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Entries By pepper dee

June 28, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Back In Talkeetna

Sunday, June 28, 2015 - 10:15 am PT

It was touch and go at base camp. We woke up to clouds and some very wet snow. As expected, as soon as we started to fire up the stoves to make breakfast and hot drinks, the skies started to open just a bit. I still didn’t think that the weather was flight worthy, but I was glad that the pilots did. We were told that we had 20 minutes to be packed and ready because the planes were already approaching. We were ready in 10! We got the first half of our team onto a plane and off the glacier before the weather started to sock back in. We had to wait for the first plane to go back to Talkeetna, drop off our first group of climbers, and then return. Luckily the weather cleared back up a bit and we squeaked out the rest of the climbers for the amazing flight back to the world of great food and pillows. After a couple of great meals and a series of showers, the now legendary “El Siete” crew is fresh, semi-recovered, and ready to be reintroduced into society. 

Thank you to the group for being such a great team and for all of the families and friends that have supported us.

RMI 7 “El Siete”

  I want to say, once again, to Mike Haugen about these daily posts and pictures: it has meant so much to the families of these fine climbers. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Posted by: Chris on 6/28/2015 at 6:06 pm

  Whoopee! So glad to have you off the mountain safe and secure at last. Doug is that you standing to the left? I can see everyone is proud and delighted to have had this grand adventure.

Posted by: Chris on 6/28/2015 at 6:03 pm

June 27, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Hoping for Clear Skies at Base Camp

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 11:40 pm PT

We made it… almost. We left our camp at 11,200 feet around 4 am this morning.  The group was traveling quickly in spite of heavy packs and sleds. All was well until we encountered a wet, snowy drizzle around 7,800 feet. We trudged on knowing the end was just a few hours away. When we finally reached base camp, the snow stopped, but the clouds did not permit planes to come and pick us up. The rest of the day consisted of napping, to compensate for the lack of sleep over the past few days, and hoping for clear skies tomorrow. RMI Guides Pepper and Uchal are working on their clear skies interpretive dance in the event that we wake up to clouds tomorrow.

RMI 7 “El Siete”

On The Map

We can’t wait to hear from you, Dadio!!!! Love, Margaret

Posted by: Margaret on 6/27/2015 at 5:19 pm

  Go Pepper and Uchal! We want you guys home so dance-away, dance-away, dance-away all and get those planes in : ). Miss you, Doug, stay safe.

Posted by: Chris on 6/27/2015 at 3:34 pm

June 26, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Decent Descent to 11K Camp

Friday June 26th 12:30 am PT

We are on our way down!! After waking up when the sun hit our tents at 17,000, we packed up and headed downhill. Although sore and tired from a long summit day, we made good time down to 14,000 feet. We met up with Billy Nugent’s group and had a healthy round of hugs and high fives. We picked up some cached gear and partook in the time honored tradition of fitting twice as much gear into a pack than should be possible and carrying said pack down another 3,000 feet to 11k Camp and our awaiting sleds. We are currently in a holding/napping pattern at 11k. We are going to walk early in the morning towards base camp and the landing strip in hopes of an early flight to Talkeetna. That is weather dependent of course!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

On The Map

  Great news! Can’t wait to hear your stories and see your pictures. I am sure everyone on El Siete has wonderful stories
to share. I am looking forward to Doug’s!

Posted by: Chris on 6/26/2015 at 7:18 pm

Great news! Stay safe on your descent, El Siete.

Posted by: Judi on 6/26/2015 at 4:04 pm

June 24, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Summit!

Wednesday June 24th 11:45 pm PT

We woke up around seven this morning to one of the warmest mornings I have ever experienced at 17,000 feet camp. We got ready slowly and departed for the top just after nine. The weather was perfect for us pretty much the entire climb. There was a little bit of cold, a little bit of hot, but mostly perfect all day. The El Siete crew walked to the summit in style a little after five this afternoon and spent a good deal of time taking pictures from the top. We had a smooth descent and pulled into camp just after 9:00 p.m. Alaska time for a twelve-hour round trip. We are getting the boys fed and put to bed so we can get up early to start our way out to basecamp and eventually back to you!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

Audio transcription - Wednesday June 24th 6:30 pm PT
Hi, it’s Mike Haugen. I am standing with the RMI el Siete on the summit of Denali. Beautiful weather. We topped out about 5:15 in the evening and are miles above the clouds. We are saying our congratulations to the team and head on back to high camp and send the blog from there.  Hope all of our families are doing well. Thank you for your support.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen calls in from the Denali summit!

On The Map

Congratulations to the hole team! Can’t wait to hear all about the climb and to see pictures! Now come home safe, Fredrik!

Posted by: May-Linn on 6/25/2015 at 3:24 pm

Congratulations to all of you, and well done to my norwegian friends Erlend and Fredrik! I was very happy to receive the news today! :-)

Posted by: Viggo Finset on 6/25/2015 at 2:26 pm

June 24, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen and Team Move to 14,000’ Ready For Summit Attempt

June 23, 2015 9:51 pm PST

We had a successful move up to 17,000 foot camp on Mt. McKinley. The weather was perfect for traveling on the fixed lines and above. Climbing on the amazing ridge that crests the West Buttress of Denali is always one of my favorite parts of the climb because of the beautiful rock an the exposure. I think all of the El Siete boys had a good time weaving through the rocks and snow that provide the natural protection on the ridge. As of now, we are planning to try to summit tomorrow. The forecast looks good and the crew is ready. Wish us luck!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

On The Map

Will be in Talkeetna to play at the Fairview Inn on Wednesday. Hope to see you then if you have not flown out already.
Bom sucesso!!!

Posted by: Nick Kantar on 6/24/2015 at 3:59 pm

Proud of you Mr. Chowdry….to the top my friend

Posted by: Tony on 6/24/2015 at 3:51 pm

June 23, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Gear Up for Move to High Camp

June 22, 2015 11:30 pm PST

We spent what is hopefully our last day at 14,000 feet resting and getting geared up to move to our High Camp at 17,000 feet. It started out very sunny, but soon the clouds climbed up and whited us out. The clouds gave us a dusting of snow as well as some reprieve from the brutal solar radiation that can come with the sunny skies high on a mountain. The weather is looking good for us to move up and make a push to the top over the next couple of days. Wish us luck and do your good weather jigs for us.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

On The Map

Doug -Thinking of you Bro and following the progress closely. Sending all our good energy here to you and the team. Go get it! —Don

Posted by: Don Watson on 6/24/2015 at 7:35 am

Good luck to the whole team! Doing the good weather dance and sending good vibes across the miles to all of you. Judi

Posted by: Judi on 6/23/2015 at 2:28 pm

June 22, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt.McKinley: Haugen & Team Cache Above the Fixed Lines

June 21, 2015 11:09pm PST

Our alarms woke us up early to a beautifully clear, but cold, morning. We had breakfast and set out around 5 a.m. to cache some gear up higher on the mountain. The route above 14,000 camp becomes very steep and we use fixed lines the gain the West Buttress at 16,200’. When we got to the top of the fixed lines, our El Siete crew had not had enough. We decided to do some more climbing and bury our cache below a huge rock feature called Washburn’s Thumb at 16,500 feet. Although we had to do some delicate passing of some upward teams on our way down, we made it back to camp in good time. We are taking a rest day tomorrow and then hopefully moving up to high camp the following day. That is all weather dependent of course!

Mike Haugen and RMI Team 7 “El Siete”

Thanks for your postings, it’s impressing what you achieve up there in that beautiful mountains. And Erlend; it was so nice to speak with you this morning, made my day and the rest of the time you are away.I called your mother and Lorents, they were so glad to hear that everything is OK with you,Fredrik and the whole team. Robin came today,he’s in good mood and I think he will be staying for some time :)Wish you the best for the days that are coming,you are all fighters up there it seems :) Love you E. Hugs and kisses, Hilde

Posted by: Hilde Hestflått on 6/22/2015 at 2:04 pm

It is amazing that you had the strength to continue even past the expected drop zone. You are mountain warriors for sure! Talked to Doug last night and it was so good to hear from him!! We are very excited for his adventure up Denali.

Posted by: Chris on 6/22/2015 at 1:10 pm

June 21, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen and Team Rest at 14,000’ Camp

June 20, 2015 10:01 pm PT

It started snowing when we went to bed last night and it did not stop until we woke up this morning. We have made such good time so far, so we decided to take a weather/rest day today. It turned out to be a great decision since it turned into a whiteout and began snowing again by midday. We made a half day out of making breakfast quesadillas and hanging out in the cook tent. I am not really sure where the rest of the day went! We are sitting in the sun as of dinner, so I expect we will be able execute our cache plan tomorrow. 

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

On The Map

We love the blog updates! Happy Father’s Day to Matt Krull. We miss you buddy and we’re sure your family does as well. Keep up the great work and we look forward to seeing pictures of you on top of the highest mountain peak in North America!

Posted by: Scott & Scott on 6/22/2015 at 9:28 am

Sounds like it’s been smooth sailing so far! I’m giving updates all the time, thanks for the blog. No snow in the Midwest—hot first day of summer, and the corn is as tall as I am! Tell Brian I planted more, weeded the garden, and gave the critters all some love. You’ve got fans in Iowa, Texas, Hawaii, Japan—you are all in our thoughts. Judi

Posted by: Judi on 6/21/2015 at 7:00 pm

June 19, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

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

Friday June 19th 11:15 pm PT

After a much needed full night of sleep, we woke up to sunny, perfect weather. The Uchal-Dee power duo made us some delicious pancakes for breakfast. We did some training for our next adventure on the fixed lines that we will find on the steep slopes that lead us up to our next camp. The rest of the day was spent enjoying the great weather. We are going to bed with a light snow showering down on our tent. Our plan is to try to carry some gear up towards 17k camp...if it clears that is.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen


Please tell my dad “Happy Father’s Day” from his family. We love him and are thoughts and prayers are with him.

We can’t wait to hear the stories…

Thanks for your posts.


Posted by: Josh on 6/20/2015 at 11:52 pm

  Beautiful pictures! I am glad the blueberry pancakes materialized for the hungry gents. Hope the weather holds for you guys. We are at our cabin on the lake riding our ATV’s and fishing in the lake for Father’s Day weekend. Our adventures are much more mild. Enjoy your Father’s Day adventure tomorrow, Doug, and we will enjoy ours.

Posted by: Chris on 6/20/2015 at 4:47 pm

June 18, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Move into 14K Camp

Thursday June 18th 10:15 pm PT

Today was another early wake up, and then we broke camp and retraced our steps back up to 14K Camp. Everyone did great with the move, and the name of the game for the rest of the day was beating the heat around camp, moving in and mentally preparing for a much deserved day of rest tomorrow. The word on the street is blueberry pancakes could be involved.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

On The Map

Thanks for the posts.  They are great.  Go Aaron, we are praying for you and for good weather.  Thanks to the entire team!

Bob / Dad

Posted by: Bob Telford on 6/19/2015 at 6:51 pm

It’s so nice to reed that the whole team are doing good!:) All the best wishes for Erlend and Fredrik and everyone > you’ll make it. Erlend: :)(Robin is ok,  and Charlie didn’t do anything wrong since you left, I am cleaning the whole house this weekend and I’m not going out,can’t wait till you are back. Stay safe <3 Love you, h,  Trondheim, Norway

Posted by: Hilde on 6/19/2015 at 3:01 pm

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