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Entries By leah fisher

May 30, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team’s Good Living at 14,200’

May 30, 2014 - 11:12 pm PT

The view from the vestibule this morning was not what I’d have called heartening. Clouds and snow dominated the picture, adding visual texture to the soft but incessant howl of the winds coming from the Buttress above. We could still see most of the landmarks around camp, but in the shadow of the early morning it didn’t look promising for our carry. So, after talking with Leah and Nick, I happily crawled back into my warm sack.

We later awoke at the more reasonable hour of 9:00 to get the stoves fired up and start our day. No one complained about not climbing. I think having a real rest day was welcome by all.

So what do we do on these days? First of all, we hang out in the Posh an extra hour or two, then we cut a few snow blocks to further reinforce the walls we built around our tents yesterday. It was impressive seeing the team rally and build some really good walls. I think everyone was feeling good and happy to be doing something. Twelve hours in a tent can do that to a person.
But a rest day is a rest day and some good tent time is a must. A group was playing an animated game of BS next door to us in the Posh. Others were catching up on things on the radio. Naps are never a bad thing, and in this tent a few games of cribbage were contested.  We even got in a bit of rope craft review and knot tying practice. 

Such is life for the climber hanging out at 14,200’ waiting for Mother Nature to offer us a little friendlier weather to continue our climb up the flanks of one of her most beautiful mountain creations.
We’re all doing well and happily waiting this little set back out.

RMI Guides Brent, Leah and Nick

Proud of you dad, hope you make it all the way to the top. Make it count. Get ready for some seriously hot and humid weather back in Jupiter.
Love you.

Posted by: Ali on 6/1/2014 at 10:25 am

Hope you are doing well.Love seeing the blogs and your progress. I Love& miss you.Girls are doing good.It’s been a good trip here so far. Who knew that the girls like to fish.Scottie has taken them fishing a lot.You calling me on my birthday made my day.I had so much more to say.Love you.Good night.

Posted by: Robin Wagner on 6/1/2014 at 2:28 am

May 30, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Settle in at 14,200’ Camp

May 29, 2014 - 11:07 pm

The team got through their first night here at 14,200’ in splendid shape. Most actually got their best nights sleep of the trip.

Although we got a few extra winks of sleep this morning,  we got up early enough to pick up our cache at 13,500’ and were back before noon. This allowed us plenty of time to get in some training before we hopefully make a carry up the fixed ropes and finally on to the West Buttress, the namesake of our route up Denali.
But before we could call it a day and enjoy some quality time relaxing in the tents, we built a ‘proper’ latrine complete with high walls to protect us from the wind and blowing snow. These walls do double duty to afford us some much appreciated privacy as well.
Walls were also built up around our tents, which will be of huge benefit if the forecasted winds appear tonight.
We’d like to end with a parting shout out to three generations of Greg’s family celebrating their birthday today. Happy Birthday Sarah, Robin and Ken!

Good night everyone.

RMI Guides Brent, Leah and Nick

On The Map

Sounds like you’re making good progress, staying rested, full, warm and safe. Well done team. My compliments to all. We love you and we’re all cheering you on. Dad, Nicole, Frank, Emma and Baby Jake.

Posted by: Nick Boekenoogen on 6/16/2014 at 5:32 am


Tell Rick Popp that we have been keeping track of the blog from time to time and that all the HTK killers are rooting him on.  Things are good at home and we are all looking forward to his return.

Keith and Liz

Posted by: Keith Wilson on 5/30/2014 at 9:02 am

May 29, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Reach 14,200’ Camp

May 28, 2014 - 10:33 pm PT

Evaluating the weather at 6:20 this morning from the vestibule of our tent I saw a somewhat similar scene to what I saw yesterday. With one exception. A little lightness shining through the clouds to the north. Faint in the early morning light, but there it was. So with that small glimmer of hope that the weather might cooperate for us today, we set the wheels in motion. Stoves were fired up and the call to wake up made. Still uncertain if the weather would improve enough, we held off packing up the tents until last.
But finally the clouds parted enough to give us the confidence to head to 14,200’ camp. We could see the sun about 1,000’ above the clouds we were in. Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t want to make it too easy and threw some gusty winds our way on Squirrel Hill. It seemed like the weather might be changing, but everyone was climbing well so we persevered and by the time we got above that hill, things had mellowed out. Even Windy Corner wasn’t too bad.
We eventually made it to camp at 14,200’ where the sun was out and it was warm and pleasant. To make things even nicer, we were greeted by the RMI group ahead of us who were camped there. Led by Pete Van Deventer, the whole team came out to lend us a hand getting camp set up.

Everybody had great appetites at dinner, a good sign given that we had just moved 3,000’ to our higher camp. It was a tired, but very happy team that put down bowl after bowl of Ramen tonight.

We’re all ecstatic to be here tonight, and I couldn’t be prouder of how the team climbed today.
Well, it’s about time that I hit the sack as well.

RMI Guides Brent, Leah and Nick

On The Map

Daniel and Team: Great job guys!!! We were hoping the weather would be on your side finally and it was. So proud of you all for making it to 14,200. Beautiful pics! Love you/ Mom & Rob

Posted by: Lena Akerman on 5/30/2014 at 5:16 am

Bon courage ! Nous vous souhaitons, Mathieu et moi de la belle temperature pour les jours a venir. Bonjour a Brent et Robby, nous lisons vos messages tous les jours.


Posted by: Genevieve on 5/29/2014 at 9:11 pm

May 27, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Have Wind, Snow, Wind and Some Relax Time

May 27, 2014 - 7:08 pm PT

Hearing light snow hitting the fly of our tent this morning prepared us for the possibility that today might finally be the day that stopped our upward progress on the mountain. Very light snowfall coupled with wind and clouds were part of the view from our vestibule. Neither the best nor the worst weather Denali has to offer, so we decided to get up and at least have breakfast while we waited to see if the day might take a turn for the better.
Over a breakfast that would rival the best your local greasy spoon could offer, the outlook for the day became ever more apparent, we were going to enjoy our first rest/storm day. That no one really voiced any complaint reflected the shared sentiment that we were all ready for a break from the constant pace of the trip so far.

Following our breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and hash browns, we set to explore and debate many of the world’s challenges and recount some of our personal histories. Of course, such heady conversation, fueled as it was by caffeine and unexpectedly unused climbing energy, soon left even the strongest of us deserting our Posh House tent for the cozy comfort of our tents and sleeping bags. And so has passed our day, playings cards, reading, listening to music, and just plain relaxing.

Life is great!

RMI Guide Brent Okita

On The Map

Be safe everyone. Enjoy the experience. Great to see your positive progress.

Posted by: Mark DiLucca on 5/29/2014 at 4:29 am

Dan A and Team,
I am enjoying watching your progress and am glad everything is going well. Stay safe and enjoy your journey. I look forward to seeing what tomorrow brings for you.

Posted by: Maria Martin Faires, RD on 5/28/2014 at 3:16 pm

May 27, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team Feeling Good!

May 26, 2014 - 10:46 pm PT

With just a little anxiousness about our carry up to 13,500’, the first real climbing of the trip, the team awoke early this morning to a pretty darned reasonable day. 7:00 AM at 11,200’ can certainly be chilly, and today was no exception. We washed down our oatmeal with some hot drinks to fortify ourselves for the big day, reviewing as we usually do some key points of the days.

Our climb of Motorcycle Hill was made before the sun hit the face, making for a chilly start to the day. But at the top we were rewarded with great views of the Northwest Buttress and Peter’s Glacier, not to mention the Alaskan tundra in the distance. Squirrel Hill followed and we found ourselves cramponing on perfect snow.

Conditions, in general, were quite nice all the way to our cache site at 13,500’. But what really struck us was how well the team was climbing. And how well everyone was feeling. Yeah, it was a good push for us, but we all took heart in having done well today. Our dinner of mac and cheese with loads of crumbled bacon stirred in hit the spot. There were no leftovers tonight. Cookies for dessert finished us off before we organized gear for tomorrow.

As for tomorrow ... As good as everybody is feeling, if the weather again cooperates, we might just move up to 14,200’ camp. Then, we’ll be ready for a couple of well deserved rest days.

We’ll see ...

RMI Guides Brent, Leah and Nick

On The Map

May 25, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

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

May 24, 2014 - 11:21 pm PT

Going to sleep last night we didn’t know exactly what morning would bring. The winds last night had picked up and was blowing spin-drift all around. We could hear the winds coming off Kahiltna Pass into the wee hours, but when we finally awoke and peeked out the vestibule of the tent we were happily surprised to find gloriously beautiful weather.

Our move up to our new camp couldn’t have gone better. The team crushed it! What a nice change from the loads we had making our single carries. Tomorrow we will head back down to our old camp to pick up the cache we buried there.

Getting in to camp at 1:30 this afternoon was almost like having half a rest day. We even built a ‘proper’ Posh House. This is a big shelter under which we cook and can all dine together. Tonight’s menu: Indian cuisine, served on a bed of rice and preceded by a tasty soup. Of course, this is always followed by an after dinner drink. Coffee, tea, hot cider or everyone’s favorite: hot cocoa.

Wish us luck on the weather front. It’s been good so far. But regardless of what happens, we’re sitting pretty right now and everyone is doing well and in good spirits.

A bientot from 11,200’ camp.

RMI Guides Brent, Leah and Nick

On The Map

You guys are doing awesome! We have been following the blog. Hope the weather is beautiful for you Nicky and Bob! <3 Jay and Cara!

Posted by: Cara Marton on 5/25/2014 at 4:43 pm

Hey Steven Hart, glad to hear all is going well! I have been following the blog daily.
Wishing you and the team good weather, be safe and enjoy. Hope the bites are helping with sustained energy as you climb McKinley. So impressive!

Posted by: Bianca on 5/25/2014 at 12:41 pm

May 24, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Okita and Team move to Camp 1

May 23, 2014 - 11:11pm PT

We awoke to wonderfully beautiful skies and not a hint of wind. What a nice reprieve to yesterday’s gauntlet with the persistent cold breeze that hit us head on all day. It was with this nice weather that we started our climb to our next camp. We knew that our loads would be heavy, but Ski Hill always manages to humble even the most fit of climbers. But try as it might to torture us with it’s deceptively constant grade, the team managed well and arrived at 9500’ with energy left over to build camp and get settled.

Our dinner of soup and burritos will hopefully sustain us for our next push: 11,200’ camp. Thankfully, today was the last of the huge loads we’ll be carrying as we plan on caching food, fuel and some personal gear here. We’ll pick this cache up the following day and bring it up to our camp at 11,200’. It’ll be nice to get to 11,200’ where we’ll finally be settled at the same camp for a number of days.

That’s the news from the Kahiltna Glacier these days.

RMI Guides Brent, Leah, Nick & Team

On The Map

Wishing the Team a save trip and a change to beautiful weather.

Leah’s Dad

Posted by: Leah's Dad on 5/28/2014 at 8:17 am

May 23, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Okita and team Fly onto Glacier

May 22, 2014 - 11:00 pm PT

Our day started great. Breakfast at the Roadhouse again and an early departure from Talkeetna, courtesy of the best air service in town: K2 Aviation. The first hint that conditions were not warm and pleasant came when we landed on some pretty hard snow. Then getting out of the plane we were hit by a chilly wind. But, everyone was excited to be on the mountain and we just put on a few more layers.

Our climb to camp went well, though we were challenged the whole day by that irritating and cold breeze. But that sure didn’t slow the team down any. Everyone really did well on this ordinarily difficult day with the heavy loads we were sporting. A quick dinner in bed and the team is now resting comfortably in their tents, getting ready for tomorrow and Ski Hill.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Leah and Nick who have been making sure that were all fed and ready for tomorrow. Wish us calm winds and more pleasant travels tomorrow. Goodnight from 7,800’ Camp on the Kahiltna Glacier.

RMI Guides Brent, Leah, Nick and the whole Team

On The Map

hi Dean and team ..
Seems like your nearing the goal we wish you good weather and soft winds to push you to the top mate .. Proud of you .. Be safe .. See when you get back .. We are keeping a close eye on ya ..
Martin and Karen and the boys .. Xx

Posted by: Martin & Karen on 6/1/2014 at 6:38 am

Dan -

Be safe and good luck!!  Keep your eyes open for my very good friend Bob Lowery also on Denali with RMI!

- Will Reed

Posted by: Will Reed on 5/30/2014 at 12:43 pm

May 21, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Okita and Team Busy in Talkeetna

May 21, 2014 - 7:12 pm PT
The day before flying on to the mountain is always an incredibly full day. At breakfast we discuss our expedition goals, strategy, schedule and everything else under the sun. This is followed up by our orientation with Denali National Park. And then on to the hangar of our air service where we spend half the day making certain we have everything we need to survive the weeks on the mountain. The other half of the day is spent putting this incredible amount of gear and food in some semblance of order so that when we actually fly on to the glacier we can pick up and go.
It’s been a long day, but one well spent. Tomorrow we’re all set for the flight on to the mountain. But tonight, a final dinner where we can relax with a burger and a beer. A well deserved treat after such a busy day, and one we’ll be dreaming of in the not to distant future.

RMI Guides Brent, Leah, and Nick

Great pics of the team! We are so proud of you Daniel and we follow you and your team every step of the way - to the top!!! Go, go, go….We love you! Mom & Rob

Posted by: Lena Akerman on 5/23/2014 at 7:13 am

Way to go Steve Hart!!  Good luck to you and the team - Speedy and safe climb!
A warm rehab room and a cold beer awaits your return!!

Brett and team

Posted by: Team Fairway on 5/23/2014 at 5:59 am

May 20, 2014

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Okita and Team Transfer to Talkeetna, Alaska

May 20, 2014 - 8:29 pm PT

We are closing in on Talkeetna enjoying the unseasonably warm weather, being driven by our shuttle driver Louisa. It’s nice to finally be all together and underway after so much anticipation and preparation.
No lost luggage or late planes. Now all we need to accomplish is to unload our gear at the hanger, check into our wonderfully quirky hotel run by our friends Pam and Al, before heading out for a bite and a beer or two.
If first impressions mean anything, I think were going to have a good time on this expedition.


RMI Guide Brent Okita

Go Dr. Bruce Terry!

Wishing you and your team good luck on your expedition!

Your Friends over at Lionville Dental Associates!

Posted by: Lionville Dental Associates, LLC Doctors and Staff on 5/28/2014 at 10:02 am

Have a great climb - it looks like a great group!

Posted by: susan scanlon on 5/24/2014 at 11:03 am

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