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Entries By jackson breen

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Move to 14k

May 17, 2024 11:54PM PT

Today was super successful. Things were quite warm at camp and looked enticing enough to rouse everyone and start making preparations to leave.
Excitement was in the air as everyone in camp had similar thoughts - whether they were carrying or moving. Teams filtered out of camp uphill, and we made final adjustments, and then shouldered packs and headed up Motorcycle Hill. 
We moved really well - caught a little breeze over the top of squirrel, then kept swinging along the polo field. It was a bit chilly again around Windy Corner, but the wind died on the other side and the oven turned on and we started pulling off layers. 
We cruised into camp and set about building our home for the next several days tough work at 14,200’. Everybody is now recovering horizontally. 
Tomorrow should be a much easier day, dropping back down to grab our cache and returning to camp with all our treasures. 


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Denali Expedition: VanDeventer & Team Rest at 11,000’

Thursday, May 16, 2024

The moment we got out of the tents, it was pretty clear we were going to rest in camp today. Gusts of wind were rolling through camp at irregular intervals, shaking the tents in waves across camp. It wasn't particularly strong, just really noisy. Above, however, it was clear that the wind was much stronger, clouds flew by, and a lenticular hovered over the West Buttress. Below, clouds were thick on the Kahiltna as well. So, we lingered over breakfast, then retreated to the tents for reading, napping, and movie time. It was good timing for a rest day for us anyways.

We'll take a look at it tomorrow and see how we go.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer & Team

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Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Cache Gear, Getting Ready to Move

Wednesday, May 15, 2024 - 11:01 pm PT

We'd like to start today's blog with a special hello from Jackson to Grandma Carol.

Things looked perfect when we first got out of the tents this morning to carry up towards 14,000'. As we exited the cooktent though the winds had started to crank up high, sending lines of snow skyward. We slowly packed, staring uphill trying to make up our minds. After an hour or two the plumes got smaller, and winds seemed to be calming, so we went for it. Turned out well for us. We had at most light breezes all day, and cruised around Windy Corner to the cache spot, deposited our loads of food and accessories, and cruised back to camp, light as a feather. It was a good days work. We're going to look for our best opportunity to move to 14,000' Camp, weather permitting and that will be the next big step. Maybe tomorrow, maybe after. As with all things, we'll see.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

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Denali Expedition: Van Denter & Team Enjoy Rest Day at 11,000ft Camp

Tuesday, May 14, 2024 - 7:47 pm PT

We had a stellar day of rest and recovery today at 11,000' Camp. The skies were blue as could be and camp was calm and warm. We waited to leave tents until the sun hit, and lingered over blueberry pancakes and coffee. The midday was time for naps, movies, wet wipe baths, fresh clothes, etc. Then we did a quick hour long practice session of cramponing, arrest, and rope travel practice, before a couple more hours of lounging. We're now properly setup for a carry around Windy Corner tomorrow. Ever higher we go!

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

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Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Bump to 11,000ft Camp

With today's move to 11,000' complete, we are done pulling sleds uphill, and are retiring the snowshoes until we come down! There was much celebrating. It was sunny in camp this morning and we let that dry tents and sleeping bags for a bit, then pulled it all down, packed it all up, and started walking back up Ski Hill. It was an incredibly pleasant day and we trundled along to 11,000' in good time. The team is clicking at getting stuff done, and tents were up in no time. Good thing to, as a big black wall approached from the west and enveloped us in fat snow flakes. It's incredibly calm, but we are building an inch or so of snow an hour, falling quietly, straight down. At another time of year it would evoke holidays, wood stoves, and cozy winter vibes, but right now it's making summer feel quite far away. Our intention is to take a rest day tomorrow at 11, refresh some climbing skills for the terrain above, and get ready to cache higher the next day.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

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Hi Jackson! This is your grandma Breen. Just wanted to tell you how proud I am of you and how amazed I am of all your adventures and accomplishments! I love you and be safe!

Posted by: Carol Breen on 5/14/2024 at 11:49 am

Denali Expediton: Van Deventer & Team Enjoy Well Deserved Rest Day

After a couple of big days, today was a good one to rest. The sun decided to show too, and we could finally see the awesomeness of the peaks of the Alaska Range around us. Until now we've moved around in relative murk with the peaks above obscured. The scene around us is stunning and humbling, and for much of the day we could see clear to the summit of Denali. The sun also warmed the tents and us, giving us a nice dose of heat after a couple days of pretty chilly weather, even for Alaska. Some yoga, napping, and reading was most if the day's activity. Tomorrow we plan to move to Camp 1, rested and ready to climb this stretch one more time.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

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Sounds like everyone is doing great!! Keep up the good work!
Thank you for keeping all of us at home up to date on our friends progress!

Posted by: Jackie Millen on 5/13/2024 at 4:31 pm

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Carry Gear to 11,000ft

Saturday, May 11, 2024

We got most of our food and fuel pushed all the way to 11 today. We went into the day with a plan to carry as high as we could and made sense. It's been quite snowy on the Kahiltna below Kahiltna Pass. We were in the sun in the morning but it looked socked in above, so we dragged our feet a bit. We didn't see much evidence of wind, and a could of teams headed up, so with some trail breaking ahead of us, we decided to go. As expected, the light turned flat pretty quickly. But we were moving along well. We caught the last team in front of us around 9,700', and trail breaking became our job. We had a chilly breeze coming from behind, and we thought we might just lose it and get some better visability around the corner towards 11,000'. That worked, and then we were only 20 minutes from camp, so why not go the distance! It was a proud effort from the team. We dropped our loads, stowed sleds on packs, and with minimal weight on us for the first time on the trip, stretched our legs out on the descent. It had snowed yet more below, so we broke trail back downhill again, but made easy work of that. It was pretty pleasant and surreal, with snowflakes filtering silently down around us, and the snow on the ground absorbing every sound, we moved through a silent, empty landscape, the sound of our own passage swallowed up. It was a long day capped with a restorative bowl of ramen and then off to sleep.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

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Denali Expedition: VanDeventer & Team Reach First Camp

Friday May 10, 2024 9:02 pm PDT

Everything that we could not see last night was visible and resplendent this morning. Skies were crystal blue, and Hunter, Foraker, and Denali were all standing proud. It was the perfect morning to start moving. Some breakfast and quite a bit of organizing, caching, measuring out ropes and sleds, etc., and then we were ready to start walking. First down Heartbreak Hill to the lowest point of the trip, then steadily up the gentle inclines of the lower Kahiltna. It should be the only day of the trip where we move with everything at once, so our loads were HEAVY! But the team did great churning the legs and we sidled into camp at the base of Ski Hill around 5.

Throughout the day the weather deteriorated, and we went from staring at these Alaskan beauties to being able to see 20 feet in really flat light. We went from stripping to sun hoodies, to putting on puffies, and set up camp in similar conditions with light snow. The sun is poking out now as the stoves roll towards dinner. Soon we'll be crawling into sleeping bags.

We'll check in tomorrow.

RMI Guide Pete VanDeventer & Team

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Pete and crew…Wishes for a great expedition. Will follow along from the cornfields and basketball courts of Indiana. Waltero [Spanish name I heard I needed 12 years ago at Aconcagua, Argentina L O L] Be Safe.
“Stand up straight.”


Posted by: Walter Glover on 5/12/2024 at 11:36 am

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Arrive at Denali Base Camp

Thursday, May 9, 2024 - 10:48 pm PDT

The pilots in the Alaska Range are some of the best mountain pilots in the world, so when we chatted with K2 today and they said they didn't think the weather was going to let us make it to base camp today, we took it to heart. They are the pros at flying and if they don't want to go, we don't want to be on the plane. So, we cooled our feet, had a nice breakfast and a nice coffee, and made a plan to refresh some crevasse rescue skills in the hanger. No sooner had we built an anchor than we got the call that things were changing for the better. They watched it for a bit, loaded the planes, looked at it some more, and decided it was worth trying. Sure enough, there was a clear path up the Kahiltna, and suddenly we were in the Alaska Range listening to the retreating whine of the turbo otter as it headed back Talkeetna, leaving us on the glacier to contemplate the size and scale if peaks around us and our undertaking.

We opted to stay at base camp tonight and get things sorted, so we set tents and had our first meal on the mountain. It's a different vibe now from the nervous waiting and preparing. We are here and it's up to us to start moving our things uphill. So, we'll take our fate in our hands and set out for the base of Ski Hill tomorrow to take our first steps on our journey up Denali.

We'll check in tomorrow.

RMI Guides Pete VanDeventer, Jackson Breen & Team

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Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Arrive in Talkeetna and Get Down to Business

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

The team got into Anchorage yesterday and drove our way to Talkeetna making a stop for last minute grocery’s and marveling at the glimpses of Denali and the rest of the Alaska range as they poked through the clouds. Once in Talkeetna, we checked into the hotel and ate burgers, calling it an early night before our big day of packing and preparing!

Today we spent the morning going through gear. We sorted our stoves, tents, kitchen, warm layers, and most importantly FOOD! After that, we had a nice orientation with the climbing rangers where we talked about the mountain, keeping it clean, staying safe, and received our clean mountain cans (CMC’s). The final bit of the day was spent packing our backpacks and duffels and weighing in to prepare for a flight to follow. We spent the evening enjoying pizza and beer as some rain came in. With any luck we will fly tomorrow and be walking on the mountain soon!

RMI Guide Jackson Breen

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