Entries By lindsay mann

Mountaineering Training | Focus on Footwork

Posted by: Lindsay Mann | August 05, 2013
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

Footwork and the ability to “read the terrain” to find the best footing is an important element of being able to climb safely and efficiently. During our Mountaineering Day School, our guides focus their efforts on teaching the “rest step”. The rest step is an important efficiency technique where climbers take small steps, pausing between steps with their weight on their back leg. This is a technique that enables climbers to get a “rest” with each step since their bodyweight is resting on their skeletal system instead of their muscles, effectively giving the legs a quick break. 

An important aspect to the rest step is paying attention to your footwork and deciding on your foot placement: finding the right place to set your foot so that you have full control while still benefiting from the small, efficient movements of the rest step. We commonly ask people to “climb with their eyes” by scanning the terrain and other climbers foot placements ahead to spot the best places to set their feet. Instead of getting fixated on only the next step, it is important to anticipate future terrain and foot placement. Thinking a few steps ahead allows you to see all of your options in front of you.

This is something that can be practiced before coming to climb Mt. Rainier or taking part in any of our climbs and expeditions. When going out on your training hikes, whether long or short, take the time to focus on your footwork. Ask yourself, “How big are my steps? Can I take a smaller step? Is there a better flat place for me to put my foot?” Constantly challenge yourself to find the easiest and most efficient foot placement with each step. Combining your focus on footwork with improvements to your balance and body awareness will give you an added measure of comfort, stability, and efficiency in the mountains, especially when you begin to tire. Remember that flexibility is an important part of footwork since you need to be comfortable in your foot placements even when the terrain is not perfectly flat or level. 

The more comfortable you can become with foot placement, reading terrain and climbing in balance, the less energy you will exert on longer hikes and climbs. Often times we get fixated on the immediate step in front of us. Instead, look ahead and challenge yourself to take small quick steps. By being aware of these footwork techniques on your training hikes will enable you to dance your way up the mountain on your climb!
Lindsay Mann is a Senior Guide at RMI Expeditions and a NCAA D1 Skiing Champion. She has climbed and guided around the world, from Peru to Alaska. Read about her recent sailing and ski mountaineering trip to Norway’s Lofoten Islands on the here.

Questions? Comments? Share your thoughts here on the RMI Blog!

RMI Climber Frank M. focuses on his footwork, Mt. McKinley, Alaska. Photo: Kel Rossiter.

Mt. Rainier: July 22nd Summit!

Posted by: Eric Frank, Lindsay Mann | July 22, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guides Eric Frank and Lindsay Mann reached the summit of Mt. Rainier around 6:30 a.m.  The teams spent about an hour on top enjoying what Eric describes as the “best morning all summer:” sunny and warm with light winds.  The teams will make their descent back to Camp Muir and will return to Ashford this afternoon.

Congratulations to today’s teams!

An RMI Team cresting the summit of Mt. Rainier.  Photo: RMI Collection

Mt. Rainier: July 17th Update

Posted by: Brent Okita, Lindsay Mann, Mike Haugen, Garrett Stevens | July 17, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 11,200'

The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guides Brent Okita & Lindsay Mann were unable to summit this morning due to a lightning storm.  The teams headed out of Camp Muir on two separate occasions but both times retreated to Camp Muir because of the weather.  They will descend from Camp Muir around 9 a.m.  We look forward to seeing the groups at Rainier BaseCamp this afternoon.

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz led by RMI Guide Mike Haugen reached the summit yesterday morning and returned to their high camp for a final night on the mountain.  This morning they are descending to Paradise and will return to Rainier BaseCamp.

RMI Guide Garrett Stevens and the Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise weathered the storm on the mountain last night in tents.  They will be drying out today and doing more training near their camp.  Tomorrow they will ascend to Camp Muir and get ready for their summit attempt.

Calm before the storm. Double rainbow over the Paradise Glacier. Photo: Garrett Stevens

Mt. Rainier: Update July 6th - Summit!

Posted by: Paul Maier, Lindsay Mann | July 06, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier
Elevation: 14,410'

The Mt. Rainier Four Day Summit Climbs led by Paul Maier and Lindsay Mann reached the summit at 6:30 a.m.  Both teams were able to enjoy the bluebird views for over an hour before beginning their descent at 7:50 a.m.

Congratulations to the summit climbers!

July 6th, 2013 - Mt. Rainier view from Paradise. July 6th, 2013 - Camp Muir views of Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens.

RMI Guides Lindsay Mann and Pete Van Deventer Sail and Ski in Norway’s Lofoten Islands

Posted by: Pete Van Deventer, Lindsay Mann | June 11, 2013
Categories: *Guide News

I climbed Mt. Rainier with my father last summer. After a memorable summit, my dad - a man of little words - expressed his confidence in my abilities as a mountain guide, a compliment I did not take lightly. He told me that he trusted my decision-making in the mountains and wanted me to be a part of his dream trip: combining his passion for the water and the mountains with a sailing and skiing trip in the Lofoten Islands of Norway.

I immediately approached fellow RMI Guide and good friend Pete Van Deventer to see if he was interested in joining the crew. Without hesitation Pete and his wife committed to the trip. Besides being a great climbing partner, Pete had spent time in Norway in college and was eager to return. Additionally, he suggested that we invite one of his Norwegian friends to accompany us. Magnus had already completed a similar trip and was able to offer great suggestions about boat charters and finding a competent captain for our voyage. The dream trip was starting to take shape.

After months of training and preparation, we headed to Norway in April. My dad and I flew to Oslo where we spent two days sightseeing before flying above the Arctic Circle to a fishing village on the west coast to meet our team. A few hours after arriving in Svolvaer, we heard ski bags rolling on pavement. Pete, Katie, Magnus and Maria, Magnus’ girlfriend, arrived at the boat and our seven-day adventure began!
The boat at dock.

The next morning we woke up to partly cloudy skies and the realization that a 44-foot sailboat is a tight space for ski gear, sailing gear, and eight people. After organizing our gear in waves, we left the boat with skis on our packs and walked toward a favorite local ski touring peak. Successfully navigating the Svolvaer neighborhoods, we finally reached snow. With climbing skins on our skis we began our ascent up the south side of a peak named Blåtind. Partway up the mountain, it began to rain and visibility dwindled. Too excited to turn back on our first day of ski touring, we decided to continue. A few minutes after reaching the saddle on Blåtind the sun came out and we focused our attention on a ski line on east side of the peak. The conditions were spring corn snow. After a close to 2,000’ descent we put our skins back on and toured along the water to the nearest road where we hailed a taxi back to the sailboat.

The following morning we set sail to the Trollfjord. The Trollfjord is an area accessible to skiers only by boat. With our sails up and Katie Van Deventer at the helm, we sailed to the entrance of the Trollfjord - a dauntingly narrow waterway surrounded by steep walls.  We docked amid howling winds and a mix of rain and snow. Reaching the TrollfjordHyatta, a cabin in the Norweigan Hut System, would have to wait until the next day.

We woke to improved weather and loaded our ski gear and a night’s worth of food onto the dock. The boat sailed away promising to return the following afternoon and we spent the morning skinning to the TrollfjordHyatta. The hut turned out to be a small majestic wooden cabin surrounded by peaks in every direction. Inspired by the mountains around us, we headed out to ski Peak 975. We had great views of our climb ahead and discussed our route and ski options. After an hour the terrain became too steep to skin. With skis on our packs, and clouds rolling in, we reached the top of Peak 975. Since the light was flat we used our bootpack to guide us as we skied down the same route we ascended. The visibility improved and we were reminded of the natural beauty of the Trollfjord. Taking advantage of the good weather we added a few laps to finish our day on a smaller peak just above the cabin. From there we could see the dramatic entrance to the Trollfjord and the unlimited ski options for the following day. The night in the hut was filled with wine, laughs, and Ludo, a Norweigan board game. In the morning we were able to get a few runs in on some steep north facing chutes before returning to dock where we met the boat.

The TrollfjordHyatta

Lindsay Mann touring into the TrollfjordHyatta.

As we sailed away, inspired by the endless quantity of peaks around us, we discussed the multitude of ski options for the day and remainder of the trip. The next few days were unlike any trip I have known. The terrain and sailboat allowed for ultimate flexibility. If the weather was good, we would ski; if the weather was marginal, we would set sail waiting for the conditions to change. Once we decided upon a peak the question then became: how do we get to shore?

This was often time and energy consuming. We would either dock the boat or, if that wasn’t an option, we would get ashore via dinghy. If we went by dinghy Frederik, our captain, shuttled us and our gear ashore while Iselin, the assistant captain, handled the sailboat. From the dock or shore we would skin or walk a few miles to a skiable peak, climb and ski it, and make our way back to the boat.  This sometimes meant walking, other times we were able to ski within a few hundred meters of the boat. Other times it meant taking a cab to where the boat was docked. Each day was a new adventure with a new set of options.

Taking the dinghy to shore

As the days passed, the weather improved and we finally had the perfect Norweigan ski descent on the last day of the trip. For the first time during our adventure we woke up to bluebird skies and decided to ski a peak called Storgalten. Upon reaching the top of the peak could see mountains, water, and our sailboat. Thrilled with the descent, Pete, Katie and Magnus celebrated it with a plunge into the fjord.  We then set sail back to Harstad, our final destination, with Storgalten still in view.  Weeks later, I’m still amazed by the diversity and accessibility of the terrain found in the Lofoten Islands. I have been lucky enough to ski and climb in mountains all over this world and this trip was truly unique. What made it all the more special to me was being able to share it with my father and a group of close friends that got along seamlessly on a 44-foot sailboat for seven days.

Pete Van Deventer skiing down Storgalten.

Lindsay Mann skiing down to the water.




The 44-Foot Sailboat at the dock in Svolvaer. The TrollfjordHyatta, part of the Norweigan Hut System. RMI Guide Lindsay Mann touring into the TrollfjordHyatta with the entrance to the Trollfjord in the background. RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer skiing down Storgalten.

Mt. Rainier: July 26th Summit!

Posted by: Casey Grom, Lindsay Mann, Ed Viesturs, Peter Whittaker | July 26, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount Rainier *North Cascades
Elevation: 14,410'

RMI Guides Peter Whittaker and Ed Viesturs led a team of climbers to the summit of Mt. Rainier morning. The Four Day Summit Climb July 23 - 26 led by RMI Guides Casey Grom and Lindsey Mann also reached the top today.

Both teams reported light winds and a beautiful day.  The climbers will descend to Camp Muir and then continue down to Paradise later this afternoon.

In the North Cascades, RMI Guides Andres Marin, Eric Frank and Geoff Schellens led their team to the summit of Forbidden Peak.  All team members reached the summit yesterday.  They will break camp and descend to the trail head today.

Congratulations to the summit teams!

Summit Climb July 25 - 28 team learning their skills today. Photo: Win Whittaker RMI Guides Ed Viesturs and Peter Whittaker on the summit of Mt. Rainier July 26th.  Photo: Peter Whittaker

Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team On Their Way Home

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leon Davis, Lindsay Mann | June 17, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 358'

We all finally got off the glacier yesterday afternoon as our flight service, K2, did a wonderful job getting everyone out when conditions seemed like they might close in and shut down flights.

After a remarkable twelve days at 17,200’, we are all skinny and inhaled large portions of meat, fish, and beer last night. I write this last dispatch as we are riding to the airport to return home to loved ones, and put this remarkable trip behind us.

Huge kudos go out to a very strong and committed team of climbers, and to two incredible guides, Leon Davis and Lindsay Mann, who worked so hard to make this trip safe and enjoyable, and who were there at the end when the climbing got really tough and the mountain could not have been harsher.

That’s all for this year. I need to see my wife and play with the dog. And I’m sure the lawn needs mowing. Thanks for following us on this unprecedented trip. I’ll be back next year for a shorter, and less exciting expedition.

RMI Guide Brent Okita

Mt. McKinley, Alaska (20,320')

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Mt. McKinley: Brent & Team Summit!

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leon Davis, Lindsay Mann | June 14, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Hi, this is Brent from 17,000’ on Mt. McKinley and I just wanted to report that we did summit here last night and we actually just going to bed right now, [it’s] about 3:30 in the morning. It was a bit of an epic night with some trail breaking and some cold winds but everyone did really well and we are all safe back at camp. So congratulations to the team here, we will be descending down to probably 11,000’ [camp] tomorrow. Alright, talk to you later. Bye bye.

- RMI Guide Brent Okita

Brent Calls from High Camp after Summit Day

Brent from High Camp after Summit Day

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Wow, congrats to everyone!  And a special Congratulations to Kristen, the youngest woman to ever summit all 50 state highpoints!!

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Posted by: Bob on 6/14/2012 at 6:22 am

Way to go team!!!


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Posted by: Thomas Parker on 6/14/2012 at 6:21 am

Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team - War and Peace

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leon Davis, Lindsay Mann | June 12, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Held hostage by the fickle nature of the weather for ten (or is it eleven now?) days at 17,200’ my brain is in hardly any shape to draw all the parallels to that epic saga and our own story here. But some stand out:

Ours has become a very long story of the challenges we face when not all elements in our world are in our control. And in our struggle to deal with these challenges, we face a bit of an emotional roller coaster as optimism fades when a new reality asserts itself.

This morning the hope of a nice summit day came crashing down as we received heavy snow and high winds starting in the wee hours of the morning.  Tyler Jones at 14,200’ camp reported over two feet of new snow and 50 mph winds.

So, once again we dug out camp with face protection, heavy gloves or mittens, and ski goggles on before breakfast. It was here that, given what we’ve been through up here, and the reality of just how long a human being can actually live at this altitude and harsh environment, we chose Thursday as our ‘up or down’ day.  But, this still gives us a chance to summit. Tomorrow might not be perfect, but, Thursday has been forecasted to offer ‘light and variable’ winds.

I’m generally an optimist, but at this point even I can succumb to a heaviness in my outlook after having so many of my summit plans thwarted.  But, as we discover in Tolstoy’s classic, sometimes what matters most is not some obvious achievement, but rather a deeper sense of accomplishment or understanding that comes with living life well, and to the fullest.

Let’s hope tomorrow our dispatch will be a bit more succinct. Like just one word.

Love, kisses and heavy thoughts from your team at 17,200’.

RMI Guide Brent Okita

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Mt. McKinley: Okita & Team take walk towards summit

Posted by: Brent Okita, Leon Davis, Lindsay Mann | June 10, 2012
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Well, we’re still here at 17,200’, day 7 up here and no summit in sight. In my 22 years of doing this I’ve never stayed here over seven days. I guess there’s a first for everything.
But the team is still strong and committed to tagging the summit despite our little weather delays. And it’s still only day 17 for us, so we’re still well within our time frame for these trip.
This morning was nasty, so we relaxed in our tents until 11:00am and had the brunch that has become all too familiar these days. At that time the wind and snow abated somewhat and I entertained for the first time doing an evening climb of sorts. With a bit of a cloud cap over the summit conditions were not ideal, but we had been having some rather consistent clearing in the afternoon and evenings, and with daylight throughout the evening, late starts are not unheard of.
So, we set out for the summit knowing full well that if we encountered worsening weather we’d simply turn back. The important thing for us was to get in some walking to maintain out strength, acclimatization, and mental health.
The route that we had punched in the day before was gone, so we had to plow through 1-2’ of snow to establish the route. Luckily the snow was quite stable and allowed us to reach almost 18,000’ before I made the tough call to turn back in the face of some increasing winds and certainly not improving conditions.
But, we had reestablished the route and gotten in a little exercise. And everyone had climbed well! We’ll be ready when the weather gods finally allow us to climb.
Back at camp over dinner we discussed just how long we might stay here at 17,200’ waiting for our opportunity. Wednesday seemed like a date that would be reasonable to make our last day here. We have food and fuel to go beyond then, but for those of you wondering when your loved one will be coming back, I would say a few days after that would be reasonable. That being said, we do have some on the team that are willing to stay on beyond then. And for them, I guess I’d have to say that I too would be willing to stick around.
But… Let’s not go there quite yet.

Kristen would like to wish Billy a happy birthday. And Gary would like to send Angela hugs and kisses from 17,200’ camp.

All for now. Thanks for reading our dispatches!

RMI Guides Brent, Leon , Lindsay and the rest of the team

The team at 17,200 ft camp on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: Brent Okita

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