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Entries By maile wade

June 22, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Rest at 14,000’

Happy summer solstice from the land of the Midnight Sun!

Our team had a pretty relaxing day today; it started with a leisurely breakfast, then we went back to Windy Corner to retrieve our cache, and then we relaxed all afternoon. The two hour round trip to Windy Corner was a good leg stretcher. And the relaxing afternoon sure felt good also.

This afternoon we welcomed Jake Beren’s team back to 14k after their successful summit bid. It was good to see the whole team in good shape after their climb. And it was a pleasure to have water waiting for them and to make them bacon quesadillas as they repacked their backpacks and rested here. They continued their descent to 11k, and are planning to be at the airstrip tomorrow.

We are planning on taking a rest day here at 14k tomorrow, in order to be strong for our carry up high above 16k.

We’ll be in touch again tomorrow…

RMI Guide Mike Walter

On The Map

Kristina and Mike,

So glad the trip is going well.  It is amazing to see all the snow and think of the cold while we hit 89 today and it is dry, dry , dry.  Enjoy your rest day and thanks for the updates.

Posted by: missy prudden on 6/22/2012 at 8:46 pm

For someone that lives in snow country, you guys have a lot of snow
It sure seems incredible,  hope every one is well and all continues to go well.
Matt, This has to be the high light of your life.  All Take care, climb safely
Thanks so much for the updates.  Don Pennington

Posted by: Don Pennington on 6/22/2012 at 5:44 pm

June 21, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Move to 14,200’

We had great weather today and the team climbed strong, moving our camp up to 14,200’. We are now well established on the upper mountain as we continue to acclimate. Tomorrow we will make a quick trip back to Windy Corner to retrieve the cache of supplies that we carried up there two days ago.
We recently spoke via radio with RMI Guide Jake Beren and their team as they were descending the summit ridge after a successful summit. Congratulations to the team! We look forward to seeing them tomorrow when they descend from high camp.

That’s it for now. Time for some shuteye.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

On The Map


All the best.  It is fantastic that you are now on the high part of the mountain.  We are looking at the magnificent pictures on the website. It must be an incredible experience to be at that altitude getting close to the top of the world.  We look forward to the stories. Keep safe.

Love Dad, Mom, Brooklyn and Spencer

Posted by: charles selby on 6/22/2012 at 7:22 am

Best wishes from Colorado.  Kobi is loving life here in Cdale with his buddy Bayou!

Posted by: Wesley Reynolds on 6/22/2012 at 5:46 am

June 19, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Plan to Move Up

Our team had a great day today, putting in a cache at 13,700’ at Windy Corner. We returned to a day time schedule, and enjoyed a warm and sunny day today. The weather is beautiful here at the 11,000’ camp tonight; there is blue sky above, clouds below, and no wind. We’re all in our sleeping bags and looking forward to a good night’s rest.

If the weather is good tomorrow morning we are planning to move our camp up to 14,200’. We are feeling ready and are looking forward to the challenge of tomorrow. That’s it for now…time to get some zzzz…

RMI Guide Mike Walter

On The Map

May 30, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Return to Talkeetna

Our whole crew is safe and sound back in Talkeetna!

After a successful summit of Denali on Sunday, our crew descended to the 14,000’ camp on Monday. Then, after an early start Tuesday, we hiked out to Basecamp and arrived at the airstrip in the early evening and were lucky enough to have some clear weather to fly off of the glacier and back to civilization. We had a great team dinner last night at the West Rib Pub, and we are all enjoying the comforts of real beds and running water! After 18 great days on the mountain, our expedition is officially over. Everyone is parting ways today, heading back to loved ones back home. It was a great adventure on Denali; climbing with a great team, great weather, and a great mountain, it was hard to beat!

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Congrats to the team and Mike for another well lead expedition. A little quicker than last year :)

Posted by: Jeff Rapp on 5/31/2012 at 2:40 pm

Nicely done folks! Welcome back Rich!

Posted by: Erik on 5/31/2012 at 9:06 am

May 22, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Cache Supplies at Washburn’s Thumb

Today was a crucial day for us to get in position for a summit bid. We carried a couple of days of food plus some personal gear to the bottom of Washburn’s Thumb at 16,800’. This cache is an integral part of the strategy of climbing this mountain. Once in place, we can wait for a weather window to move up to camp at 17,000’ and then summit. It now becomes a waiting game for us as we need a good forecast for a string of a few days.

It was also a great day for us to practice our climbing skills because the real climbing on Denali starts above 14,000’. We got to practice using the fixed lines up to 16,200’ to attain the West Buttress. From there, we were greeted with beautiful views and climbing on a thin, rocky ridge. The buttress is the namesake of the route, the reason people come up this way. It requires great attention, but affords amazing climbing and vistas. Everyone did a great job with these 2 new challenges. We even had some members of the group attain new personal high marks!

StokemeterNow, we’re back at camp ready for some rest. We are playing the waiting game now, holding out and hoping the mountain will give us the weather window we need. But the forecast looks pretty good, and we’re patient, stubborn, and well prepared. 14K Camp is a great place to get strong, and with a rest day tomorrow we definitely won’t be getting out of sleeping bags until the sun hits us.

Bringing back an old feature to the blog: the stoke meter is all the way up at a 9.5 right now!

RMI Guide Maile Wade and the southside dwellers of 14K!

On The Map

You are in good hands.  Keep listening to Mike, make good choices and be safe.

Posted by: Diana on 5/23/2012 at 5:50 pm

Kyle, you are an amazing and wonderful boyfriend. Thank you so very much for the beautiful flowers and the sweet note. It definitely made me cry! We are all rooting for you and are so proud of you. Juliana asks me everyday where you are. Even my friend Dan says how inspired he is. On to the top! Hurry home! Love you! Stephenie

Posted by: Stephenie on 5/23/2012 at 7:28 am

May 19, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Set up 14,000’ Camp

Hey all! Greetings from 14,000 ft. Yesterday was a busy day as several teams including ourselves, packed up camp at 11k and headed for our advanced basecamp at 14k. Temperatures were cool and the sky was bluebird, making ideal conditions for climbing. Windy Corner gave us a little taste with a chilly breeze blowing as we approached. As soon as we rounded it, however, the breeze died and the sun turned on the microwave.

Move days are hard work. Not only do you have a long day with heavy packs, but at the end of it you have to spend several hours reestablishing camp. The team did great and we moved into a quite comfortable camp; important because this is where we will stage from and wait for our weather window to head for the summit. Today we will head down to retrieve our cache at 13k, and spend the rest of the day fortifying camp with large snow walls so that we are prepared for a storm.

We want to wish Maile a super happy birthday, and we’re glad she’s up here celebrating it with us!

Hasta luego,
RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer and team

On The Map

Happy Birthday Mai!!! We had a cold beer in your honor! Glad you guys made it to 14 camp—looks incredible! Safe climbing! xo

Posted by: Jenny on 5/20/2012 at 7:10 am

Glad you’re having great weather and time. Not so great here (weather wise). Missed Mike at Torch Run today. I ran with CJ this year and Officer Umbs beat us. Furry kids up to their same old tricks and more…

Posted by: Kym on 5/20/2012 at 1:07 am

May 17, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Rest Day at 11K Camp

After much discussion and hearing a favorable weather forecast for the next few days, we decided that an extra day at 11,000’ was the best way for the group to rest and acclimate so we are strong for our move to 14,000’. We are looking to move tomorrow and are expecting good weather for pulling into camp.

As for today, we lazed around all morning in the posh, but had to move outside as the day progressed.  It was way too hot to hang out in tents or the posh, a rare treat for a May Denali trip. I think today was just what the doctor ordered for us to move up in style tomorrow. Everyone is feeling strong, well-rested, and ready to camp in beautiful Genet Basin tomorrow night. We’ll hopefully be checking in from 14,000’ tomorrow.

Hope all is well at home,
RMI Guide Maile Wade and crew

On The Map

I forgot the birthday wish was for Maile

Posted by: Ginny on 5/18/2012 at 4:44 pm

Wow! sounds like all is going well.  What a great please to have your birthday on the 19th! so HAPPY BIRTHDAY my girl I love you tons   be safe
xoxoxoxoxo Mom

Posted by: Ginny on 5/18/2012 at 4:42 pm

May 13, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Move to 9,600’

This morning we awoke to our first views of the Alaska Range. After sitting out the storm in Talkeetna and flying on with clouds still in the area, we were pleasantly surprised with a beautiful sunny day. Our first big hill of the trip greeted us right out of camp, but even with this challenge we moved well up to camp at 9,500’.  The Kahiltna Glacier is in great shape which made our travels nice and fluid. Base camp received 3 feet of snow while we sat in Talkeetna, but this just made for great navigating and smooth sailing for us. As we moved into the steeps of Ski Hill, there was a perfect trough to keep our sleds in line and upright. With our first challenges behind us, we rolled into camp around 5:00 and made a yummy birthday dinner for Carl…61 today!! Now, we’re resting up for another big push tomorrow to 11,000’ camp. Happy Mother’s Day to all of our moms! Goodnight.

RMI Guides Mike Walter, Pete Van Deventer & Maile Wade

On The Map

Team, We wish you GREAT LUCK on McKinley.  Be safe.  Sara and Bill McGahan

Posted by: Bil McGahan on 5/17/2012 at 3:40 pm

happy birthday carl & best wishes for great weather.
summit on!

Posted by: lars on 5/14/2012 at 6:37 pm

May 12, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Enroute to Base Camp

The May 8th Mt. McKinley Expedition led by RMI Guides Mike Walter, Pete Van Deventer and Maile Wade is now en route to Base Camp.  The weather in Talkeetna was clear this morning and the team headed for the K2 Aviation hanger.

Good luck on your expedition!

Stay safe and make every day epic!

Posted by: Erik on 5/16/2012 at 7:07 pm

Go team!  Climb safe, climb strong!

Posted by: Drew Tulumello on 5/12/2012 at 9:27 pm

May 11, 2012

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Make Most of their Talkeetna Time

We spent the day waiting for our weather window to fly on to the glacier, but two feet of snow at Base Camp last night and continuing snow through today have so far prevented us from making it on. Rather than idly twiddling our thumbs, we decided to make the best of a warm dry hanger and practice our crevasse rescue skills and self rescue systems. Everyone is feeling better about their systems after a lot of practice and playing with knots and tricks. We still have one and a half hours to go before the planes are grounded for the night, increasingly it is looking like tomorrow morning is more likely for flying. Hopefully our next post will come from there glacier!

RMI Guide Peter Van Deventer

Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate with us today, and we were unable to fly in to Base Camp once again. While it seems as though the weather is improving, the conditions were not conducive to flying; no planes left Talkeetna today with the intention of trying to land at Base Camp. We took advantage of the down time today and did some dry-land review of crevasse rescue. There were also some pretty competitive games of ping pong going on this afternoon in the Hangar as we waited on standby for the weather to clear. We’re all eager to fly, but we understand that climbing Denali requires patience. Hopefully we get a break tomorrow and can fly in to Base Camp and establish ourselves on the mountain. In the meantime, we’re enjoying Talkeetna.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

On The Map

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