Entries By jason thompson
Our time in the Alaska Range finished wrapped up just a couple of days ago. We had an extra 2 bonus days in the mountains. Our fly off date was set, but the weather determines our true fly off date. The snow began to fall the night before our scheduled departure date, it kept snowing for the following 2 days. Veteran climbers stated that this had been one of the biggest snowstorms, at Base Camp, that they could remember in the past
7 years. Over 3 ft of snow fell in a little more than a 36 hr period. We woke up on Saturday morning to crystal clear skies, soon the planes began to fill the skies. Everyone at base camp looking for a flight out spent the previous evening stomping out the run way for the planes. Still, when the planes landed it was obvious how deep the snow was for the planes. I think the pilots were getting faceshots, as the snow was hitting the windshields of the planes. We all arrived back in Talkeetna in the early afternoon, on Saturday.
The week consisted of lots of information being uploaded and downloaded to a very enthusiastic group of climbers. Us guides were very impressed with how much information this group of climbers soaked up. Topics covered a wide variety of mountain tactics, how to simply live comfortably in an environment that was cold and snowy, how to set up a camp, crevasse rescue, snow and ice anchors, climber responsibilities, avalanches and rescue, ice climbing and the list continues.
Everyone had a great time experiencing the Alaska range. Ideas have already been hatched for future trips to visit Little Switzerland, the Ruth Gorge or other objectives around the base camp area, from members of this group. Climbing around the Kahiltna base camp area offers a great experience for your first time to Alaska. Hopefully we will see you up here soon.
Everyone is on their way home now but memories will last a long time of this very special place.
Thanks again from Jason, Andres, Anne Gilbert and RMI
After a great training seminar in the Alaska Range and a few days waiting out the weather at Base Camp, RMI Guide Jason Thompson and team have returned to Talkeetna.
The team awoke to clear skies and anxiously awaited the sound of aircraft over head. They weren’t disappointed. Everyone is back in Talkeetna looking forward to warm showers and a meal they don’t have to make themselves. They will be transferring to Anchorage later this afternoon.
Congratulations on a safe and successful week!
Well the snow continues to pile up. Our storm board is reading 68 cm of snow in the past 36-hour period. The wind has been picking up, intensifying the storm. Turns out, this storm is a little bigger then they first thought.
We spent three hours this morning digging out our tents and the cook tent. We’re all staying busy here on the glacier, experiencing the other part of Alaska, the weather.
Well not too much else to report, hopefully we’ll be off the glacier sooner then later.
48 card deck! hilarious. i thought that only happened at my house. i can’t believe you are STHUCK! (christmas story) Brandi, am i seriously going to have to drink wine by myself in Anchorage tomorrow?!?!? stay warm. see you soon. i need to get back to packing… elizabeth
Posted by: elizabeth on 5/11/2012 at 10:38 pm
Good luck on the climb. Have fun walking up and down the runway at base camp. Been there and done that.
Posted by: Stephani on 5/11/2012 at 5:41 pm
There was about two feet of new snow last night at Kahiltna Base Camp. It is currently snowing and visibility is low. We are in standby mode and playing cards with our one set of 48 cards.
It turns out the little snow storm from yesterday is lasting into today. We are waiting for some clear weather and our flight off the glacier. The thunderous vibrations of avalanches somewhere off into the thick clouds are pretty cool canceling out the wind and the snow battering the tent. Everyone has had a great time, but most are ready for some beers.
Signing out from the land of positive vibrations.
On The Map
Hello once again. We went out to play today in the Alaska range. Our objective was Mt Frances which sits just north of the base camp. We are camping at 7,200 ft, Mt Frances sits at 10,450 ft. We left camp at 8 am in the cold morning air, the sun was just coming around the south buttress of Denali to touch the north buttress of Mt Hunter.
Our climbing involved a glacier approach via what some people refer to as rackets or otherwise snowshoes. We then transitioned into our crampons and went climbing up a super fun 1,200 ft chute. We climbed up steep snow surrounded by beautiful Alaskan granite and pitched things out a few times, where we gained the East ridge.
The views from the ridge and summit offered glimpses of some amazing features in the range. Masioli’s tower sticks out in plain site as does the south face of Denali.
Our problem today was that the views quickly disappeared. Some weather came in and it began to snow. We began our descent and five rappels later we were back on the glacier. Everyone did great and had a super fun time.
The plan is to fly off tomorrow back into Talkeetna.
A very successful trip up here in Alaska.
RMI Guide Jason Thompson
Oh Man! I was hoping for a phone call this evening!! Should I break out my “OUIJA BOARD??” (Beats a deck of 48 cards!) I will send some clear weather telepathically! Will be waiting! I love you Anthony!!!!
Posted by: Mary Kay on 5/11/2012 at 3:05 pm
I hope all is going ok. We want you to get home safe and sound!
Posted by: Kathy on 5/11/2012 at 11:11 am
Today was a good day.
Folks keep commenting on how this place keeps getting more stunning. With the new snow we have had recently, the contrast of the Alaskan Range with its freshly painted steep spines, flutes that glow in the alpine light and bright blue glacial ice glistening in the sun. I have to agree.
We have been waking up around seven each morning to some very chilly temperatures. Today camp was busy since some stable weather moved in and people took advantage of being out in it. We spent our entire day putting our skills to use. Everyone set up 6:1 crevasse rescue system simulating an actual crevasse fall of their climbing partner. We took a turn catching a fall, being lowered into the crevasse, and being the climber responsible for running the show. Everyone did very well and we were impressed.
After that we still had plenty of time left so we fixed some lines - ropes - and rappelled down into the crevasse where we transitioned into icicle climbing mode. I think a couple folks might have just acquired a new but expensive sport.
Now we are all chilling, making some pretty amazing quesadillas - the group contributions has allowed for some creative visions.
We’ll see what we get into tomorrow.
Good night from the land of the six hour sunset.
RMI Guide Jason Thompson
Just a question, is this the group with an Aussie by the name of Nick Coleman? Was hoping to keep tabs on his progress. Thank you
Posted by: Larry Bullock on 5/10/2012 at 7:40 am
Hi guys!! Being down in the crevasse sounds amazing!! I’m sad to miss that bit… I’m excited to get up there and join Brandi and Gilbert. I can’t wait to hear about the Kahiltna. Sheena just did a video report about McKinley for the class; not much personality came through until she talked about the farting that goes on at altitude. I’m sure there’s none of THAT going on. xooxoxoxoxo see you soon in gorgeous Alaska!! elizabitch. ps. great updates, Jason. Thanks!
Posted by: elizabeth on 5/10/2012 at 3:30 am
This morning we woke to more snow on the Kahiltna Glacier. Over 7 inches of snow fell over night and the snow continued throughout the day. The beauty of the Alaskan Range continues to impress us all.
Today’s training session involved the fitting topic of avalanches. We had avalanche rescue scenarios where we learned how to manage the scene of an accident, how to come up with a plan and how to execute that plan. During our time here on the glacier we have seen some very exciting and impressive Alaskan-sized avalanches, from a safe distance. We continued with our crevasse rescue technical skills training this afternoon. Everyone is grasping these concepts very well with an eagerness and excitement to learn.
We shall see what the weather brings us as that dictates so much of life in the mountains.
RMI Guide Jason Thompson
Yeah, by the looks of the picture, you are all sitting around basking in the sunshine! Speaking of cocktails, I just had 2 strawberry margaritas myself, Honey! Too bad you aren’t here to partake!(Are we allowed to talk dirty on this blog??!!!) LOL! Feeling a little frisky!!! Can’t wait to see you Baby! Big Hug!
Posted by: Mary Kay on 5/8/2012 at 5:52 pm
Great to hear you are all doing well playing in the snow. Jason, how about a group shot of the team so we know you aren’t all sitting in a hot spring somewhere with a cocktail? Actually, I am sure you all could use a hot spring and a cocktail (or 5) right about now. Have fun, be safe. Brady, we can’t wait to make fun of your beard and squeeze the juice out of you! xoxoxo Janie
Posted by: Jane O'Mara on 5/8/2012 at 4:45 pm
Once again we woke to a beautiful morning today at the base of Mt. McKinley. Our day has been filled with technical information. We have thoroughly covered rappelling, fixed line travel, self extrication from a crevasse, and reviewed our knots and anchor systems. We will continue to put these skills to good use when we implement them into crevasse rescue scenarios. The planes have been buzzing around basecamp today dropping climbers on the glacier. The climbing season is getting underway here in the Alaskan Range. It is super fun to be right in the middle of it all.
Until next time. The Alaskan Seminar is signing off.
Brady…Greetings to you as you gather all of this valuable information..Hope you are having fun and learning how to extricate yourself from crevasses!!! Love you, miss you, look forward to your return!!!
love, Mom &Dad;
Posted by: Nancy O'Mara on 5/7/2012 at 8:14 pm
Hello again from the SE fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. Temperatures have remained chilly at night around here. Although a brief period of snow yesterday afternoon brought in some slightly warmer temperatures.
Yesterday we walked underneath the north Buttress of Mt. Hunter as we traveled further up the SE fork for some training. The scenery was breathtaking. The weather has been splendid.
Today we all summitted the Control Tower. Some moderate glacier travel gave us access to a beautiful Alaska snow ridge to the top. Wonderful views of the Alaskan Range were had from the top.
Everyone has adjusted well to life on the glacier.
RMI Guide Jason Thompson
Hello from the Kahiltna Glacier! We woke to frigid temperatures on our first morning, with the temperatures reaching negative 25 F. Thankfully the sun came out to play and things quickly warmed up for us. We enjoyed our first day exploring the SE fork of the Kahiltna Glacier.
Everyone is doing great. We’ll check in soon.
RMI Guide Jason Thompson
Brandi and Gilbert!! I can’t wait to get up there with you! Ill bring some CA sunshine and see you in just a few days!! I got all of us girls coordinated pee bottles! Cheers! Xoxo
Posted by: elizabeth on 5/6/2012 at 10:43 am
Hi Daddy (Brady) just read Rosie’s visitors (book) now. Making a habitat out of a tree branch I will show u my habitat. Hope u r having a good time miss u love u bye COME HOME SOON
Mom & Dylan want PREZZIES mine is optional.
Posted by: Ellie O'Mara on 5/6/2012 at 9:05 am