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Entries By matias francis

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Wait at 11,000 Camp, Ready to Move up

Sunday, May 23, 2021 - 11:47 pm PT

Though it's almost June, the temps this morning hit us like the coldest winter chill.  When we first crawled out of the tents it looked like today would be the day. It was cold, but the winds were light in camp. Above, huge plumes of snow launched off of the upper elevation ridgelines, a clear visual of how hard the winds were blowing aloft, but with them coming out of the north, we hoped the mountain would provide shelter and that the warmth that came with the sun would tame the winds. Instead, the opposite happened. As we ate breakfast the winds steadily increased in camp to a small squall, injecting snow through any opening in tents or clothes. Word from higher up said 14,000' Camp was no better. So we got the message and settled in. They've calmed considerably since this afternoon and the forecast calls for them to continue to diminish, so we know we'll get our shot to move up. The group is doing really well with the weather hang. Rounds of gin rummy, kindles, and movies are keeping everyone occupied, as well as a quick wall building session to protect our bathroom tent. Someone mentioned working on content for the Denali calendar as well. Fingers and toes are crossed we get to go climbing tomorrow.

RMI Guides Pete, Matias, Chase, and team, brought to you by Alice in Chains

(Previous blogs brought to you by Outkast and The Scorpions)

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Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Shovel Out Tents from New Snow

The team woke up to a foot of fresh snow this morning, which led to our activity of the morning. Shoveling. Once that was out of the way, the team transitioned to game time. A variety of games and a few lucky beginners carried us through the afternoon. Some cheesecake for dessert has the team powered up hoping for better weather tomorrow. We're seeing the winds of change and feel positive about the next couple days!

RMI Guides Matias, Chase, Pete, and team

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Hi Marc

I Hope you’re having a good day! And that conditions r improving. We are so proud of you! Good luck today to u & ur whole team!

Posted by: Nicole gabai on 5/25/2021 at 11:37 am

marc - wishing you good weather to complete your mission.  the pix are amazing.  best wishes to everyone! olga

Posted by: Olga on 5/24/2021 at 10:48 am

Denali Expedition: Weather Keeps Van Deventer and Team at 11,000’ Camp

Friday May 21, 2021 - 10:28 pm PT

We had a bit of a false start today. When e got up the winds that have been storming through camp were absent, the sky above clear, though thick, high clouds shrouded the upper mountain. As we finished breakfast, the side started to creep back, the clouds crept up and down to meet at us, and things started to look more marginal. We dragged our feet and started to see an improving trend, so we decided to go for it, knowing we could turn around and head for a snug camp if it didn't work out. We climbed Motorcycle Hill our of camp in some low visibility, but otherwise pleasant conditions, but as we crested to the ridgeline, the wind found us, cooler than a polar bears toenails. With less than optimal visibility, increasing winds, and a significant stretch of climbing in front of us, we decided to retreat back to camp.

In the end, it was nice to stretch the legs and we'll be ready when the mountain opens her arms and says come on up.

RMI Guides Pete, Matias, Chase, and Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

Looks so unbelievably beautiful!!! Keep sending pics - we can at least imagine we are there with you. :D

Posted by: Monica Deckard on 5/22/2021 at 10:28 pm

That image of the mountain opening her arms to your group is quite lovely.  May she see fit to do that sooner than later.  Nice to stretch your legs, Hope better weather arrives soon.

Posted by: Bethany on 5/22/2021 at 10:45 am

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Hang at 11,000 ft due to weather

Thursday, May 20, 2021 - 11:09 pm PT

Today was a bit of a groundhog day, though if anything, the weather made itself pretty clear as far as its intentions. Intermittently gusty winds and consistent snow made it an easy day to hang in the tents reading, watching movies, playing cards, and sawing logs. We're currently cooking a dinner of a curried rice and miso soup. We'll welcome the sleeping bags for another good night of sleep and see what tomorrow brings.

RMI Guides Pete, Chase, Matias, and team

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Great to read the blog and get your messages, Hank!  Prayers and fingers crossed for improved weather to move forward for safety and success!

Posted by: Nancy Thoenes on 5/22/2021 at 4:11 am

Bummer… Waiting is good for Jason’s back, I think??? Hopefully tomorrow will work out and you can cache!

Posted by: Mandy Powell on 5/21/2021 at 5:43 pm

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Grab Cache and Return to Rest at 11,000ft

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 11:53 pm PT

Things are so far wiring well in our favor. The Glacier below us was in a cloud and snow today, the elevations above chilly and windy, but our zone was perfect for a short return to our cache to grab all our food and fuel and move them up to our camp. Mission accomplished, we spent the afternoon resting in the tents reading, playing cards, and snacking. It was a well deserved break after three hard days of moving. We'll see what the weather brings us tomorrow. We might rest again, or we might move a cache uphill to 13,500'.


RMI Guides Pete, Matias, Chase, and team

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Pops/Jason - Hey it’s ari. i hope you’re enjoying your time up on the mountain. i can’t wait to hear about it when u go back home. proud of you. <3
~ ari

Posted by: Ari Barnett on 5/20/2021 at 3:32 pm

Dad/Hank- Keep up the great work and sounds pretty awesome so far! Glad to hear you are doing well and you got this!! Sean’s still pushing for skiing down it, ha! Love you - Katie and Sean

Posted by: Katie Baskin on 5/19/2021 at 7:33 pm

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Set up Camp at 11,000’

Monday, May 17, 2021 - 11:40 pm

We had one more big day before we get a reprieve. This morning we found a light coating of snow in everything when we looked out of the tents, but blue skies and perfect conditions to pack up camp and move to 11,000' Camp. We were packed and moving by 9.45, and 6.5 hours later, we rolled into 11,000' Camp comfortably, though happy to be more or less done with our sleds.

We're settled in to a great camp now, with our cook tent much improved from last camp's. We'll be here for several days, so it's nice to be comfortable. We'll duck down just a little bit and grab our cache tomorrow, but otherwise the program is rest, after a couple big days. We'll check in tomorrow.

RMI Guides Pete, Chase, Matias, and team

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Great to see you out in your element, Jason!
Great pics. Sending good-weather, best-health vibes!

Posted by: Terry Scalia on 5/28/2021 at 6:31 am

The inner pride you gain is so good, but impossible to share. Only you and those with you, or who have done it before, truly understand. Bill Bussey

Posted by: Bill Bussey on 5/19/2021 at 6:40 am

Denali: Van Deventer & Team Cache at 10,000’

May 16, 2021 - 11:28 pm PT

We moved a whole lot of our food, fuel, and various other sundries up to about 10k today. Loads were lighter than yesterday by a lot, but the terrain was steeper and it was hard work. The team did great, even when the sun turned on the microwave oven on us and it started to feel more like the desert in July than an Alaskan Glacier in May.

All our work today sets us up well to move to 11k camp tomorrow. We know the trail, loads should be even lighter, and it promises to be a successful day. We'll check in tomorrow from up higher!

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

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The pictures by the planes are great!!  Wonderful to see the group, everyone looks ready to go!!  Fun to read about the first few days.  Cannot wait to read more!!

Posted by: Bethany on 5/17/2021 at 6:27 pm

Denali Expedition - Van Deventer & Team Fly onto Denali Basecamp

May 16, 2021 - 12:41 am PT

We hit the ground running today. At 8 am the weather looked good to fly, so we hustled to the hanger, changed into mountain clothes, and loaded gear on the two K2 otters that would ferry us to Basecamp. The flight in is always a highlight, as the tundra gives way to foothills, and then to the craggy peaks and ridges of the Alaska range, with cracked up glaciers carving channels between.

We took an hour or two to get our gear sorted, sleds loaded, and ropes setup, and then struck out from Basecamp to make our way up the lower Kahiltna to the base of ski hill. Often the first hour of moving with sleds has some hiccups, but not for us today. The group moved well, enjoying firm enough trail conditions that we could eschew the snowshoes.

We're settled into camp, feed, and tucking into sleeping bags for our first night in the mountain. We'll be in touch tomorrow!

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer & Team

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Jason- Your structural engineering group is cheering you on from afar!! We miss you and look forward to hearing all about your adventures. Hope you’re not thinking of Camden Shops up there lol.

Posted by: Katherine Bemis on 5/28/2021 at 6:30 am

Jason, All that tire pulling with Sully is paying off! You got this!
Lisa and Charlie

Posted by: Lisa and Charlie on 5/18/2021 at 9:56 am

Mt. Rainier: Four Day Climb Turns Due to Conditions

RMI Guides Mike King and Alan Davis led their Four Day Climb teams to 11,600' today before being turned back by new snow and poor conditions.  RMI Guide Alan Davis reported drifting snow up to 2 feet in places.  The teams departed from Camp Muir around 8 am and will conclude their program at Rainier BaseCamp today.

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Remember the great Ed Viesters

‘Getting up is optional…..getting down is MANDATORY’

Peace and mahalo


Posted by: Scottie on 5/25/2021 at 12:11 am

Mt. Rainier: Hahn, Gorum and Teams Turn at 12,600’

The Five Day Climb May 1 - 5 led by RMI Guides Dave Hahn and JM Gorum has returned to Camp Muir after making their summit attempt today.  The team reached 12,600' today before being forced to turn around due to route conditions.  On Tuesday the group ascended to Camp Muir and spent time yesterday getting in more glacier training and exploring parts of the route before morning their attempt this morning.  The group will pack up their gear and decend to Paradise this afternoon.

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

maybe i have previously been on your list. I know i have been for years. I climbed with you guys in 1969, 1970, and 1972

Also, Please add my two sons, one of which climbed with you in 2016 I believe. also, my daughter-in-law.

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Posted by: Bill Bussey on 5/6/2021 at 8:17 am

Great work!!

Posted by: TK Ito on 5/6/2021 at 7:45 am

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