Entries By mike king
May 22, 2016
May 22, 2016 - 4:02 pm PT
So things were looking pretty grim for flying out yesterday morning. We woke to more snow and a complete whiteout, keeping us locked in camp. We kept ourselves occupied with some games of trivial pursuit, stories and eating. As the day wore on a bit of sun shone thru the clouds and after dinner we heard the unmistakable drone of a DeHaviland Otter. Things were a blur after that. We broke camp in record time and moved our gear to the airstrip and loaded the planes before the weather moved back in. Once in the air we witnessed the skills that make these glacier pilots some of the best around. The clouds were heavy and thick all around us and once Patrick found a hole with some ground below, a few 360 degree diving turns put us under the cloud deck so he could navigate back to Talkeetna by sight, flying just a few hundred feet above the Alaskan tundra. So here we are back in town among the green trees and mosquitoes. A great time in the Alaska range with a fantastic group of people!
May 21, 2016
May 21, 2016 - 10:52 am PT
Well today our team got to practice a Denali soft skill that may be one of the most crucial; How to occupy your mind when the weather keeps you stagnant. We woke up inside a Ping pong ball and this strange snow that turned to rain as soon as it touched us. The team spent most of the day inside the kitchen telling stories, laughing and tying 50 meters worth of knots on our climbing rope. At times it was a tough lesson but the team stood strong. After dinner the skies started to break and eager for some activity, we broke camp and made a move back to base camp. It was eerily calm to have the glacier all to ourselves in a whiteout. It’s just past midnight now and we have just crawled into our tents. Tomorrow we are really hoping for some sun!
May 20, 2016
May 19, 2016 - 9:44 pm PT
Hello from Farine basin,
This morning under cloudy calm skies our team ventured onto the east ridge of Farine, an old remnant of perhaps a volcano comprised of very black rock.
Fun climbing on a ridge overlooking Camp 1 took us to a series of crumbling rock spires. We were stopped by bad snow in a steep gully capped by some very bad rock. As we descended in whiteout conditions to clearing clouds we got some great views of the surrounding valley. Back at camp with some time to kill, many folks grabbed some sleds to race down a slope just above our camp. Lots of belly laughing and memorable moments to behold as spectator or participant. It’s getting quite cold now so we are headed back to our tents to warm up.
RMI Guides Leon Davis, Mike King and Megan Budge
May 19, 2016
May 18, 2016 - 10:22 p.m. PDT
Hello all who may be reading!
A beautiful morning made for a pleasant exercise in breaking down our large camp and preparing our sleds for hauling up glacier. By 11:00 a.m. the team made their way down Heartbreak Hill to the main Kahiltna Glacier and upstream we paddled in snowshoes. Veering from the main trail we split off further west into a small basin tucked between a long black ridge and a peak known as Farine. We made camp on a high snow roll overlooking the Kahiltna to the south and it is a truly awesome sight. Tomorrow we will wake early for an attempt on the west ridge. Good luck and good night!
RMI Guide Leon Davis and Team
Hi Chip! We hope you’re having an amazing time and it’s been everything you hoped it would be. We’ve enjoyed seeing the pictures posted so far, but look forward to hearing all about it. Love you! Mom and Dad
Posted by: Chris Nunan on 5/20/2016 at 2:11 pm
We are so excited for you! I’m sure it is everything you have dreamed! We are all good at sea level…no worries!!! We miss you and can’t wait to see all the pictures and hear all the stories!
Posted by: Alexis, Izzy, and Logan Nunan on 5/20/2016 at 4:18 am
May 18, 2016
May 17, 2016 - 9:52 p.m. PDT
While we had hoped for sunny warm skies, we were delivered a snowy cloudy morning. After a nice pancake breakfast we set out to do some training in the area. Avalanche education and crack rescue took up our entire day and folks picked up the skills pretty quickly. The clouds lifted long enough for us to drop a few folks into the hole and let their teammates pull them out. That certainly was a comical and educational experience for the team. Just before dinner the temps dropped off significantly and it started to snow again. Seems to be a bit manic weather here at 7000’ but everyone is rolling with it in style. Tomorrow we hope to move up glacier for some exploring.
RMI Guide Leon Davis & Team
May 17, 2016
May 16, 2016 - 3:07 p.m. PDT
Despite a bleak forecast we woke to sunny blue skies today. This morning the team ventured further up the SE fork for some glacier travel and exploring around Radio Tower. While Base Camp below was busy with planes dropping off more climbers we enjoyed a birds eye view of the lower Kahiltna, and a direct view of the north buttress of hunter. The air was hot and surrounding slopes reacted with constant wet slides and rockfall. Returning to camp was a sweltering affair, all of us sun baked by the relentless sun. Tomorrow we will stick around the area for some more skills training. We are still hoping for more of those sunny skies.
RMI Guide Leon Davis & Team
Sign Up For Denali 2016 Emails
May 16, 2016
May 15, 2016 - 9:39 pm
Greetings from base camp,
This morning we were not greeted with the sunny cloudless skies, but a low cloud ceiling. The precipitation fell as snow but behaved like rain once on the ground. That did not stop us from fortifying camp with snow walls which the team dispatched of quickly. It’s a fast hard working crew we have here. A few folks ran some crevasse rescue drills in the fog while the rest of the team did some training around camp. Tomorrow we plan to explore the southeast fork and try to climb something while getting some real field immersion training. Rain or shine we will be getting some real Alaskan expedition training in. That’s a goodnight from us here in midnight sun country.
RMI Guides Leon Davis, Mike King & Megan Budge
May 15, 2016
Saturday, May 14, 2016 - 11:47 p.m. PDT
Good evening friends and family!
Today our Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Expedition flew onto the southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier in unseasonably warm temperatures. Talkeetna is experiencing temperatures that are 20 degrees above average and it’s hard to wait around dressed in climbing clothes. But things are all good here in the mountains. The Cliff Hudson Fly In was going on in Talkeetna today so we were able to experience various aircraft showing off their abilities in honor of the late bush pilot Cliff Hudson. It was very exciting to share the same airport with old WWII planes and newest bush planes. Stay tuned for more seminar stories…
RMI Guide Leon Davis and team
On The Map
It sounds like your adventure is off to an exciting start - with an air show timed for your first expedition day. We hope every day is this enjoyable and exciting - and each day stays unseasonably warm.
Look forward to more news as your team ascends.
Thanks to Leon, Mike and Megan for helping us stay in touch.
Much love xo Mom & Dad
Posted by: Sue and Bob Lawley on 5/15/2016 at 2:52 pm
May 10, 2016
Monday, May 9, 2016 - 10:37 p.m. PDT
Today was our last full day on the lower slopes of Denali and it was a beautiful one. We had hopes to give Kahiltna Dome another shot but the weather remains the same with snow and low visibility. So we packed camp and made our way down the Kahiltna Glacier towards base camp. We passed a few teams on their way up, slowly moving under their heavy loads and exchanged the customary greetings. We had the nine mile trek down glacier almost all to ourselves and the silence was sublime! Things are quiet here on the lower Kahiltna as no team has flown on in a few days. It is indeed a rare day to have such silence and solitude, without the drone of the planes that regularly come and go. It has been a great trip with a great crew and many are counting the days until their return to give Denali a try.
RMI Guides Leon Davis and Mike King
On The Map
May 9, 2016
Sunday, May 8, 2016 - 9:39 p.m. PDT
Today the team learned that not everyday can be blue skies filled with unicorns. We woke early this morning, fighting the temptation to stay in our warm cocoons, to a complete whiteout. Everything that came in contact with the atmosphere grew a layer of frost overnight and we could barely see more than 10 feet in front of us. But we brewed up, ate a quick breakfast, and began the waiting game. We would need full VFR (visual flight rule) conditions to venture onto Kahiltna Dome but alas the weather never improved. After some tent time the team went out to investigate some ice fall debris fallen from the east face for some classroom sessions. The biggest block, close to the size of a two-car garage, provided some fun ice climbing routes. We hope to wake up tomorrow to better weather in hopes of giving the Dome one last shot before heading back down stream.
Goodnight from the great white north!
RMI Guides Leon Davis and Mike King and team
Aagh shame, Rogan, but you might as well experience the good as well as the bad. Pity you missed the unicorns . At least you have team leaders who can make the best of the weather to teach you other things in the classroom sessions. Just keep happy and warm.
Lots of love and hugs, mom xx
Posted by: Daphne Carew on 5/10/2016 at 2:09 am
Hi Dave - Hope all is well and the white out is over. Keep staying safe!
Love Cathy and Nick
Posted by: Cathy Grotjahn on 5/9/2016 at 2:25 pm