Entries By kel rossiter

Mt. Rainier: June 27th - UPDATE

Posted by: Win Whittaker, Mike Uchal, Alex Barber, Kel Rossiter, Leah Fisher, Billy Haas | June 27, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 11,200'

The Four Day Summit Climb Team led by Win Whittaker and Kel Rossiter climbed to Ingraham Flats this morning (11,200’), but due to snow, high winds, and poor visibility they were unable to reach the summit of Mt. Rainier.  The entire team is safely back at Camp Muir and will be starting their descent back to RMI BaseCamp shortly.

Congratulations to today’s Team!

RMI's Four Day Summit Climb Team en route to Camp Muir June 26, 2014

John and Beth - you two are rock stars in my book!  Congratulations on giving it your best shot!!!

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Posted by: Jlo on 6/27/2014 at 10:51 am

Chris/Brooke, still a kick butt accomplishment!!!  Can’t wait to see the pictures!

Love, Leonard

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Posted by: Leonard on 6/27/2014 at 9:52 am

Mt. Rainier: June 21st Update

Posted by: Kel Rossiter, Zeb Blais | June 21, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

At 7:20 a.m. PT the Mount Rainier Four Day Summit Climbs led by Kel Rossiter and Zeb Blais were just about to crest the crater rim. They reported 10 mph winds from the north and perfectly blue skies. 

Congratulations to today’s summit climb teams!

RMI Guide Kel Rossiter cresting the Mt. Rainier crater rim. Photo: RMI Collection

Just want to acknowledge the great experience we had with our RMI guides. Zeb, Christina and Nick were absolute aces guiding us to the top. They were spot on from… read more

Posted by: Tom on 7/1/2014 at 4:08 pm

Yay, Daddy!  Did you have fun?
Love, Lilia and Nina

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Posted by: Nina and Lilia on 6/21/2014 at 9:25 am

Mt. Rainier: June 1st Summit Climb Update

Posted by: Kel Rossiter, Mark Falender | June 01, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Four Day Summit Climb led by Kel Rossiter and the Five Day Summit Climb led by Mark Falender reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning.  Kel reported calm and sunny conditions, a beautiful day on top.  They are descending back to Camp Muir and we look forward to welcoming them back in Ashford later this afternoon.

RMI Guide Kel Rossiter cresting the Mt. Rainier crater rim. Photo: RMI Collection

Wonderful that the weather has cleared for the top-out.  We received a note early yesterday from Alysse that all was well—that was important!  Thanks and we will see and talk… read more

Posted by: Bill Rossiter on 6/1/2014 at 1:48 pm

Mt. Rainier: May 19th Summit!

Posted by: Tyler Jones, Kel Rossiter, Ben Liken, Katie Bono, Sean Collon | May 19, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guides Tyler Jones and Kel Rossiter stood on top of Mt. Rainier this morning!  The teams enjoyed calm and warm conditions while on the summit and are making their way back to Camp Muir.  We will see them back in Ashford later today.


RMI Climbers ascending the upper mountain. Photo: JJ Justman

Mt. Rainier: May 16th Summit!

Posted by: Kel Rossiter, Katie Bono, Andy Hildebrand, JJ Justman | May 16, 2014
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Five Day Summit Climb team led by Kel Rossiter reached the Summit of Mt. Rainier this morning.  The team will spend some time on the summit this morning before making their way back to Camp Muir.

Congratulations to Today’s Team!

Climbers at Sunrise. RMI Photo Collection

We are cheering from Portland for Mike and the whole gang!
Randa, Leslee, Marianne, Lorena, Tammy, Florence, Kelsey, Sara, Lisa, Jennifer and Cindy

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Posted by: Randa on 5/16/2014 at 9:34 am

RMI Guide Kel Rossiter Passes his AMGA Alpine Guide Exam

Posted by: Kel Rossiter | November 25, 2013
Categories: *Guide News *Guide Grant

“You can’t win if you don’t play” is dubious encouragement often doled out by Las Vegas casinos and the like—but it is solid counsel in the world of alpine climbing.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve plodded through a milk puddle of clouds on the Muir Snowfield only to rise above it all upon reaching Camp Muir.  Indeed, even in the face of slim weather odds, you’ve got to at least put yourself into position for success and be ready to maximize it should those slim odds work in your favor.  Time and time again that alpine advice held true during my recent American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) Alpine Guide Exam (AGE). 

Arriving in Seattle in mid-September for my 10-day AGE, I stared at the bright screen of my smart phone and steeled myself for the grim weather forecast it proposed…my First Ascent BC-200 had seen me through many a maelstrom on Rainier, but ten days of that?  Like any climber of peaks like Rainier, Denali, Cotopaxi, or Orizaba, the wheels on this particular bus had been set in motion many, many months before and there was far too much invested to pull it over to the side of the road due simply to predictions of a deluge.  The AMGA is the premier training path for America’s professional climbing guides and the 10-day AGE is the culminating exam that guides take in order to become Certified Alpine Guides.  Along the way toward that test, hopefuls must first take a 10-day Rock Instructor Course, a 9-day Alpine Guides Course, a 5-day Ice Instructor Course, an 8-day Advanced Alpine Guides Course, a 3-day Alpine Aspirant Exam, a 6-day American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education Level 3 Course and Exam, and a then—finally—the 10-day Alpine Guide Exam. 

In case you weren’t counting, that’s 41 days of training in all—and that doesn’t even begin to include the climbing resume you have to develop in between courses.  All in all, that’s a triple wallop of a lot of tuition, a lot of travel costs, and a lot of opportunity costs in the form of lost wages.  Fortunately—and very, very thankfully—RMI, Whittaker Mountaineering, and Eddie Bauer/First Ascent helped to take some of the sting out of the tuition costs, but that aside, there was still no way I was going to let a grim weather forecast rain on my parade!  Now the only problem was: “Would the grim weather forecast rain on the whole AGE parade?”  You see, in order for an AGE to be valid, the examiners need to see you in a variety of terrain and situations—and if the weather doesn’t allow those windows to open…

RMI Guide Kel Rossiter training for his Alpine Guide Exam on the Northwest Face of Forbidden.

Fortunately, time and time again, in the face of doom, gloom, cats, and dogs we put ourselves into position for success and just barely, and just somehow, squeaked it out. For the first few days we enjoyed the relative “rain shadow” that the Washington Pass area of the North Cascades provides.  Washington Pass doesn’t allow for glacial travel though—an integral part of the AGE—so after two days we had to leave that safe harbor for the shores of Mt. Shuksan.  We arrived in the Lake Ann/Fisher Chimneys trailhead in a steady drizzle.  By the time we packed up, things had improved, but the rest of the day was something of an ongoing “fashion show” as we put on a rain shell, took it off, added a warmth layer, and tried to predict what the weather would look like in five minutes.  And in the backs of our minds all imagined how things might unfold.  Happily, we were most certainly rewarded for our efforts:  By the time we topped out on Fisher Chimneys and rolled into our bivvy site, we were high above the roiling sea of grey valley clouds.  So often it’s the case on Mount Rainier that we’ll radio down to Ashford and hear that they’re thick in the rain while up at Camp Muir we’re above it all.  Such was the case on Shuksan, and the next day we managed to circumnavigate the Upper Curtis, Sulphide, and Crystal Glaciers and climb the summit massif’s Northeast Ridge—my first time doing that particular route and highly recommended!

As the forecast shifted from grim to grimmer, we again decided to head over to Washington Pass.  Driving over Highway 20 toward our meeting point at the Cutthroat Peak trailhead, my windshield wipers clicked a steady rhythm in time with the electronic music I was listening to to try to psych myself up.  I arrived early at the trailhead and the rain continued.  I cranked more psych music as I attempted some gear-sorting-inside-the-car-yoga poses.  Then, miraculously, it began to clear.  Not the swift and sure kind of clear that let’s you know a new weather attitude is on the way—more like the resistant backing away of an angry dog that’s just been called by it’s owner, but enough to make a climb seem viable.  We racked up, packed up, and headed for Cutthroat Peak’s South Buttress.  While it is true that “you can’t win if you don’t play”, it’s also true that it’s a bad idea to climb yourself so far up an objective that retreat becomes untenable.  Fortunately, the South Buttress offers plenty of bail options, so with one eye on the clouds and the other on my rope coils, we moved upward, steadily gaining another plum Cascade peak.

By then, we’d heard reports from a group of Advanced Alpine Guide Course participants that the Boston Basin area (home to West Ridge of Forbidden, Torment-Forbidden Traverse, Sharkfin Tower, and Sahale Peak, among others) had already received six inches of the new winter’s snow.  Fresh snow poses it’s own set of problems in the alpine world, but deciding that fresh snow was more palatable than dealing with the reported dousing on the way, so up we went!

These days, I’m climbing on snow for at least a part of almost every month of the year, but it’s not often I’m dealing with fresh snow in September.  Skis or snowshoes weren’t a part of our packing list, so lift-kick-step-sink-lift was the interminable process as we moved up through the now 10 inches of fresh snow covering the Quien Sabe Glacier.  A circumnavigation/summit of Sahale Peak was our goal, and we eyed the valley clouds warily as we proceeded in dogged pursuit.  Soon the clouds enveloped us and in between breaks we attempted to plot the best path ahead.  After some steep, snow-laden slopes, a bergschrund crossing, and the final rocky summit scramble we were on top of our last AGE objective, Sahale Peak!

Breaking through the clouds on Sahale during RMI Guide Kel Rossiter's Alpine Guide Exam.

By day’s end I was back in a Bellingham motel room, enjoying the comforts of a shower, eat-in Thai Food, and 581 channels.  On every weather channel, stoic looking forecasters delivered the report with the delicacy of a cancer ward counselor:  the patient’s condition was not improving.  I spooned the last bit of tofu out of my box of green curry and grinned:  For the last ten days we’d prevailed in the face of such gloom and doom forecasts, and now, with the AGE wrapped up I was much more than just a survivor, I was finally an AMGA Certified Alpine Guide!

RMI Guide Kel Rossiter on his Alpine Guide Exam.

Achieving AMGA Alpine Guide Certification only occurred through a lot of support.  Thanks to RMI/Whittaker Mountaineering/Eddie Bauer-First Ascent for their solid support of guide professional development.  Thanks to all of the RMI guides who, through their sharing of skills, techniques, and approaches, have honed my own alpine guide skills; and particular gratitude to Andres Marin, Geoff Schellens, Jake Beren, Levi Kepsel, Eric Frank, Leon Davis, Elias De Andres Martos, and Rob Montague who shared with me their time and talents in the field as I worked toward this goal.

- RMI Guide Kel Rossiter


RMI Guide Kel Rossiter trains for his Alpine Guide Exam on the Northwest Face of Forbidden. Breaking through the clouds during RMI Guide Kel Rossiter's Alpine Guide Exam. RMI Guide Kel Rossiter during his Alpine Guide Exam. Fresh snow on the way to Sahale Peak.

Congrats Kel!! Photos look awesome!! I will be back to Rainier in 2014, this time in August and determined to make the summit.

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Posted by: Scott Cadman on 11/26/2013 at 7:20 am

Mt. Rainier: June 28th Update

Posted by: Brent Okita, Kel Rossiter | June 28, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 12,700'

The Four Day Summit Climbs led by RMI Guide Brent Okita & Kel Rossiter were forced to turn this morning due to avalanche danger.  The teams reached 12,700’ on Mt. Rainier before turning around.

Brent radioed in at 6:44 am as the teams were taking a rest break at the top of Disappointment Cleaver in white out conditions.  They will continue to Camp Muir to repack and rest before continuing their descent to Paradise later this morning.

An RMI Team taking a break on Mt. Rainier.  Photo: Seth Waterfall

Mt. Rainier: June 23rd Update

Posted by: JJ Justman, Kel Rossiter | June 23, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

Summit!  The Mt. Rainier Four Day Summit Climbs led by JJ Justman and Kel Rossiter stood on top just after 7:15 a.m.  Snow and sometimes rain was falling on the summit and the teams are currently in a mountain cloud cap.  Both teams recharged and refueled in the summit crater before starting their descent at 8:25. Although precipitation was falling, the guides reported pleasant climbing conditions and an excellent route.

Congratulations to today’s summit climbers!

RMI climbers on upper mountain ascending through fog. Photo: Ed Viesturs

A big congrats Gautam!Gritty G! Proud of you.

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Posted by: Bhaktha on 6/29/2013 at 8:16 am

Congratulations Gautam!!

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Posted by: Mahadev on 6/26/2013 at 8:40 am

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Continue Descent with Stop at 11K Camp

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Kel Rossiter | May 31, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 11,200'

Thursday, May 30, 2013
Hey everyone, this is Billy. I’m checking in here with our group. We are at 11,000’ part way through our descent.  After our big summit day yesterday, we packed up our camp at 17,000’ and then moved on down. Brent Okita’s crew was kind enough to cook us up some dinner at the 14K Camp, and we continued on down to 11,000’, where the crew is all, actually snug as a bug, in their sleeping bags out in the open because it is so warm compared to where we’ve been living. We plan on getting up in the middle the night tonight and making a run for the airstrip hoping to get a flight off tomorrow sometime before the weather takes a turn for the worst.  We’ll give a shout when we reach Basecamp. That’s all for now.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

Looking up from 11K Camp. Photo: Katy Reid

Billy Nugent calls in from 11,000 feet Camp.

On The Map

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Pryor, just found this website.  Glad you made it.  Must have been awesome.  Looking forward to a cal when you get down.  Love you.

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Posted by: Finley and Karen Nunn on 6/1/2013 at 10:05 am

So proud of you Pryor!  Great job!

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Posted by: Kristen on 5/31/2013 at 12:20 pm

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Summit!

Posted by: Billy Nugent, Kel Rossiter | May 30, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 20,320'

Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 10:41 a.m. PT
Hi, this is Billy checking in. We are back in camp safe and sound from our successful summit bid. We got 100% of our team to the summit of Mount McKinley today, aka Denali. We are back in camp. Everyone’s hanging out, rehydrating, eating some delicious freeze-dried meals, and hopefully going to get a great night’s sleep before we gear up to head down and head home. And that’s all for now. We’ll check in again as our descent continues.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

RMI Climber on the summit ridge of Mt. McKinley. Photo: RMI Collection On the summit of Mt. McKinley May 30, 2013.  Photo: Billy Nugent

Billy Nugent calls in from High Camp after successful summit.

On The Map

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Finally, boss!!  Would you go ahead and come home now?!? - there’s work to be done…  Oh yeah, and congrats!

-Dr. Harms’ snarky resident with abandonment issues

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Posted by: Emily on 5/31/2013 at 6:52 pm

Congratulations, Craig and team! Absolutely fantastic!

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Posted by: Ted on 5/31/2013 at 7:11 am

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