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Entries By henry coppolillo

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Eagerly Await Blue Skies to Fly

June 1, 2023, 10:30 pm PDT


We had hopes this morning as the base camp manager said to ready everything and that planes were on the way. By 8:30 several planes hit the runway and stayed to load climbers. They departed and as the clouds edged closer, we were told they were launching planes for us and they were trying to get in. But the snow started and visibility shut down and the planes stopped landing. We kept waiting for the snow to stop and a hole to open, but it didn't come. It is now calm, but snowing prolifically. Midwinter, we would be going to sleep excited about the powder day to come. Here, we beg for it to stop so we can make our way home. But we are in a beautiful place, and we count ourselves warm, dry, and lucky to experience the power of the Alaska Range. 

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer and team

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Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Return to Airstrip Ready for Return Flight

Thursday, June 1, 2023 - 8:25 am PT

We made it to base camp! We had a smooth, though sticking with the theme of the trip, pretty white walk out to Base camp. We got in in the early afternoon relieved to be done pulling our sleds and shouldering heavy packs. The clouds didn't promise much for flying out, but we stayed hopeful and lounged on our packs and sleds. We had left ourselves some celebratory materials and we enjoyed those. A few clearing trends and blue skies gave us hope a few times but by 8pm we accepted that we would have another night in tents and set then up, made a last dinner of burritos, and crawled back into sleeping bags. We are happy to have done our part now. No more packs or sleds, just waiting for weather to cooperate. And it is so much warmer, and easier to breathe down here! 

Hopefully weather let's us fly off soon!

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

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So relieved you are on the final leg.  Congratulations, Brian and team!

Posted by: Lettie Kirk Goltry on 6/1/2023 at 11:13 am

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team On Descent to Airstrip

Wednesday, May 31, 2023 - 1:28 am PT

Denali's 17,000' Camp is a necessary evil. It's not particularly pleasant to exist there, even when it's nice out. With our objective secured yesterday, we were all ready to get out of that high and forlorne place. We set out today to get as far from 17,000' Camp as we could. We descended the West Buttress, down the fixed lines to 14,000' Camp. After some socializing with the other teams at 14,000'. We set our goal again with the intention of getting to 11,000ft. It has been snowing quite a bit since we passed these locations. There was a good boot track in, but there was well over 12 inches of new snow blanketing the Polo Field and Windy Corner. We'll wake up early and rally to the airstrip with the hope that we can fly first thing tomorrow. Fingers crossed. Snow camping is fun, especially at altitude, but all anyone can talk about is beer and burgers, and it is time for a shower and feeling warm once again.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

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Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Check in After Summit

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - 8:26 am PT

We finally got everything to come together. It was calm and quiet in the morning and we got out of camp early, ahead of everyone else. The Autobahn had filled in and took some work and time to put a track in, across to Denali Pass. It was shady and cold, but the team worked well. At Denali Pass, we stepped into the sun and also a touch of wind - just a light breeze. It kept things cold and we continued to work up. At points we would lose the wind and it would suddenly turn so hot, then back to cold. We played that game to the Football Field, and then up the summit ridge. By midafternoon we were standing on the summit of Denali! The summit was pretty warm and we got some photos before turning against traffic and the rest of the mountain. We retraced our steps to camp and fell into bed, happy to have the first part of the mission accomplished. Now we will set our sights lower on getting to thicker air and the airstrip.

Congrats to all the climbers!

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

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Why do when you can overdo? We love you Chris!

Posted by: Shan on 5/30/2023 at 3:43 pm

Congratulations Adam! Have a safe trip down everyone see ya soon!

Posted by: Matt & Erica Warren on 5/30/2023 at 2:10 pm

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Reach Denali Summit!

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer checked in from the summit of Denali at 5:50 pm PT on Monday, May 29th.  The team returned to their high camp at 17,000' around 1 am PT.

Congratulations to the May 9th Denali Expedition!

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Brian….So proud of you and your team!  You did it!!  It will be so much fun to hear all about it.  Be safe!

Posted by: Marilyn Goltry on 5/30/2023 at 6:21 pm

Now please come back safely!

Posted by: Lyds on 5/30/2023 at 3:08 pm

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Halt Summit Attempt Due to Weather

Sunday, May 28, 2023 - 6:42 pm PT

Today didn't work out exactly as planned. When we got up it was calm as promised, but a complete white out in camp. Snow was falling lightly, straight down. We dragged our feet to see how it would evolve. As the sun came up, the clouds did push up a bit, and with some sight it was clear the wind was moving strong up high. Within a few hours, that wind made it to camp as well. So we spent the day in the tents dodging intermittent snow showers and wind gusts.

We are hoping that tomorrow brings us better summit weather and that Mother Denali let's us pass.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

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Good luck to you and the team!

Posted by: Marilyn Goltry on 5/29/2023 at 3:53 pm

Denali: Van Deventer and Team build camp at 17k

May 27, 2023 7:28PM PT

Things were exactly as we hoped this morning, calm, and blue above.

We woke earlier than most, and had our chores taken care of quickly to get out of camp.

We were roughly the second team out, which turned out to be the right move as it seemed like nearly everyone at 14 headed to the fixed lines today. From the top, we could see a near to continuous line that stretched back to 14.

We made good time and rolled into camp at 17 around 4pm. Then started the laborious work of building camp. It's hard to do anything up here quickly - walk, shovel, stand up too fast, so it took some time, but we are now settled in - working on melting snow for water and hoping that tomorrow gives us our summit shot.

Pete, Henry, Tatum and Team

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Go Bailey! Hope the weather window is good and that you get an amazing summit push! Stay safe!

Posted by: Cecilie on 5/28/2023 at 9:29 am

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer and Team Spend Another Day at 14,000’ Camp

It was another relatively slow day at 14,000’ Camp. As promised, there were some strong gusts that shook the tents last night into this morning, but the wind settled, and it continued to snow through most of the day. We did laps of camp, socialized, laughed about the army barracks of RMI tents that are now up here as we have four RMI Expedition Teams at 14,000’ camp. One climber asked for street signs, since he got confused, took a wrong turn, and tried to enter the wrong tent.

The team got a solid Start on an igloo, and a couple of folks in camp got rad new haircuts designed for speed. The forecast is giving us some hope that this weekend will give us a chance. We will be up early tomorrow to look uphill and see if things look good enough to launch. If so, our summit push will start.

RMI Guides Pete VanDeventer, Henry Coppolillo, Tatum Whatford and Team

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Watching the weather and crossing fingers and everything else for good news! Can’t wait to hear about the whole grand adventure!

Posted by: Chris's Mom on 5/27/2023 at 4:07 pm

Be safe we love you Brian Goltry

Posted by: Lettie Kirk Goltry on 5/27/2023 at 11:58 am

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer and Team Hang at 14,000’ Camp

Thursday 5/25/2023 10:00pm PDT

Another good rest/ weather day for us today. The snow, clouds, and breeze were in and out and it was an obvious day to sit. 14,000’ Camp on Denali is turning into a small city as more and more teams move up and run into the same weather waiting game. When we first moved up there were only a handful of scattered camps. Now 14,000’ Camp is continuous, and you can meander around, walking down alleys between snow walls.The team took on a variety of tacks to stay entertained. One intrepid member measured the perimeter of camp to be a quarter mile and did a 5k, jogging some of it. A few members even joined in at points. Others wandered around and chatted with other RMI Expedition Teams. And one member has now read the ingredient list of all their snack food!

Tomorrow looks to be more of the same and already the team has made plans to build an igloo, and perhaps more - the site plan is still being finalized. The 14,000’ Camp hang continues

RMI Guides Pete, Henry, Tatum & Team

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Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Rest and Wait at 14,000’ Camp

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 - 11:14 pm PT

It was a good day for us to sit. Yesterday's strong effort meant everyone slept well, and long. We got up late, enjoyed our last bagels and smoked salmon, told stories, and generally enjoyed the rest day. Snow and clouds intermittently invaded camp, with some breaks of brilliantly strong sunshine. For a bit of movement and boredom cure, we built a bunch of walls to deflect the wind that may come tomorrow. Tomorrow, we will rest again, as the forecast calls for winds at 17,000' to elevate significantly tomorrow. We'll see how this weather system plays out, and it's good comfort for us to know that all of our pieces are in place and when the window opens, we'll be ready.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

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Go get that summit Adam! Can’t wait to hear about the whole adventure when you get home and hope to see you front and center in the picture at summit! Good luck everyone!

Posted by: Matt & Erica Warren on 5/25/2023 at 6:46 pm

I’ve been following the daily updates with great interest.  Patience appears to be huge part of a climbers’ requirements.  Praying for your team safety and clear weather for your summit push.
Best Regards

Posted by: Larabee Bruce on 5/25/2023 at 11:31 am

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