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Entries By mike uchal


June 30, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team To Thicker Air

Saturday, June 29th, 2013
After a good sleep, we woke up and started packing. The goal for the day was to get as low and as far as possible to set us up for flying off the mountain tomorrow. The crux of the walk out is timing the walk out on the lower Kahiltna Glacier. We have to walk across this part while the snow bridges over the crevasses are frozen. This means a late night/early morning walk to the air strip. We made it all the way to 11k Camp so we are set up to walk the glacier at the right time…as long as we only sleep for two hours!
Wish us luck and good weather so we can fly tomorrow!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and the RMI Summit Team 6

P.S. Grasshopper wants to thank Annie and Rose for the support and sacrifices!

On The Map

big concern from little calgarians: is there any chocolate left??

Posted by: elisabeth on 6/30/2013 at 4:35 pm


June 29, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Summit!

Friday, June 28th, 2013
Summit Team 6 finally hit the summit! Second time is a charm.

We left camp around 8:45 this morning with perfect weather. As we got higher, Denali decided to challenge us again; this time with some wind. The wind was blowing very hard as we approached the summit ridge. We were all bundled up ready to get pummeled by wind on the ridge, but the ridge actually blocked the wind making the summit really nice! We stayed on top for quite some time before we headed back down into the wind for a safe descent back to 17,000 feet.

Time to get some well-deserved sleep!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and RMI Summit Team 6


RMI Guide Mike Haugen calls from the Mount McKinley summit.

On The Map

Congratulations, Quinn, and the rest of the team!!! We’re so proud of you, what an amazing achievement! Have a happy and safe descent, you’re in our thoughts!

Posted by: Lauren & Adam on 6/30/2013 at 8:45 pm

Awesome job by everyone. Quinn, we knew you would summit no matter what it took. Have a safe 2nd half and look foreword to seeing you home soon. Love from Mom & Dad.

Posted by: George on 6/30/2013 at 12:34 pm


June 28, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen’s Team Resting and Hoping

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
After our almost summit yesterday, we took today to rest up for another hopeful shot tomorrow. RMI Summit Team 6 is really a great group of folks. We got sooooo close to the summit yesterday and got shut down by terrible weather. We did not hear any complaining or what ifs… instead we heard about what an adventure the day was and started to plan for another attempt.

Keep your fingers crossed, say a prayer, or do some kind of a weather dance to help us get some good weather and another chance to summit tomorrow!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and Summit Team 6

On The Map

You’ve got this!  No matter what happens (and I m dancing like crazy here), this is an incredible adventure.  We are so impressed back here in the flatlands. Stay warm.  Thinking of you all, all the time. KAC.

Posted by: Kconstantine on 6/28/2013 at 9:08 pm

Weather dance has happened!  Climb on crew. . . .knock the beast off!!!!

Posted by: Mtn Mo on 6/28/2013 at 9:07 pm


June 27, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Turn Below the Summit

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
We woke up around 7:30 with clear skies and no winds. We set off towards the summit with all of the crew feeling great. We experienced a little bit of wind and clouds at Denali Pass, but that is pretty normal. The climb was going smoothly and the weather was about as perfect as you can get.  We were about 150 feet below the summit ridge when the clouds came in and blocked out our sun. All of a sudden we heard a crack of thunder and all of the metal around us began to buzz. We hightailed it down to a depression in a feature called the football field where things seemed to be calm. By calm, I mean a whiteout snowstorm came out of nowhere!  We hunkered down and waited to see if things would settle down. When we were certain they would not, we worked our way down the mountain with GPS and some wands that mark the trail. After a fourteen hour climbing day, our whole team is back in camp happy, healthy, and fed having come a few hundred feet short of the summit but without a permanent stutter from electrocution!
Our plan is to rest tomorrow and perhaps give the summit another go in the next few days. We will see.

Goodnight!

RMI McKinley Summit Team 6


RMI Guide Mike Haugen calls in from 17 camp after their summit attempt.

On The Map

I’m shocked (seriously, no pun intended) to hear about the storm. SO close.  You are all truly amazing and great to hear Mike’s voice.  Cheering you on, thinking about you all, KAC.

Posted by: Kconstantine on 6/27/2013 at 8:02 pm

there will be an other opportunity am sure! glad you are all ok .rest well.lots of love to Lance

Posted by: elisabeth on 6/27/2013 at 5:18 pm


June 25, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Crossing Their Fingers

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
We are headed to the summit tomorrow… maybe! Our team is strong, healthy, and happy. We are positioned at 17,000’ camp and had frenetic weather all day. We have had sunny, cloudy, windy, cold, and warm weather. Welcome to Denali.

We are waiting for a good set of weather to go to the summit, which is predicted to be tomorrow. Cross your fingers for us!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and RMI Summit Team 6

On The Map

Good luck everyone! Michael said he saw you at 14k camp and you looked strong! Jack and I are crossing our fingers - we’re so proud of all of you, and we love you Quinn!

Posted by: Liz and Jack on 6/27/2013 at 2:49 am

Great job dad!!! Waiting for you safe and sound at home!

Posted by: Vikky on 6/26/2013 at 11:04 pm


June 24, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Move to 17K Camp

Monday, June 24th, 2013
Only 3000 feet to go! 

We woke up around 4:30 this morning and packed up our 14k camp. We headed uphill towards the fixed lines and hit them as the sun began to beat down on us. It was a stark difference from the other day when it was ridiculously cold from the wind.

We worked our way up the fixed lines and gained the ridge on top of the West Buttress. We picked up our cache as we followed the ridge towards 17k camp. By the time we got to camp we were plenty tired. We dug in deep to protect us from the big winds that can happen at 17,000 feet on De-gnarly. Dehydrated meals and hot chocolate in the tent… bed time!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and RMI Summit Team 6

On The Map

I meant picture on the Rim…

Posted by: Stacy Turner on 6/26/2013 at 6:33 am

Awesome picture of you all on the summit!  A much better view than the one I have in Falls Creek, PA. :-P
Can’t wait to see you on the summit Cindee.

Posted by: Stacy Turner on 6/26/2013 at 6:31 am


June 23, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Rest Day at 14K Camp

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013
We woke up with a couple of inches of snow on the tents this morning. No storms or winds, just the friendly June kind of Denali snow.

We had a very pleasant rest day. We checked in with the camp gossip and watched a few teams head up the fixed line towards 17k.  Our plan is to head up to 17,000 ft and make a camp. We have really been doing a great job of sport eating and no one has had any problems with this altitude. We are all very excited because we do not drag any sleds up past this camp.

RMI Summit Team 6

P.S. Lance wants Penny to know that he is keeping up with his dental hygiene. (But the rest of him has not washed in ten days!

Also, Uchal says Happy 2nd Birthday Lulu!

On The Map

Hello Gregory Grasshopper! We all had a fun time in Austin, swimming in the Pedernales, eating, and catching up. We are thinking of you and hope all continues to go well.  Midge and Pete say hi.

Love you,
Mum and Bubs

Posted by: Anne Sullivan on 6/24/2013 at 8:05 pm

Great photos and updates! Thank you, it really helps us at home feel more involved, and informed.  Great progress and no more sleds. Yea!  Glad to hear all are doing well and managing to have a bit of fun too. Message to Steve, love you and missing you, hope you are having a wonderful time.remember, take lots of pictures!

Posted by: Tania K on 6/24/2013 at 1:33 am


June 23, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Cache Gear at 16,600’

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013
Movin’ on up! We woke up early and set out to cache some gear up high.  Even though the sun was not on us, we thought it was warm for 14k camp. We were wrong. As we set out towards the fixed ropes that allow us to climb the steep face up to 16,000 ft safely, a cold wind picked up and made us cold…like Denali cold! I think we needed it because we were getting a bit spoiled. Once we gained the ridge, we were out of the wind and in the sun and immediately life was better.

We decided to make a cache a around 16,600’ under a prominent rock feature called Washburn’s Thumb. We cached some food and fuel for when we head up to our last camp at 17,000’ in a couple of days.

I was really impressed at how everyone did at the altitude and on the fixed lines. Go team!

Rest day tomorrow.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and the RMI Summit Team 6

On The Map

Lance’s little ones are off camping with the dinosaurs the next 3 days . BUt we will be thinking about you all and wish you warmer wind and fantastic next few days

Posted by: elisabeth on 6/24/2013 at 6:30 pm

Enjoy your day off, but I am sure you will find something to pass the time. This team likes to stay busy it seems. Tell Q the Bruins are at home tonight for game 6. They trail 3 to 2. Should be a great game 7 this week. Go Bruins!!

Posted by: George on 6/24/2013 at 5:05 am


June 22, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen’s Team Has a Rest Day at 14K Camp

Friday, June 21st, 2013
Ahhhh a day of rest. We did not even move in our tents until the sun hit them at 9:30. We had a morning of slowly cooking pancakes for the group. We believe pancakes are the perfect acclimatization food.

We volunteered to be guinea pigs for a medical experiment having to do with high altitude. The test involved having a series of heart rate and oxygen saturation measurements taken and then walk around a track for 6 minutes to see how those measurements change. It was not a competition, but let’s just say our group crushed it!

If the weather is nice tomorrow, our plan is to move some gear up to 17,000’ Camp. On Denali, 60% of the time the weather is good all the time!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and RMI Summit Team 6

On The Map

Any smiley faces in the pancakes?  Glad you got some rest.  Big storms here (well, yes, it is all relative) but all is well.  :)

Posted by: KConstantine on 6/22/2013 at 9:25 pm

Pancakes, huh?  Well, OK.  But you know, the other teams are reporting Pop Tarts.  Since we live at 9500 feet, Bill and I are sure proof that Pop Tarts are the best high altitude food ever made.  But if you guys want to eat pancakes, carry on. 
Love to Steve & Grasshopper from Lisa, Bill, Taii, & Togo

Posted by: Lisa Mackey on 6/22/2013 at 6:56 pm


June 20, 2013

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Make Their Move to 14K Camp

Thursday, June 20th, 2013
We made the move. The wind was blowing most of the night last night. I set my alarm for 2:30 a.m. just to see if the weather was going to allow us to move up camps. Right when my alarm went off, it was as if someone hit a switch and turned the wind off.

We got up, packed up camp, and headed up another 3,000 feet. The move only took us about six hours to hike, but we had to work hard building snow walls once we arrived at Denali’s 14k camp. This camp, as much or more than the other camps we have been in this far, can receive huge winds that pick up at a moment’s notice. We used snow saws to quarry blocks of snow to make walls that surround our tents.

All of this hard work will pay off with a full rest day tomorrow. The sun does not hit this camp until around nine in the morning. I am pretty sure that none of us will be out of our tents until he sun warms us up!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and the RMI Summit Team 6

On The Map

What is the temperature range at 17,200?  Is it balmy?  (“No such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”?)  We’re hoping for both to be good, and for all the luck possible!

Posted by: Kathy Uchal on 6/22/2013 at 6:23 pm

Great to see your progress!!  Hope the weather holds up.  Mtn Mo

Posted by: Mo on 6/22/2013 at 4:33 am

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