Log In


Register With Us

    *required fields
    • Keep up to date with information about our latest climbs by joining our mailing list. Sign up and we'll keep you informed about new adventures, special offers, competitions, and news.


Check Availability

Check availability for a different party size


Check Availability

Entries By josh maggard

June 2, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Conclude Their Expedition

June 2, 2015 - 6:56 pm PT

The last few days of a trip always fly by. The summit, descent, and celebration in town all came together over the course of three days. Our summit day was spectacular, with blue, sunny skies, little wind, and balmy (0 degrees F) temps. We got up with the sun the next morning, which felt considerably colder, and packed our bags to descend. We originally planned to go as far as 11,200’ Camp, picking up our cache at 14,000’ along the way, but when we walked into 11k at 4.30 in the afternoon, and with plenty of energy to spare, we decided to keep the momentum rolling, rig sleds, and head to 7,600’ camp. The few hours of fighting with our sleds downhill proved well worth it. We got to camp at 8:30, where RMI Guides Geoff Schellens and Eric Frank with their Upper West Rib team were super nice and had stoves boiling for us already. We set a hasty camp since we were only going to be there for a few hours, and went to bed. We had our only real alpine start of the trip, waking at 2.30 am. The walk out the lower Kahiltna was one of the highlights of the trip. High thin clouds reflected the light of a not yet risen sun, and the alpenglow on the surrounding peaks burned a brilliant red. A wind at our backs pushed us towards Base Camp. The scene kept our eyes drifting to the sky, and it was impossible not to enjoy the walk despite the heavy packs and sleds. By 7:30 we were at the airstrip, ready for the first flights of the day to Talkeetna. In no time the incredible pilots from K2 descended in two Otters, we loaded the planes, and we were in town, taking in the scents of grass, flowers, and trees for the first time in weeks. We showered off the smell of 18 days on the mountain, and set about filling our bellies with something that we hadn’t carried on our backs. We spent the afternoon drying gear and packing bags for our inevitable separation, and then had a final celebration dinner at the West Rib, a restaurant that is synonymous with Mt. McKinley climbers. Now, we are beginning to part ways. Some of our climbers have left for Anchorage and flights home, while others are staying in Alaska for a bit longer, albeit as tourists. Jet boat adventures, bicycle tours, and road trips to the North side of the park all lie in the future. The guides will amuse ourselves tomorrow with some time on a boat, dropping lines for Halibut, before we also head South to the Mt. Rainier climbing season. The group did a spectacular job on the mountain, climbing smoothly and safely, and we were rewarded with a truly fine summit and 100% of our group on the summit. The guides thank the whole team for their efforts, laughs, and incredible chemistry; it was a really memorable trip for us as well! Thanks to everyone for following along. Now its off to a boat, where someone else baits the hook for us and the fish can’t help but bite!

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, Josh, and Team.

Well done Renee!! Amazing achievement.

Posted by: Michelle T VEC on 6/3/2015 at 11:58 pm

Wow Renee!! Congratulations!

You are an example to us all!

Posted by: Kelly T on 6/3/2015 at 6:37 pm

May 31, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Making Good Progress on Their Descent After Summit

Sunday, May 31st 1:54pm PDT

This afternoon our team descended to 14,200 feet. Once evening hits, we will continue our descent to either the McKinley camp at 11,200’ or 7,800’.  If we stay on schedule and pending the weather, we will be at the airstrip and ready for our flight back to Talkeetna by tomorrow afternoon.

We will be home soon!

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer

On The Map

Go Naie Naie! Enjoy the final climb down the mountain with team PJR! So happy for you all. You truly are an inspiration Renee. Tell Jord to buy you a nice beer and enjoy a hot shower.
Thinking of you always you bobby dazzler.
Love ya,
Sarah xxx

Posted by: Sarah on 6/1/2015 at 9:28 pm

Wooohooo the final countdown is on team PJR!!!
You are such a champion Renee, can’t wait to see your smiling face back in Melbourne again :) Bet you can’t wait for that cold beer, hot shower and a warm bed for a well earned snooze !!! You really rock the world little one :) xxxx Love you a bit ;)

Posted by: Paul on 6/1/2015 at 9:03 pm

May 30, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Summit!

Update Saturday, May 30th 8:30 pm PDT

Summit day! We decided to do something a bit unorthodox and wake up and leave early without the sunshine. Usually it would make for a really cold couple of hours, but the temperatures have been unseasonably balmy. It had the added advantage of getting us out ahead of several other teams that were heading for the summit also. The deviation worked out perfectly and we had a nice warm morning to walk, with no other teams in front of us. The skies stayed crystal blue all day, and 6 1/2 hours or so later, we were standing on the highest thing around! We had a good half hour on the summit, snapping pictures and taking it all in, before chilly breeze convinced us to head back for camp. We are back with plenty of time to brew up dinner and watch the later teams on their descent. It was a special day and everyone’s really excited. It was especially great to have the whole team make it to the top. Tomorrow we turn our sights downhill and start the journey home!

Pete, Robby, Josh and team

Saturday, May 30th 3:32 pm PDT

This is RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer calling in from the top of Mount McKinley in Alaska. We just touched the summit; it’s just past after 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Our group and Mike Walter’s group summited today in short order. It’s a really, really nice day up here—sunny, light winds, and relatively warm as far as Alaska goes. The whole team made it up. It was awesome, Really great day and everybody is excited. [cheers] We’ll give a shout when we’re back at 17k Camp safely and soon we’ll be back in Talkeetna before we know it, heading downhill. Alright, talk to everybody later.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer calls from the summit of Mt. McKinley.

On The Map

Awesome news - congratulations and I look forward to seeing some great summit pictures! Anna.

Posted by: Anna on 6/1/2015 at 5:20 am

Congrats, Brian!  All of us back home are very proud of you.  xoxo, Karen

Posted by: Karen on 5/31/2015 at 8:17 pm

May 30, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Pete Van Deventer & Team Ready for Summit Bid

Friday, May 29th 10:30 pm PDT

All according to plan! We woke up early this morning, packed everything up, left a bit of food and fuel in a hole at 14K, and headed up the fixed lines. We had another brilliant, sunny, calm day on the West Buttress, and were in camp at 17K by mid afternoon. A couple of hours of work leveling tent sites and building walls got us set to be here. The forecast looks good for tomorrow, so we intend to head for the summit in the morning. We’ll hope to be reporting success tomorrow evening! But now, to bed so that we’re ready to go.

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Maggard, and team

On The Map

Great photos and updates. Very exciting to read. Cannot imagine what the team is experiencing. So much fun. Brian… would love to hear all about the experience once you get back. Best of luck for the next phase. Send photos from the summit.

Posted by: Faisal M on 5/30/2015 at 3:39 pm



Posted by: Lori on 5/30/2015 at 3:31 pm

May 29, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team take a Well Earned Rest Day

May 28, 2015 11:34pm PST

After a big day yesterday, we took it easy today to rest up for a forthcoming summit push. We woke late and enjoyed a breakfast of eggs, bacon; and hash browns which stretched into afternoon. A few hours of sorting gear, napping, and reading led into a dinner of quesadillas. Unfortunately, the meat department may be getting low… From here on out its freeze dried dinners, ramen, and oatmeal. With that in mind we savored the fresh food, and wrapped up small details for tomorrow. Everything seems to be lining up for us to move to high camp tomorrow. We’ll wake early, beat the sun out of camp, and take our second stroll along the West Buttress. Everybody is excited and fired up.

Keep your fingers crossed for us!

RMI Guides
Pete, Josh, Robby, and Team

Hi Renee and Team,
I’m so excited for you all, what an amazing journey!!
Looking forward to more news and I am so proud of you Renee.
The Summit awaits…
Keep safe .. love you heaps….. hope you see the plane overhead with Jordy in it :)
Arna ( Jordan’s Mum)

Posted by: ARNA TELFORD on 5/30/2015 at 1:01 am

Good luck team Pete !!! Can’t wait for your next post.
Matt sounds like you are having awesome weather we all hope it keeps up for your last push, we are all praying for a safe journey, I miss you bunches.  Keep up the good spirit our fingers are crossed for all of you. Everyone can’t wait for me to tell them how far you all are. Sounds like everyone is fired up and ready for the next push ! Till the next post be safe careful We love you :>)
Mom xo

Posted by: Terri on 5/29/2015 at 6:53 pm

May 28, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer and Team Carry to High Camp

Thursday, May 28th 3:49 am PDT

After so many posts about waiting for weather, this one is different. We headed for the fixed lines this morning under clear, sunny skies. The day turned into the nicest that Robby, Josh, or I have ever had on the West Buttress—warm and without a breathe of wind. Because the weather was so nice, the climbing conditions so perfect, and the group climbing so well, we decided to push all of the way to 17 Camp and leave our cache there. The climbing on the Buttress is some of the best of the entire route, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the huge views, interesting climbing, and the accomplishment of getting it done. It was a big day, just under 10 hours round trip, so everyone is knackered but elated, and we will more than likely sleep in and take a rest day tomorrow.

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, Josh, and team

On The Map

Matt thanks to you and your team for all the updates.  This has been so exciting to follow you and your team Pete on your blog.  This is the day you all have been waiting for the perfect weather to climb to the top.  Congrats and take lots of pictures to share with us all.  We are all praying for your perfect climb.  Rest and drink lots of water. Be safe and we love. I’m so proud of you.

Auntie Marilyn

Posted by: marilyn collura on 5/29/2015 at 4:47 pm

Pete thanks for the updates, fun to follow along.  Brian, following along, hope to see a post that you made Camp 17 in the next day or so, best of luck to the whole team!.

Posted by: Oscar Berke on 5/29/2015 at 9:32 am

May 27, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Check out the Views from the Edge of the World

May 26, 2015 - 11:13 pm PT

We woke to a swirling cloud cap above, that left little doubt that it was unpleasant in the West Buttress. We decided to wait the day yet again and see what tomorrow brings. We did take advantage of a break in the clouds to walk to the “Edge of the World’, where Genet Basin drops almost 7,000 feet to the Northeast fork of the Kahiltna. The views from here are unsurpassed and everyone took turns being belayed out to the edge to snap photos. We’ll give another shot at caching on the buttress tomorrow. We’ll let you know how it goes.

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Maggard, and team

On The Map

Incredible photo!!, well done to all. Feels like you’ve been gone for a lot longer than 18 days renee, I’m sure it feels like a long time for you also :) , have been keeping an eye on your teams progress and letting everyone know updates including nan ron. she misses you like we all do but we are all incredibly proud and pumped for you to accomplish your goal! Cant wait to chat all about your trip. stay safe, loads of love xxx love leigh.

Posted by: Leigh on 5/28/2015 at 4:52 am

Team PRJ… wow sounds like mother nature is flexing her muscles. Hope you are keeping warm and well fed… especially Renee. I miss you so much! Work is not the same without you here! Each morning I read the blog to Cam in the car on the way to work… he is so impressed with your progress and is sending you his love and best wishes. Its Thursday arvo here in Oz and I have just had lovely Kenny’s for lunch (jealous much.. hahahaha) and Paul baked a Banana Cake (which will never be as good as Cameron’s let’s be honest) I hope that you are getting all these messages of support and cannot wait to get an email from you when you are off the mountain. Love you lots hunny bunny… stay strong, the final stages are now in your reach! Love Kath & Cam xxxx

Posted by: Kathy on 5/27/2015 at 9:28 pm

May 26, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Retrieve Cache, Ready for Carry

May 26, 2015 - 12:17 am PT

Just like Johnny Cash said, “that train keeps a rollin’.” The winds were down, a cloud of sparkling ice crystals hung around, reflecting the sunlight and solar baking everything, and we returned to a dead calm Windy Corner to retrieve our cash. We are one step closer now with all of our food up here with us. The next step is to take a run at the fixed lines and cache some food in the West Buttress. To prepare, we spent the afternoon practicing with our ascenders and getting prepped for that potential carry tomorrow. Mac and cheese with bacon for dinner to fuel us tomorrow. We’ll hope to wake up with a green light to head up. For now, good night!

RMI Guides Pete, Robby, Josh, and team

On The Map

Go Renee. Am waiting with bated breath to hear you’re at the summit. I hope it’s as awesome as the views do far. I think all of the VEC are behind you babe. Good luck and much love xxxxx

Posted by: Glenda on 5/30/2015 at 1:46 am

Rennee you are doing not only us here at the VEC, but your family and more importantly yourself proud ! Everyone is 100% right behind you all the way my friend :)
Thanks to the rest of the team for looking after our little Duvo ! Great photo’s and updates !
Onwards and upwards all :)

Posted by: Paul your GOD Webbyyyyy on 5/26/2015 at 9:23 pm

May 25, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Hoping for Better Weather

May 24, 2015 - 9:30 pm PT

The wind and snow continued through the night and into today. We spent the night listening to the roar of a freight train of wind above us on the West Buttress. The max gust through camp, according to the NPS weather station was 52 mph. That wind and snow put a few holes in our posh tent, and knocked over a few walls, so we spent the morning stitching up holes and rebuilding walls. Otherwise we fared pretty well through the blizzard. This afternoon things started to subside, and by evening the sun was showing, sparkling off of the small snowflakes that are hanging in the air. Our hope is that that trend will carry through tomorrow, and we’ll have the visibility to head back down and retrieve our cache from Windy Corner. Fingers crossed. The change in weather has also caused a change in the general mood of camp, and we’re listening to laughing, joking, jovial voices all over camp. We’ll let you know how things go tomorrow.

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Josh Maggard, Robby Young, and team

On The Map

Hi Renee and team! I have my fingers and toes crossed for the weather to continue to improve - keep up the mac ‘n cheese consumption and look forward to the climb ahead! Cheers, Anna.

Posted by: Anna on 5/26/2015 at 6:02 pm

Jon, guides and team,
Sorry to read that you were pounded by the wind and snow but glad that all of you are safe and survived the blizzard.  Hopefully tomorrow will bring you better weather.
Stay safe and healthy.

Posted by: Kemai on 5/25/2015 at 10:55 pm

May 24, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Van Deventer & Team Waiting at 14,200 ft Camp

May 24, 2015 - 9:32 am PT

Winter has come to Denali. We spent the night listening to snowflakes pelt the tent walls, interspersed with frequent tent shaking blasts of wind. As we stretched breakfast into a long brunch, the story didn’t change, so we decided to focus our energy on building up our walls a bit more and solidifying camp rather than going to get our cache. The evening brought stronger snow, and a fresh forecast of more snow tomorrow and wind, so we’ll see how the plan for tomorrow shakes out. From the wintry white north,

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Robby Young, Josh Maggard, and team

On The Map

Hey all you Elves in winter wonderland. Looks like Santa Claus back yard.  Looks like few teams set up their camp there too.
Hope to hear you can get to your cache tomorrow and settle.
Hope you nice and warm and well Renee.
Soldier on.
Thanks for the pic team PRJ.
All the best.
Love you lots Renee. Mama xx

Posted by: Lori on 5/24/2015 at 4:42 pm

Glad Team Pete made it in time before the weather turn wintry good idea to stay put. Sorry to hear weather has not been cooperating hopefully it will be better soon less wind would be awesome. We are all pulling for team Pete.
Matt stay warm and use sunscreen once a mom always a mom lol. Dad and I finally put new plants and flowers across from the mailbox it looks really nice Michael finished with the sprinkler. Everyone in Cali prays for your safety, good health and cooperative weather.
Have a goodnight sleep till the next update be safe and warm
love mom ox

Posted by: Terri on 5/24/2015 at 4:41 pm

Next Page

Back to Top

Sign up for our Newsletter

    *required fields
    • Keep up to date with information about our latest climbs by joining our mailing list. Sign up and we'll keep you informed about new adventures, special offers, competitions, and news.
      privacy policy

Thank you for subscribing to the RMI Expeditions Newsletter!

While you're at it, you can sign up some of our other mailings as well:

Please choose the programs you'd like updates on: