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Entries By lacie smith

Denali Expedition: Wittmier & Team Take a Rest Day at 11,000ft Camp

Sunday, May 19, 2024 - 8:56 pm PT

Of Hypoxic Dreams, Luxury Items, and the Suspension of Olfactory Senses I was sitting at dinner, sipping a glass of aged Saperavi wine with a perfectly-cooked ribeye steak, describing to my friends an expedition up Denali. One of my friends then asked "so what happened after Camp 2?" I stared down into my glass and a panic set in: why couldn't I remember anything else of the trip? I shot awake, back to the reality of where I was: in a Trango 4 tent, at 11,000 feet, in the middle of the sunny night, cold, with my tent mates Chris & Ilya. There are still weeks to go. Our tent, tent 2, as it were (we have no idea which ones are 1 and 3, but we're in the middle, so we'll call it number 2), has been affectionately (or derogatorily?) referred to as the "manferno" and "the pile." And it was beginning to smell, as you might imagine after 6 days without showers, but the mind has a way of shutting out the involuntary gag reflex when confronted with fermenting sleeping bags, excessive sunscreen, and jambalaya in a confined space, heated by the nearly all-day sun.

Today was a rest day for the team, apart from a crampon refresher, to recuperate from the last few days of dragging sleds uphill, and to acclimate. A day to eat, and relax. In tent 2 today, we prepared a charcuterie board with various cheeses, meats, olives, chocolates, hot sauces, and crackers. The olives in particular added the missing ingredient in our mountaineering potpourri. With the aforementioned lack of breathable oxygen, you might even say that tent 2 is the perfect place to prepare for higher altitudes. Each of us finds solace with some small item to still feel human on days like today: a pillow, a paper book, or, in my case, an electric razor to avoid looking like a grizzly mountain hermit–at least from a distance, the smell would surely give it away up close.

Off we go tomorrow, crampons beating against the ice, sleds pulling on our backs, on to cache gear higher up to build the next pile.

RMI Climber Skyler Parkhurst

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

This team always seems to have the most creative posts. (Definitely have been getting a kick out of reading these every day.)

Posted by: Some guy from Puyallup on 5/20/2024 at 1:45 pm

A new literary classic is born- “The Manferno” by Skyler Parkhurst!

Love you, great job so far, and keep up the pace! Go team!

Posted by: Matt Milford on 5/20/2024 at 10:09 am

Denali Expedition: Wittmier and Team Turn it Up to Eleven

May 17, 2024 9:53PM PT

Well, I can't speak for the rest of my team, but my pictures are definitely not doing this place justice. I keep thinking about my sister, who's a professional photographer. She'd lose her mind over the views. (shameless plug - check her out at Alaska Light Photography). So far, the team has participated in some excellent bonding. We've covered important topics like the merits of various dinner bowls, pros and cons of carrying frozen carrots up 2,000 vertical feet, and what types of rare Pokémon would live up here. (Or is it Pokémen? Pokémon’s? Unknowable at 11,000 feet). Time and distance are different up here.  15 minutes can feel like 2 hours. The vastness of the terrain tricks the eye and a camp "just around the corner" is still an hour away. So, we take one step at a time, one breath at a time, and trust that every step is one step closer to the goal we’ve been working towards for months.
We’ll do it all over again tomorrow.

- Sarah and the Team 

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Climb Strong , Climb High Dustin and Team!!!
Farmer Dave

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 5/19/2024 at 3:29 am

Denali Expedition: Wittmier & Team Cache Gear at the Base of Ski Hill

Ever read or watch that movie about the guy that gets stuck on Mars? I thought it would be a good one to reread on Denali. You know crazy location, far away from civilization, intense weather. Somehow, I completely forgot about the bit where he was stuck for over a year. Too stressful to read in the tent, I think I'll switch to something lighter like Stephen Kings IT.

Luckily Denali and Mars can be quite different. Lots of white here on Denali (you'll likely recall that Mars is mostly a red color). We can also breathe the air without a spacesuit! Lucky us. Oh, and the views! I'd like to say that pictures don't do it justice, but they sometimes can capture some of the majesty. What they can't do is give you the awestruck feeling of watching an avalanche off in the distance, or the feeling of seeing the bluest blue coming from the frozen snowy waves of crevasses one hundred feet to either side of the trail. Quite striking.

At breakfast somehow, I'm already looking forward to dinner -- the guides, Dustin, Lacie, and Dan have been crushing breakfast and dinners. They've been crushing at the guiding too. Every suggestion or advice is gold, and we always know the plan for the following day clearly. Over breakfast a day ago I joked that in addition to being amazing guides they are also chefs and therapists. They joke that they are only somewhat adequate in the latter two. We all think they're quite exceptional at both.

Today we hoofed it to about 10k feet, buried some stuff, and made our way back to the base of ski hill. If the weather is good tomorrow, we’ll make an even longer trek out of our current camp. If it's not so good, we'll hang out here. I know which one my feet would prefer.

Да луны и обратна,

RMI Climber Ilya Dvilyanski

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Denali Expedition: Wittmier & Team Camped at Base of Ski Hill

Thursday, May 16, 2024 - 12:11 am

We are camped at the base of Ski Hill, planning to carry tomorrow.

RMI Guide Dustin Wittmier

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Denali Expedition: Wittmier & Team Arrive at Kahiltna Base Camp

Tuesday, May 14, 2024 - 9:44 pm PT

Hello everyone! It's been a hectic couple of days packing and prepping for flying on today. We arrived at Kahiltna Basecamp following a smooth and scenic ride from Talkeetna. The team spent the day acquainting themselves with life on the glacier and enjoying this beautiful place. Tomorrow we plan to head for the base of Ski Hill. Everyone still smells pretty good and we are feeling motivated to start moving.

RMI Guide Dustin Wittmier

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Sending you guys love from Portland. Jazzy says hi, Sarah! <3

Posted by: Hannah on 5/16/2024 at 3:52 pm


Way to go snookums, I couldn’t be more proud of you!  Keep up the great work!

With Love,
Your Aunt Bon Bon

Posted by: Aunt Bon Bon on 5/16/2024 at 6:21 am

Denali Expeditions: Wittmier & Team All Loaded Up and Ready to Fly

RMI's May 12th Denali Expedition led by RMI Guides Dustin Wittmier, Dan May and Lacie Smith have spent the last few days traveling to Talkeetna, Alaska, packing gear and weighing all the gear.  They are now at the K2 Aviation hangar and getting ready to fly to the Kahiltna Glacier and get this expedition started.

Good luck team!

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Good luck and Godspeed!

Posted by: Matt Milford on 5/15/2024 at 8:06 am

Hey Dustin! All the best to you and your team!!!
I ll be following you and sending thoughts of blue skies , calm winds and strong legs and lungs!!!
Farmer Dave

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 5/15/2024 at 3:45 am

Mt. Shuksan: Sulphide Glacier Team Summits

Summit Sulphide Glacier!

RMI Guide Seth Burns checked in today from the Summit of Mt. Shuksan. The team had a great day of climbing with light winds. Seth was also able to share these photos of the Team's training day and approch to camp.

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Congrats Kaitlan and whole team on the summit!

Posted by: Victoria and Stewart on 8/6/2023 at 2:41 pm

WOOO!! Amazing photos, thanks for sharing. congrats Kaitlan and the rest of the team!!!!

Posted by: Corey on 8/5/2023 at 11:10 am

Mt. Rainier: Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz Summit!

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz team led by RMI Guide Seth Burns reached the summit of Mt. Rainier early this morning. Seth reported clear skies and light winds on the summit. The Kautz route offers some of the most unique and advanced terrain. The team has spent the week preparing for their summit attempt honing their mountaineering skills such as snow & ice anchors, crevasse rescue, ice climbing, fixed line travel, belaying and other technical skills, before making a summit attempt from high camp.

Congratulations Team!

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Congratulations Nic Harkin on your summit today! Woo hoo! Well done

Posted by: Dianne Israel on 7/27/2023 at 2:56 pm

Mt. Rainier: Four Day Team on Top!

The Four Day Climb led by RMI Guide Avery Parrinello stood on Columbia Crest under clear skies early this morning. A team of RMI Guides worked tirelessly the last two days to ensure the route was safe and climbable for the many climbers on the Disappointment Cleaver Route. Their efforts did not go un-noticed as today's team was able to reach the 14,410' summit successfully.  The team is in route back to Camp Muir where they will pack up before descending to Paradise.

Congratulations Team! 

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Mt. Shuksan: Fisher Chimneys Team Reaches Summit

On Friday in the North Cascades, RMI Guide Steve Gately and team reached the summit of Mt. Shuksan via the Fisher Chimneys. The team spent their final night in the mountains at high camp near Winnie's Slide before descending to the trailhead.

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