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Entries By garrett stevens

June 7, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team - The Stage is Set…

June 7, 2014 - 6:49 pm PT

...and the players are ready! Hello from our cloudy camp at 11,000. The team had a productive morning rising to a cold clear day! We started the day with a classic mountain breakfast of instant grits with a side of pop tarts. We know it’s not likely many would approve but for us it hit the spot and was the fuel we needed on a breezy, cold morning lugging our cache loads all the way to our next camp at 14,200 ft.

This was our first day of more technical climbing - we’ve been referring to the mountain behind us as the long heavy approach. The rope teams climbed with crampons and ice axes up Motorcycle Hill around to the famous Squirrel Hill. Lore has it that one early expedition had a furry stowaway on board that jumped from a member’s pack at a break on this stretch of mountain, resulting in the long-standing name “Squirrel Hill.”

After this section we made great time up to and around Windy Corner, which gave us a taste of some icy breezes as we crested over into the sun. The remaining stretch of glacier went quickly, and we were dropping our kit into yet another snow hole before noon. The group climbed flawlessly as we were back to our tents at 11,200’ before we knew it. Now we’re resting and preparing for tomorrow’s move up to our fourth camp,the highest so far. Don’t touch that dial, we’ll be back with an update tomorrow!

RMI Guides Garrett, Tyler, Bryan, and the team

On The Map

Great job Jake! You are well prepared for what lies ahead!  Wish we knew what color your coat is, it’s hard to pick you out in the photos!  Love Mom

Posted by: Diane on 6/8/2014 at 4:39 pm

Congratulations Paul !!

You finally get to see the view from the 14,000 ft. camp.  Pretty amazing, isn’t it.  Sounds like the weather has been preety decent for you guys.  I hope it stays that way so you don’t get stuck hunkering down at 14k or 17k. 

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 6/8/2014 at 1:13 pm

June 6, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Enjoy a Day of Leisure, Training, and Preparation

June 6, 2014 - 8:37 pm PT

Today we woke to a grand flurry of climbers packing and moving up to the fourteen thousand camp. For us though, it was a day of rest and we crawled out of our sleeping bags after the sun warmed the air in the tents. We ate another great breakfast of bagels, cream cheese, and bacon, firing our spirits for a day of organizing our gear for tomorrow’s carry up to the 14,200ft camp.  We’ll once again be separated from a few of our goodie bags and the gear we will use on the upper mountain.

We had a great review of advanced crampon technique, ice axe use, and general efficiency skills needed for our continued success at altitude as we move higher up. The real climbing starts from here, and we’ll don our crampons and ice axe for climbing steeper, more technical terrain and entering the more challenging altitudes.

With this day of rest, light activity and acclimatization our carry should be no sweat for our crew. Send some more nice weather our way and we’ll let you know when our cache has landed at its next destination!

RMI Guides Tyler, Garrett, Bryan, and the crew

On The Map

Thinking of you Jen and this incredible adventure you are on. Praying that the weather holds up and you will reach the summit soon. Lots of love.

Posted by: Aunt Marie on 6/7/2014 at 8:18 pm

Great job. Thinking of you, Dave and the whole crew.
Have a safe climb. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

Posted by: Bonnie on 6/7/2014 at 3:15 pm

June 5, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Jones and Team So Happy Together

Thursday, June 5, 2014 5:23 PM PDT

It’s always a little hard to leave the food you love in a cold dark hole on the glacier…wondering when you can get back there, whether it’s going to snow so much that you can’t find it again, or if the industrious ravens will dig into it. Fortunately for us, none of the above were issues today, and we completed our cache retrieval without incident.

We started the day with snow showers and overcast skies, and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of bacon, egg and cheese quesadillas with coffee and cocoa (clearly, we’re not starving). The food was just the fuel we needed for our two hour mission - we fired downhill, dug up the group gear and food we cached two days ago, and packed up our sleds for the trek back to camp.

The snow continued to fall as we pulled into camp, within 15 minutes we had all the gear stowed and were tucked into our tents, as warm and dry as we can hope to be. Now it’s time for a little lunch indulgence with the treats we brought, continued hydration, and resting from the output over the last few days. Tomorrow’s plan is a little up in the air - we’ll see if the weather cooperates for a carry or if we take a rest day here. Keep it locked in for more updates from the team!

RMI Guides Garrett Stevens, Tyler Jones, and Bryan Hendrick

Hi Paul. We hope that you are continuing to enjoy your climb. We are also hoping that you have good weather, and are looking forward to seeing the pictures of you and your team on the summit.
Love Ronda, Alex, Meeka and Max

Posted by: Ronda Kinneberg on 6/7/2014 at 7:31 pm

Dave, I hope you’re enjoying yourself.  The food you all are eating sounds like quite a menu!  Please stay safe and keep having fun.  All of us on the east coast are thinking of you and looking forward to hearing about you reaching the top!

Posted by: Patty on 6/7/2014 at 8:11 am

June 4, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Jones and Team Smooth Move to 11,000’ Camp

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 4:53 PDT

The morning came with no wind and optimal cool temps for our travels. After an oatmeal breakfast, the team packed for our quickest departure from camp yet. Our crew is strong and made great time during our climb, stopping at our cache to retrieve a handful of items from the surface, adding just a microscopic load for the final push into our new home for the next few days.

We plan to continue to fortify our camp by adding wind walls to our million dollar Posh house! The Posh house will serve as our kitchen,living, and dining room, bringing some comfort from the chill of the evening and protection from the blasting solar energy of the sun.

Currently, we are hiding from the sun’s torture and looking forward to a big dinner of tortellini with bacon and sun dried tomatoes. Tonight we will get a long night’s rest, and a leisurely breakfast tomorrow will lead us into a short back carry to retrieve the rest of our equipment!

We’re keeping our fingers crossed for RMI Guide Brent Okita and his team above us - as of last night’s radio check-in, they were planning to go for the top today. If the weather up high is anything like it is at our new camp, they stand a good shot. But for us, the name of the game is rest, recover, and prepare for the work ahead.

Cheers for now,
RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens, Bryan Hendrick, and team

We are following your progress.  Good Weather & Good Luck!  Going to Raleigh to see & hear Oz.

Posted by: Fred & Donna on 6/5/2014 at 5:46 pm

Hi Paul! We didn’t want you to be the only “camper” (haha) not getting “mail” from home this trip. So enjoy your adventure and safe travels! Love Ronda, Alex, Meeka and Max (the toad catcher!!!)

Posted by: Ronda Kinneberg on 6/5/2014 at 4:07 pm

June 3, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Carried the Cache and Commenced the Chill

June 3, 2014 - 5:36 pm PT

Yesterday’s icy winds gave way to calm, clear skies overnight. The temperature, however, was quite chilly when we woke for breakfast. The hot coffee and tea started warming folks up, and a couple of bagels with cream cheese topped by delicious smoked salmon rounded out this morning’s feast.

We packed up the kits for the carry and were walking shortly after the sun broke in camp. Temperatures climbed quickly and soon we were sweating under the loads, but within three hours we had buried our cache at 10,000 ft. We passed a ton of teams as we returned to camp - let’s just say that we were happy to be heading down while the rest of them were baking on the way up.

So now we’re poised for a move to the next camp at 11,200 ft and looking forward to making more progress on the mountain. That’s all for now, stay tuned for tomorrow’s tales of wonder from the frozen north land!

RMI Guides Garrett, TJ, Bryan and the team

On The Map

Great climb. How hard can it be ?

Posted by: Dan Duncan on 6/4/2014 at 3:49 pm

Hey, Paul and team! Love the updates. What an adventure. Thinking of you all.

Posted by: Anita on 6/4/2014 at 4:12 am

June 2, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Jones and Team Sitting Pretty on the Kahiltna Glacier!

Sunday, June 1, 2014 10:42 pm PT

We went to bed last night with clear blue skies fueling hopes for a good chance of flying onto the Kahiltna glacier today. When we woke this morning, the clouds dampened our hopes, and we slowly made our way to breakfast. After another hearty round of Roadhouse delights, we made our way to the hangar and settled in for a morning of discussion.

Within 2 hours, we had finished chatting and were dispersing around Talkeetna for rest and lunch. Some of us were still at the hangar when the K2 Aviation staff came out and started packing up our kit - it was on! We called the team in and got our clothes changed, boots on, and stood anxiously waiting for the green light to load and go.

Soon, we were in the Otter plane and flying towards the heart of the Alaska range. We landed amid the giants of snow and rock that characterize this special range, high-fived with RMI Guide Mike Walter and his crew and waved them goodbye as they headed back to the luxuries we’ve left behind. The team had a good early dinner and are now in bed, resting for the work to come. Stay with us as we climb towards our goal!

RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens, and Bryan Hendrick

Hi Dave!! I am following you all the way up!!! God Speed!

Posted by: Sandi on 6/5/2014 at 2:07 pm

Well it’s only been one day and I have already gone to text you three times before realizing I can’t! Be safe and have fun!
Love you Dad.

Posted by: Paige on 6/3/2014 at 7:42 pm

May 31, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Jones and Team Soggy but Spirited in Talkeetna

The wait continues here in the rainy village of Talkeetna. We have covered a whole gamut of skills and topics. Currently we don’t have a glacier under our our feet but we have many new tricks and tips to help us when our plane’s skis hit the powder-covered runway at KIA (Kahiltna International Airport), as many consider it. While the last flight in or out occurred this last Monday, our motivation is high and our spirits strong as we endure these fuzzy and rain filled skies. Maybe fishing for halibut would suit this weather well?

Our afternoon will take us to the Talkeetna Ranger Station for a documentary video that outlines the process of climbing and the reality of this difficult and rewarding climb to the summit of North America! We continue to send positive thoughts to the teams on the hill, hoping to high-five with then as we land.

Any high pressure you can send up here would be appreciated by all…

Until tomorrow,
RMI Guides Tyler Jones, Garrett Stevens, Bryan Hendrick, and team

Hi Dave and team-
We will be watching your progress from Watertown. So excited you are finally beginning your adventure.
Good luck!
Julie and Karla

Posted by: Julie and Karla on 6/1/2014 at 2:19 pm

Tyler, Garrett and Paul -

Hi Guys!  Well, here we all are again.  Of course, I wish I was there with you getting all antsy to get up on the mountain.  I see that Ben Alavarez is following along on the blog.  Hi Ben!!
Hope you get that high pressure system soon.

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 6/1/2014 at 12:14 pm

May 30, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Passing Some Time in Talkeetna

May 30, 2014 - 10:16 pm PT

The Alaska Range remains untouched by eager climbers awaiting a green light on a weather window. Our team awoke to our second day of uncertainty, hopes high that we might catch a break in this persistent southwesterly storm. Everyone’s enthusiasm and patience has been key while we perfect the “Talkeetna hang”. We spent the majority of our day at the hangar working on vital skills that will get us moving quickly once we hit the glacier. Everyone’s psyched for tomorrow’s potential, feeling optimistic that we might get our chance to fly!

RMI Guide Tyler Jones and the gang

Paul, here you go again—-waiting to get on the glacier—-I hope you can get there soon, watching you and rooting for you all daily. Ben

Posted by: Ben Alvarez on 5/31/2014 at 3:37 am

May 29, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Jones & Team Weathered and Waiting

May 29, 2014 - 5:55 pm PT

Winter’s grip on North America’s tallest mountain stays strong, while climbers surround the flight office in anticipation of what lies ahead. A sudden roar, cough, cough, an engine turns over. A lone pilot off to scout the weather towards Basecamp takes off from the Talkeetna air field. With him he carries the hopes of the climbers on either end. So far, no one has made it in or out, and we stand by, sending good wishes and warm thoughts to our friends currently sitting on the mountain.

Here in Talkeetna we are lucky to have a meal in arm’s reach, to enjoy one another’s company, share stories, learn new skills and refine the existing ones. A team bonds, creating an experience that each of us will remember for a lifetime. But for now we wait, hope, and learn. For this is just another day of one intrepid group in Alaska.

All the best for now.

RMI Guides Tyler, Garrett and Bryan

Safe travels everyone and enjoy. Looking forward to some great pictures, although I wish I was there in person. Don’t forget a bear souvenir for the best SIL ever.

Posted by: Amy johnson on 5/30/2014 at 9:10 pm

I hope you are enjoying this moment and soaking it all up. Cover yourself with mud and run around. It is good for the skin. Sending love from Girdwood. I will see you in a few weeks.

Posted by: Sarah Johnson on 5/30/2014 at 4:23 pm

May 29, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Tyler Jones & Team Getting Ready in Talkeenta

May 29, 2014 - 12:06 am PT

Greetings from beautiful Talkeetna, Alaska! The entire team finally arrived today, after one of our team members experienced a slight delay coming up yesterday. We had a great day here, spending most of the morning talking about the personal climbing kits, the gear we’ll need and the food we’ll eat, and what to expect in the days to come as we prepare for our grand adventure in the heart of the Alaska range.

We met with the park service this afternoon, and then headed back to the hangar to finalize packing. Our team is dialed and as a result we had no troubles as we culled out the superfluous gear from what we brought. Everything’s looking tight and right, and we’re all excited to get underway. While the forecast doesn’t look incredibly promising, we’ll be ready to launch at a moment’s notice tomorrow, and we hope to be on the glacier soon. We’re standing by, filled with anticipation for the expedition and respect for the task ahead.  Stay tuned for more details, and keep the positive vibes coming!

Until next time,

RMI Guides Tyler, Garrett, and Bryan

On The Map

Good luck, love the pictures. Have a great time.posted by your aunt Joan

Posted by: Joan Hansen on 6/8/2014 at 6:51 pm

Hey, Paul, Tyler and Garrett! Man, I wish I was w/ you guys, I know it’ll be a great experience. Paul, make sure you get your diet Dr. Pepper fix to wash down a standard in the morning. Rest up, guys, u gonna need it.
Gotta go now, my cigar needs relighting…

Posted by: Ben Alvarez on 5/29/2014 at 5:10 pm

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