Entries By jake beren

Mt. McKinley: Beren & Team Back Carry from 11K Camp

Posted by: Jake Beren, Andrew Kiefer, Christina von Mertens | June 11, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Wednesday, June 10th 10:15 pm PT

The winds subsided enough today to allow us safe passage back to our buried cache at 9,600 feet. It was a fun stroll and though we broke trail in a full whiteout to get there, we enjoyed extremely pleasant walking conditions on our quest for the rest of our snacks.

The afternoon held time for a nap and a review of climbing techniques before dinner. If the weather cooperates we are set to jet and bump a load higher on the route tomorrow. Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Jake Beren

Looking up from 11K Camp, Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Beren & Team Move to 11,200’ Camp

Posted by: Jake Beren, Christina von Mertens, Andrew Kiefer | June 09, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

June 9, 2015, 3:39 pm PT

Awaking to light snow and little wind yesterday we decided to see if moving was realistic. Denali decided to make us earn it and we climbed through consistent wind and snow to make it up here. The team did great, and evening found us snug in our sleeping bags. This morning we battled the same wind and snow that followed us up from 7,800’ as we fortified our living space, building artistic (yet functional) walls to protect us from the elements. This afternoon we will rest and recover from a few big days before retrieving our cache and sending a new one higher on the route. Great to be posted up higher on the Great One.

RMI Guide Jake Beren

Camp life at 11,200 ft on Mt. McKinley with Kahiltna Dome peaking thru the clouds.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Beren & Team Hit The Glacier Running

Posted by: Jake Beren, Andrew Kiefer, Christina von Mertens | June 07, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 7,800'

Sunday, June 7, 2015 7:42 pm PT

Yesterday we stormed the Kahiltna Glacier, officially ending our occupation of Talkeetna. We were able to catch an early afternoon flight, skirting the clouds and safely getting ourselves and all our groceries into the mountains! 

We expected a huge backlog of climbers at basecamp, and there were more than a few parties waiting to get off the mountain. However a buried tent city resembling a parking lot of white Fiats, was nowhere to be found. We landed to spectacular views and decided to hit the ground running. Making it to 7,800 Camp in the evening was a great start to the climb. 

Today we got a reasonable start to the day, leaving camp at mid morning and carrying to 9,700 feet. It was a pleasant day for walking, with enough cloud cover to keep us from getting too scorched. The team made it and we are now resting before dinner. Hopefully we can use that fuel to move to 11K Camp. Keep those fingers crossed for good weather!

RMI Guide Jake Beren

Climbing teams leaving Mt. McKinley's Basecamp, Alaska. Photo: Chris Villar

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Mt. McKinley: Beren & Team Tour Talkeetna

Posted by: Jake Beren, Christina von Mertens, Andrew Kiefer | June 06, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

June 6, 2015 11:08am PST

No trip to Denali is truly complete without a taste of the Talkeetna Hang. With the unsettled weather this week continuing, it hasn’t been possible to fly in to the Range. While that can be tough for some to hang out in town, it doesn’t take many days stuck in a storm on the mountain before we will be wistfully remembering our down days in town.

The team is doing their best to stay in the game. Despite being ready with planes loaded and boots on, we spent the day in town, not flying. With nothing else to do for the trip, we set out to really get into the Talkeetna Hang. An afternoon pizza party prompted a trip to the river to skip some rocks and look towards the mountains. We couldn’t see anything but dark clouds toward the Range so we pushed on. Making a stop at the historic Fairview Inn the team got into some fierce ping pong action. Doubles, singles, it didn’t matter. Nice to get the heart beating again. After the games a farmer’s market set up shop nearby, a concert in the park struck up and we eventually returned to the hanger for a game of Cards against Humanity. A solid day of hanging.
 
With any luck we will fly today, but if not I think we can find a museum or two to explore.

RMI Guides Jake Beren, Christina Von Mertens, Andrew Kiefer & Team

Jake Beren & Team Enjoying a bit of Ping Pong. Photo: Jake Beren June 2nd McKinley Team Relaxing in the Hangar. Photo: Jake Beren

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Mt. McKinley: Jake Beren & Team arrive in Talkeetna

Posted by: Jake Beren, Christina von Mertens, Andrew Kiefer | June 04, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley

The group has made it to charming Talkeetna for burgers, beers, and packing.  We spent the day yesterday dialing in our 100 liter packs and duffels with sleds. The food for 22 days is packed and our spirits are high.  Now that we are all ready the weather needs to cooperate.  We were scheduled to fly this morning but are in a waiting pattern at the moment, well, I guess it’s back to the coffee shop. 

All is well!

RMI Guide Jake Beren & Team

The June 5th McKinley Team Sorting Gear. Photo: Jake Beren McKinley Gear Ready to Fly. Photo: Jake Beren

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Mexico: RMI Guide Jake Beren Recaps The Team’s Orizaba Summit

Posted by: Jake Beren, Christina von Mertens | March 15, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 18,701'

Well it sure has been an action packed few days for our team here in Mexico. After a wonderful rest day (I’ll let everyone share their own tales when they return) where the crew scattered about the city causing mayhem and generally having a ball, we launched for Tlachichuca. We’d all been nervously watching the weather after our trouncing on Ixta and the forecast was unclear, on all fronts. We had seen everything from the apocalypse to passable, but there really is never any substitute for the nowcast. Upon arrival at the base of the mountain, in our old friend Dr. Reyes’ climbers compound, we learned that no one had summited in days and that getting to the hut would require a few hours of walking. Snow had overtaken the road and trucks couldn’t reach the hut. No one had ever seen such a low snow level, let alone heard of a vehicle making through drifts feet thick in spots. We were in for it if we were going to even make it to the hut.

We decided to go see how far we could get anyway and started climbing up the steep, muddy road towards the hut. The higher we drove, the more snow there was on the road. Eventually the trucks couldn’t climb much higher and it looked like the walk was going to be epically long. But then, an ace up our sleeve saved the day and a teammate who probably doubles as a stunt driver for the winter chase scenes in James Bond movies stepped to the plate. Voila, we took hours off our approach, making it much further. In the end we walked for under an hour before laying claim to a deserted hut.

As we walked to the hut, Orizaba loomed over our heads. It sure looked nasty up high, dark clouds whipping over the summit and most of the glacier fully obscured. No one was really mentioning what we all were thinking, but some sure would have to change if we were going to get very high on this one. After a quick review of some climbing techniques, we feasted and turned in for the night. We woke very early and could see a few stars!!  Dios mio!  As we readied ourselves, the wind came out and it began to lightly snow the higher we climbed. Since we were the only climbers in days, the team broke trail through the night and as the storm built turning back was on everyone’s mind.  Each break we reached we reassessed the merits of continuing and we kept reaching the same conclusion, “one more stretch.”  When we reached the top of the Labyrinth (a rocky maze broken by snowy, usually ice, gullies), the wind and snow were peaking. Everyone was dealing so well with the weather that we decided we would climb for a half an hour on the glacier and turn back if it didn’t improve. As we kicked steps up the glacier, the skies lightened slightly in the morning sun and the wind lessened a knot or two.
  “One more stretch?”
  “Por que no?” we concluded and repeated the question for the next few hours, constantly aware of our conditions and strengths. Continually assessing progress and our teammates, eventually it looked like it was going to be a fight, but that we just might stand on the cumbre!  No summit is worth an injury, so the minute things looked like they COULD be sub ideal, we were ready to head back knowing we gave it our best. Orizaba respected the effort and graciously offered our team of intrepid explorers a glimpse of the top and happily we accepted the invitation. What a treat!  Standing on top was a real achievement, and as the only crew on the whole mountain we had the whole hill to ourselves. Amazing day in the mountains.

The weather cleared a bit for the descent and our team did a great job handling the hardest part of the climb, the descent. A truck was even able to make it to the hut and happily saved us an hour of tired walking through the mud at the end of a long day. When we got back to Tlachichuca, hot showers and a marimba band made dinner even that much better.

Quite an adventure down here in Mexico, can’t wait to see everyone back home!

RMI Guide Jake Beren

An RMI Team on the summit of Orizaba, Mexico. Photo: Chris Villar El Pico de Orizaba above Tlachichuca, Mexico. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mexico: Beren & Team Reach the Orizaba Summit!

Posted by: Jake Beren, Christina von Mertens | March 14, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 18,701'

First off a big thanks to everybody and their good weather vibes for us down in Mexico. We were able to sneak one in on Orizaba today as the only climbers to stand on top.  Beautiful day we were climbing in a very volatile weather situation, but we were able to move around and get to where we needed to be at just the right time, and were able to go stand on top.  It was a wonderful day with a great crew.  Thanks so much for sharing everybody with us and we look forward to seeing you all in the next day or two when we get home. Thanks so much.

RMI Guide Jake Beren

View while on the Orizaba summit day. Photo: Zeb Blais Descending from the toe of the Jampa Glacier on Orizaba. Photo: RMI Collection El Pico de Orizaba, stands 18,701' in Mexico. Photo: RMI Collection


RMI Guide Jake Beren calls in after the team's successful Orizaba summit.

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Mexico’s Volcanoes: Team Enjoys Rest Day Exploring Puebla

Posted by: Christina von Mertens, Jake Beren | March 13, 2015
Categories:

What a great rest day here in Puebla!  We scattered about the city, exploring these old streets and doing a little shopping, bus touring and general feasting (what better way to get to know a place?). This morning we are off to Tlachichuca to get ready for Orizaba. Keep those fingers and toes up North crossed for some good weather!

RMI Guide Jake Beren

Exploring Puelba, Mexico.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mexico: Beren & Team’s Weather Wasn’t in Their Favor

Posted by: Jake Beren, Christina von Mertens | March 11, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico

Buenas Dias de Puebla!  The team is relaxing with some well earned hot showers after a big 24 hours in the mountains. Unfortunately, the weather deities did not smile upon us for our attempt on Ixta. After a great job getting to camp at around 15,300 feet above the sea, we weren’t tucked in our sleeping bags for more than a few hours before an exquisite storm rolled in and sat on us for the remained of the night. Our 2 am wake up turned into 3 am, then 4,5,6 and 7 before we finally threw in the towel. Lightning and steady snow can sure make a call easy, but with such a strong crew, I’m sure we could have made a solid bid for the top if the weather cooperated. Everyone did great work weathering the storm and are about to enjoy a fun rest day in Puebla tomorrow. Keep those fingers crossed for a break in the case, weather wise.

RMI Guide Jake Beren

The Mexico team climbing to Ixta High Camp. Photo: Christina Von Mertens The Mexico team all smiles on a rest break climbing Ixtaccihuatl. Photo: Christina Von Mertens Overlooking the historic streets of Puebla. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mexico: Beren & Team Check in from the Altzomoni Hut

Posted by: Jake Beren, Christina von Mertens | March 09, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mexico
Elevation: 12,000'

Buenes noches from the Altzomoni Hut. The team is doing great. We had a wonderful acclimatization walk, a big meal and we’re just turning in for bed before heading up to our high camp on Ixta tomorrow morning. The team is in wonderful spirits and everybody is doing quite well on our perch on the hill above Puebla in between Popo and Ixta. It’s a beautiful night and the weather seems to be improving, which is great for us tomorrow to start our climb of Ixta. We’ll check in tomorrow. Thank you for all the good wishes and we’ll talk to you soon.

RMI Guide Jake Beren

Popo seen from the flanks of Ixta, Mexico. Photo: JJ Justman


RMI Guide Jake Beren checks in from Ixta's High Camp.

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