and light winds picked up in the afternoon and we decided to cache at 16,400’. Clouds enveloped us on our decent and the winds kicked up shortly after we returned to 14 Camp. The team did great and we are now in a great position to push higher when the weather allows. Everyone is well and looking forward to more climbing. Until we get our weather window we are maintaining excitement by focusing on the small things. For example, tomorrow we are planning a potluck lunch and maybe some competitive napping. That’s all for now. Thanks for following along with us.

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens

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Mt. McKinley: Upper West Rib Team Getting Strong at 14,000’ Camp

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

June 8, 2015, 6:16 pm PT

Not too much to report from camp today. The weather was moderate, but not good enough to coax us out for a walk or carry up hill.
At this point the team is just focusing on resting, meeting the neighbors and getting ready to utilize the next window of good weather.
Speaking of neighbors, the most exciting news of the day is that we are joining Tyler Jones’ team for dinner tonight. After ten days on the glacier together, the whole team is ready to interact with some new faces and hear new stories. Tyler’s team was nice enough to invite invite us over for a round of loaded quesadillas. The only remaining question is what we should take as a house warming gift.

RMI Guides Geoff Schellens and Eric Frank

An RMI Team camped and enjoying the views at 14,200 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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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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