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Entries By matias francis


Denali Expedition: Walter, Van Deventer & Teams Summit!

Thursday, June 3, 2021 - 10:27 am PT

We've waited through wind and snow for weeks and we finally got our shot. We woke up yesterday to clear skies and relatively (for 17k feet) warm temps in camp. We had stoves firing early, before sun hit camp, and got everyone up to start prepping. With breakfast done and packs loaded we stepped out of our sunny camp into the shadow of the Autobahn. It was a chilly couple hours crossing to Denali Pass and we were all psyched to get back into the sun. A slight, but cold 10mph breeze in our face kept it chilly all day, but we kept moving past Zebra Rocks, around Archdeacons Tower, onto the Football Field, up Pig Hill, and along the summit ridge to the summit! We were standing on top just after 6pm yesterday. With photos taken, we started working our way back down, well aware of the distance still to get back to the comfort of our sleeping bags. The long hours of sun help alot and we rolled back into camp around 11pm, just as the sun left camp. Tired, chilly, sore, but excited that we managed to reach our goal!

We'll start working our way down the mountain today, back to warmer temps, more oxygen, and a flight back to Talkeetna. They tend to be long days, so dispatches might be short, but we are headed home.

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Mike Walter, Avery Parrinello, Matias Francis, Chase Halbert, Luke Wilhelm, and RMI Teams 1 and 2

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

What an amazing accomplishment all of you have made !! Marc, I am so proud and honored to have you as my son.

Love you, Papa Bear

Posted by: David Gollob on 6/5/2021 at 7:33 am

Congratulations all! Such a lifetime of memories. Be safe coming down so you can make more memories.

Posted by: Susan K. Moore on 6/4/2021 at 10:27 pm


Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Stay Put at 17K with New Snow

Tuesday, June 1, 2021 - 12:03 pm PT

Happy June 1st! It doesn't feel like it much here at 17K. We missed sending a dispatch last night because of some electronic technical difficulties that are resolved, but you should have heard via RMI Alaska Team led by Mike Walter that we all moved to 17K yesterday on a perfect day. It was relatively warm, calm, sunny, and as we were the first few teams out of camp, were able to move smoothly up the fixed lines and along the West Buttress.

We had hopes of going for the summit today, but the chance of snow that often only brings precip to the lower mountain defied that hope overnight and into today. We've got 3 to 4 inches of new snow in camp, still snowing, low vis, and just enough wind to move it around at maximum efficiency. It was a pretty easy call to stay in the tents today and ride it out, hoping that tomorrow brings clearer conditions.

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Matias Francis, Chase Halbert, and team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Wahoo to ALL of you!  What a thrill to watch your progress from afar.  I say sleep for days has been well earned!!  I am so very proud of each of you and all the major steps you took to get there and then to make the summit.  Wow is all I’ve got and thanks to the team of guides who kept you safe and focused and climbing!!!  Amazing!

Posted by: Bethany on 6/3/2021 at 4:22 am

Can’t wait to hear you made it to summit - good luck Matt!  All the way!

Posted by: Mitchell Fry on 6/2/2021 at 5:03 pm


Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Move to High Camp, Hope for Summit Attempt

Monday, May 31, 2021 - 10:21 pm PT

Both RMI Denali Expeditions led RMI Guides Mike Walter and Pete Van Deventer made it to High Camp today at 17, 200'. We are busy melting snow and making hot water for dinner. If the weather is good, we hope to go for the top tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Yessir! Good luck my guy. xoxo

Posted by: Z on 6/1/2021 at 8:39 am

I hope you make it

Posted by: Erin on 6/1/2021 at 8:09 am


Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Prep and Organize for Move to 17,000ft

Sunday, May 30, 2021 - 9:45 pm PT

The weather trend is finally improving for us! Today was a relatively pleasant day at 14,000' Camp. The ridgeline above was showing some wind this morning but that diminished through the day. Rather than jump up there and get cold, chilly, and tire ourselves out doing a small cache, we opted to stay in camp, organize, and prep to move to 17,000' Camp tomorrow. That didn't seem to stop most of camp from taking a run at it, which only reinforced our decision. We'll look to get up early tomorrow, be early out of camp, and be settled in to 17,000' comfortably so that we're ready to summit the following day. The pace of things will accelerate now and everybody is excited!

RMI Guides Pete, Matias, Chase, and team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Pulling hard for you Big Marc!! You got this!

Sending love and warmth from your fans in Seattle! Looking forward to cheersing your success with an ice cold rainier

Posted by: Patrick Smyton on 5/31/2021 at 10:31 pm

It is about six pm Pacific and I’m hoping you are all so snug at 17,000’ tonight.  Wishing you all safe climbing and clear skies. Go, team, go!!

Posted by: Bethany on 5/31/2021 at 6:07 pm


Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Hold Tight Due to Weather

Saturday, May 29, 2021 - 10:25 pm PT

The weather that was forecast to show up, came in the late morning. Everyone enjoyed quality tent time with movies, cards, and even some song writing. Stay tuned for the artists debut. We see improving weather conditions in the forecast, and are hoping to make some moves in the coming days.

RMI Guides Matias, Chase, Pete, and team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Praying for better weather to continue your journey. Praying for you, Luke and all of the team!

Posted by: Rae Wilson on 5/30/2021 at 7:19 pm

I have been following the blog everyday with growing excitement when you have a climbing day.  Sounds like everything is going good. Be safe. Mom

Posted by: Becky smith on 5/30/2021 at 1:17 pm


Denali Expedition: Van Deventer and Team Practice Skills and Fortify Camp

Friday May 28, 2021 - 7:39pm PT 

The winds and snow moved out for us today and we got to enjoy some sun and warmth in camp. We could still see winds moving quickly at times up above us on the west buttress, but it was nice to have pleasant conditions for a bit. We took the opportunity to build some truly monumental walls to protect against an expected wind event tomorrow, then refreshed and practiced our fixed line travel to prep for when the weather and conditions let us go higher.

Tomorrow is almost certainly a tent bound day, but the trend looks good for us going into next week. For now, we're happy to be acclimating and getting strong at 14,000', and to be within striking distance of our objective.

RMI Guides Pete, Matias, Chase, and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Go, Cram, Go!  Do it for the CZ.  Wishing you good luck and safe travels.

Posted by: Z (Simsbury) on 5/30/2021 at 9:46 am

It seems that there are several teams @ 14, 000 camp 3. You started out I believe, as 2nd team. do you have to wait for team one to go to the peak first? Either way God speed.

Posted by: Carter Thoenes on 5/29/2021 at 12:24 pm


Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Take a Weather Day

Thursday, May 27, 2021 - 6:39pm PT

It sounded like rain drumming off the tent at a consistent staccato all night, into this morning. The problem was that there was frost in the tent and the temp was below zero. So was it rain? Nope. Graupel. Lots of graupel. As well as snow. And wind to move it. We had planned to rest anyways and that was perfect for today. We had a big bagel and smoked salmon brunch, then tucked back into tents to stay warm and dry.

The snow is anywhere from ankle to well over knee deep through camp. The wind have started to subside some this afternoon, but our world is still really white, with snow filtering down from the sky.

We'll do dinner and some warm tea and crawl into our sleeping bags to see what tomorrow brings.

RMI Guide Pete, Matias, Chase, and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Hoping the storm passes and you have your days to move up and continue on safely. Keep the spirits up and enjoy every moment! Looking forward to the updates and we love you! - Katie & Sean

Posted by: Katie Baskin on 5/29/2021 at 8:07 am

Thank you for the opportunity to learn about graupel!!  What crazy weather you have had.  I am throwing all my weight behind good weather thoughts for you and your expeditions all.

Posted by: Bethany on 5/28/2021 at 3:05 pm


Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Fortify Tents, Enjoy Hidden Snacks

May 26, 2021 - 11:54 pm PT

We are happily reunited with all of our things at 14,000' Camp. We had a leisurely brunch before grabbing empty packs to drop back down and retrieve our cache at 13,500'. Laden back down with food, fuel, and snacks, we popped back up to camp in an easy hour. After a short siesta to discover what we'd hidden in that hole and go on a snacking binge, we threw our backs into building walls to protect our camp from what sounds like a bit of incoming weather. We're planning to take a rest day tomorrow, which lines up well with the weather and see what happens after that!

RMI Guides Pete, Matias, Chase, and team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Great work everyone!! Stay warm and stay safe! Jason and Doug, everyone here at work is rooting for you!

Posted by: Breanna Watkins on 5/28/2021 at 5:26 am


Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Move to 14,000ft Camp, Set up Camp in Windy Conditions

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - 12:36 am PT

It's been a wild day. Things were perfect this morning to move. We didn't rush out of camp, instead letting sun start to dry the frost from our tents before we packed them. The climb to 14,000' was pleasant all the way. There were some periods where a mild breeze cooled us, but in a way e were thankful for some respite from the heat of the sun. Once we got to 14,000' Camp, it got exciting. Just as we started to set up the first tents, we got hit with a blast of wind that was probably pushing 40 mph. Another was quick on its heels. And that was how it went - sudden strong blasts that weren't tied to hitting us from any one particular direction. It was a magnificent display of teamwork, as everybody came together to get tents up and then a wall built to provide some shelter from the gusts. We got a hot meal and are now deep in sleeping bags staying warm and drifting off to sleep. All in all, it was a great day and a great illustration of how Denali keeps you on your toes.

RMI Guides Pete, Chase, Matias, and team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Sending positive thoughts to Cram from the CZ. You got this!

Posted by: Z on 5/29/2021 at 6:37 pm

Glad you got up there Marc! Wishing you calm and less freezing weather along the way! Felix has been learning a lot about Denali and always has questions about how big it is.
Love, Little Sis

Posted by: Sandi on 5/26/2021 at 2:56 pm


Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Get Break in Weather, Cache Gear at 13,500ft

Monday, May 24, 2021 - 10:45 pm PT

Today was quite possibly the nicest day in the Alaska range that any of the guide team can remember. The last several days earned us a perfect, clear, calm day and as such the expedition cogs were churning all over camp. Teams that have been waiting to move to 14,000' Camp were busily taking down camp and teams that have been waiting to cache were saddling up to go. We already had packs loaded, so a quick breakfast got us going and then we were finally, FINALLY, climbing. The whole team climbed really strong, enjoying the chance to stretch our legs. A few stretches of walking got us to our cache location at 13,500', where we unloaded food and fuel, then enjoyed a light, quick jaunt back down to our 11,000' Camp. All told we had an easy six hours round trip. The forecast sounds like it's holding, so our intention tomorrow is to retrace our steps in the morning and head to our next home at 14,000'.

 

RMI Guides Pete, Chase, Matias, and team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Glad you see you got to move again today!

Posted by: Sheila on 5/25/2021 at 8:52 pm

Wow this is amazing to “watch”! Praying for the whole team’s success. You got this, Matt! Enjoy every step.

Posted by: Linda Baker on 5/25/2021 at 5:41 pm

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