Entries By nikki champion
August 13, 2018
RMI Guide Steve Gately radioed in at 7:00 AM PT this morning to report a successful summit climb. The team was spending some time enjoying the crater and views of Mt. Rainier before gearing up for their descent. Steve reported light winds and good conditions.
Congratulations to today’s climbers!
Yahoooo!!! Congrats boys!! Not sure if this is your group, but it has to be one of the ones reported! Love and miss you! Can’t wait to hear all about it!!
Posted by: MK on 8/16/2018 at 4:24 am
August 5, 2018
The Four Day Summit Climb August 2 - 5 reached the summit of Mt. Rainier today with 100% of their team! RMI Guides Robby Young, Nikki Champion and Bryce Foster lead their team to the summit of Mt. Rainier around 6:30 AM PT. The team enjoyed a beautiful morning on the mountain with clear skies and good temps. They began their descent from the crater rim around 7:30 AM.
Congratulations to today’s Summit Climb team!
Katy, hooray for you!! We are so proud of you!! Love Mom &Dad;
Posted by: Penny Bowman on 8/7/2018 at 6:36 pm
Uncle Matt rocks! Go Blue!!
Love, Sarah &Autumn;
Posted by: Jen on 8/6/2018 at 4:11 pm
July 8, 2018
Sunday, July 8, 2018 - 3:32 AM PT
The team woke… slowly, at 11,000 this morning. Everybody remarked on the value of low altitude slumber. We ate and determined to get lower in honor of the former “tropical storm” headed our way. By this morning, we were the only team left on Denali. While it wouldn’t be quite “normal” to take on the lower Kahiltna Glacier in July during the afternoon, we decided that a try was in order. The inbound storm was a definite- and it was clear it would be snowing hard for days on end… incompatible with both climbing and flying. So we pulled down Camp at 11,000’ by 11:45 AM and got moving with heavy packs and sleds. Conditions were just plain easy to the base of Ski Hill at 7,800’. And then -although we crossed a few spooky snow bridges, things were phenomenally well put together for July 7. We made fine progress to the base of Heartbreak Hill. And although our last 1.5 hours was uphill, it was free of dicey bridges and nervy crevasses. Base Camp was gone at this late date… we passed on to the traditional late season upper strip 20 minutes farther along, reaching it at 7:30 PM. K2 Aviation already had planes in the air for us as they were anxious to beat the storm for our extraction. As we crossed the range, we saw the weather moving in while our ski otters dodged cloud after cloud. We landed in Talkeetna at 9:15 PM and raced to dinner in our mountain clothing, trying to beat closing times in the conventional world. In town, we caught up with all of the neighboring teams from the past three weeks and shared escape stories. We’re all full of amazement and admiration for the mountain that we didn’t climb, but also great satisfaction for the climb that we did have together.
Thanks for keeping track of us… until the next climb.
July 7, 2018
Saturday, July 7, 2018 2:37 AM PST
Some days you eat the bear…
We’re down at 11,000 ft. We had lofty ambitions this morning but Denali played hard to get. There was a mean wind blowing through much of the night and sadly right through the morning. We waited it out as long as we could but called it at mid day. Tough as it was to let go of the summit, it was pretty obvious that it was out of reach under the circumstances. We broke camp at 17 and got moving down -as did every last climber on the mountain. A storm is moving in, according to the forecasters. For that though, today was spectacular once we were on the move. There is a bunch of forest fire smoke creating a haze, but we still got great views down to the Kahiltna Glacier as we carefully walked the ridge crest, dropped down the fixed lines, dug out our sleds at 14k and pushed on around windy corner with heavy loads. We piled on down the squirrel hills and motorcycle, and came into 11,000 at 9:30 PM. Our tents went up fast and dinner wasn’t far behind. The air down here is chock full of oxygen and it isn’t nearly so cold as we’ve gotten used to. We’ll get some low altitude sleep and plot our final escape to the airstrip soon.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team
What an awesome team. The best part of mountain climbing is being on the mountain and experiencing nature first hand. We are really proud of you all.
Posted by: Randy Salo on 7/7/2018 at 9:47 pm
Hey gang. Congrats on a great effort. It sounds like Mother Nature was tuff today. I’m glad you’re all well and safely at 11k camp. Enjoy the good air and a safe trip to the airstrip. It was a treat sharing time in the mountains with all of you. Jon
Posted by: Jon on 7/7/2018 at 7:40 pm
July 6, 2018
Thursday, July 5, 2018 10:25 PM PST
Today was better weather than we expected -after a snowy and blowy night- it was crystal clear and calm at camp when the sun hit, there was a sea of clouds below. But the winds were blowing up on Denali Pass and the South Peak until early afternoon which discouraged us from giving it a go. We’ve got reason to believe that tomorrow -Friday- will be our day. We chalked up another 17,000’ rest day and hope that the extra time up high has made us more ready for success. We’re definitely feeling a little more like our old selves now compared to when we first rolled into 17k.
A short walk from camp to the big drop off and we can look down on the empty camp at 14,000’. The last groups of the season are here now and looking to take their shot tomorrow too.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
I’m hoping by the time I write this comment that you already summited on Friday. However, I’m no stranger to these climbs and understand she could take a few more days if conditions dictate…. All the best Tom. God Speed brother!
Posted by: Darcy on 7/6/2018 at 10:57 pm
Happy 50th birthday Scott!
Posted by: Michelle Coffey on 7/6/2018 at 6:54 pm
July 4, 2018
Tuesday, July 3, 2018 - 9:52 PM PT
We could see forever this morning, and then it got better. The high clouds were gone, the low clouds were gone and the middle clouds were gone. We were up at six and walking by 8:45 in the cool shadow of the South Peak. By noon we’d topped out the fixed ropes and were starting up along the phenomenal crest of the West Buttress. We never got anything stronger than gentle breezes, despite our exposed position. There were a few big smiles as the gang came up past Washburn’s Thumb and began to flirt with 17,000 feet. We pulled into the 17,200 ft camp in mid afternoon, six hours after leaving our Camp at 14,000’. Building camp was hard in the rarefied air, but we got it done and sat down to a six PM dinner in our newest snow dining room. We talked about how a summit day might work tomorrow and how to prepare tonight. We will need to get a little bit lucky on the weather, and everybody will need a good night’s rest… but then if it all works out, we’ll be ready to take advantage. Light, high clouds have taken over the western sky, but the sun is still powering through at 8:45 PM and we can see rivers, tundra, mountains, glaciers and planet Earth for hundreds of miles.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
On The Map
I hope by now you have summited and are starting back down. Great job!
Posted by: Roger Coffey on 7/5/2018 at 8:24 am
Wishing you all a happy 4th! Send it Tom!
Posted by: Joe Walker on 7/4/2018 at 9:11 pm
July 3, 2018
Monday, July 2, 2018 - 10:17 PM PT
A fine summer’s day in the Alaska Range. The gang slept late today, but when we emerged, the views were amazing. We could see clear down to Mt Spurr and the Tordrillos. Some clouds were still playing around the South Peak of Denali and it appeared to be a little windy up that way, but as we had a slow and yummy pancake breakfast, nobody had complaints about the weather at 14,000’ Camp. This rest day was just as relaxing as we could have hoped for. Even so, we weren’t totally relaxed… everyone is getting keyed up for the summit bid now. We prepared for moving up tomorrow and we hydrated, rested, ate, read and sorted gear (again). We’ll see what kind of morning we get tomorrow.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
On The Map
Congrats on your continued progress. I wish you great success as you continue your progress to the summit. I’m doing well and felt immediate improvement as I moved down the mountain. I rested well with no breathing difficulty in Talkeetna. I’m sad I’m not with you guys. I’ll vicariously celebrate thru you!!
Posted by: Jon Hirsch on 7/3/2018 at 3:14 pm
Continued prayers for clear skies and calm winds for your climb higher Tom!!!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 7/3/2018 at 10:09 am
July 2, 2018
Sunday, July 1, 2018 - 11:14 PM PT
This was the day we were looking for. Even so, it looked a little gusty up high at first, so we dragged our feet a little and lingered over breakfast. The sun hit at 9:30 and we got walking at 10:30. Our goal, of course, was to carry food and supplies up onto the West Buttress and to establish a cache that will help us when we commit to moving up to 17,000 ft. But our goal was also to get familiar with the steep part of this climb -the fixed ropes- and to build on our acclimatization by getting a good workout in at altitude. We did all of that today. Things were slightly on the crowded side, but that didn’t give us much trouble in the end. It is close to the end of the Denali climbing season, now that we are in July, but the last 100 or so climbers all flew on at once due to the five day storm that preceded our arrival. And we’ve mostly been on the same travel schedules since those 100 folks are all in various guided parties. But we know and like many of the people so it hasn’t -to this point- seemed so crowded. But all those folks needing to get on the same ropes to reach the crest of the West Buttress means that some patience will be required. We turned out to be patient today, waiting our turn, but it wasn’t so hard to be that way in sunny, pleasant weather and with fantastic scenery all around. The upside for us was that the teams ahead of us kicked a perfect staircase in the snow up the steep headwall. We topped out at 16,200 in surprisingly fine conditions -the exposed ridge crest can often be cold and windy. As it was 3 PM we declared victory and established a cache -burying it all to keep our supplies from the ravens. Our descent was smooth and easy since we now had the whole place to ourselves. We were back down to camp by 5 PM and relaxing over dinner a couple of hours later. Rest day tomorrow and then up for good.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
On The Map
Glad your climb is going good! Hannah, looking forward to talking to you and seeing your pictures!
Posted by: Shannon Smith on 7/3/2018 at 11:28 am
I’m SO excited for you guys! How fabulous the weather is helping!! Keep pushing…not long now
Posted by: Sue Mamer on 7/2/2018 at 9:08 pm
July 1, 2018
Saturday, June 30th - 10:30 pm PT
The snow quit abruptly last night at around 11 PM after about a foot of new. Forecasts called for more snow today -about a 70 percent chance of it. So we were on our guard. But this day dawned crisp cold and clear above us (with a sea of cloud below). For various reasons we opted not to pull the trigger on our carry today… there were traffic jams and a lot of new snow to wallow through. For exercise and a thrill, we roped up and ventured over to the “edge of the world” a rock outcrop at the edge of Genet Basin. From that edge, the world drops vertically for four thousand feet to a branch of the NE Kahiltna Glacier. We stepped out to the apex of rock overhanging the drop and mugged for photos while the clouds swirled in and out mysteriously.
The afternoon ended up restful and pleasant… and not so snowy. We’ll be ready to climb tomorrow.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
On The Map
SWEET! So glad to hear the weather is cooperating
Posted by: Sue Mamer on 7/2/2018 at 8:28 am
I cant imagine the experience and beauty you are all having! So Awesome! Climb high Tom!
Posted by: Dave Kestel on 7/2/2018 at 5:10 am
June 30, 2018
Friday, June 29, 2018 9:53 PM PST
We weren’t feeling it today. Although we’d prepared to carry up onto the West Buttress, the morning weather didn’t look all that inviting. We watched and waited and ate breakfast, but then declared a rest day. The forecasts had predicted a snowstorm coming onto the mountain and we figured they were getting it right this time. Luckily though, it came in slowly enough for Mike Haugen and his team to climb down from 17 camp. We were certainly happy to see them pass through 14 in the latter part of the afternoon. The really heavy snow began to fall just as they were leaving to go a little lower. It seemed to be coming down at about three inches an hour while we were eating dinner in our well fortified dining tent. The good news is that it is coming down without any wind… so far. By bedtime we could hear avalanches beginning to pour down regularly on the steep -and thankfully distant- slopes surrounding our flat basin. We’ll each be taking turns digging out the camp tonight.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team
That is a lot of snowfall. Back in the lower 48, a one inch per hour qualifies as a snow emergency. Stay safe all of you and hopefully by the time you read this, you will on your way again.
Posted by: Roger Coffey on 7/1/2018 at 8:02 am
So proud of all of you and happy things are going well! Wish I was there. It won’t be long now before you’re all standing on the Summit!
Posted by: Sue Mamer on 6/30/2018 at 10:07 pm