Entries By pete van deventer
August 7, 2016
We had a wonderful day today. After waking to sunny skies overhead, we crawled out of our tents at a leisurely hour and enjoyed a nice breakfast in base camp. A few cows made it into the fenced in area of base camp overnight, and were apparently enjoying their breakfast as much as we enjoyed ours. After packing up and shoring up camp against our new bovine friends, we started working our way uphill towards Camp One.
The walk was quite pleasant, as we had a nice breeze, good company, and pleasant vistas all around. Mt. Elbrus was visible to us all day, and as we got closer, we were able to get a good view of the route, and climbers descending it. It looks to be in great shape, and everyone is excited. After about three hours we found a good spot to cache our gear, and divided it up into duffel bags. We descended with nearly empty packs, taking a detour to Mushroom Rocks. An interesting group of rock formations that look like, well, mushrooms. Very weird.
Upon arrival back at camp, snacking and napping commenced and continued until dinner time. We ate a fine meal of spaghetti and watched distant thunderstorms roll by. Tomorrow we will move to Camp One. Everyone is feeling good, and excited to get going uphill. You’ll hear from us again tomorrow.
RMI Guides JM Gorum and Pete Van Deventer
On The Map
August 5, 2016
The mountain was calling and we answered. We spent the last two days making our way towards Elbrus. Our apologies for the lack of a dispatch yesterday, but the small city of Kislovodsk that is our jumping off point is not a hotbed of wifi access. Some smooth flights got us that far yesterday, and we spent the afternoon shopping for food and putting the final touches on our expedition preparations. We were overjoyed when the bags for three of our team members finally arrived in Moscow, and they were able to grab them and rejoin us late last night. The woes of travel.
This morning we boarded a new off-road sprinter van type machine that our driver Alexei referred to as his “Russian hammer,” and started the winding drive through the steppes of the Caucasus. After an hour and a bit we left the pavement and set out along the four wheel road - which at times had our hearts creeping towards our mouths with the precipitous slopes that drop from the side of the road - that takes us to base camp at 8,300’. We arrived, said goodbye to Alexei, whose jolly laugh had kept the mood light, and set up our compound. An afternoon hike into the surrounding hills let us stretch our legs and find an incredible waterfall that cuts straight through a large rock ridge, reemerging on the other side. An afternoon siesta led to dinner, and just as we were ready to serve it up, the rain started with a few flashes of lightning. We retreated to our tents with our meals, and are now getting ready to hit the hay as we listen to rain drops beat a percussion on our tents, happy to be dry.
All the best from here,
On The Map
August 3, 2016
Last night’s sleep was refreshing for all, and everyone looked chipper as they sidled in to breakfast. That was good because we had a whirlwind day ahead of us. We headed over to the Resurrection Gate of Red Square to Victoria, our tour guide. After a slow start waiting in the queue to see a national treasure, Lenin’s entombed body, things got going with a tour through St Basil’s Cathedral, abyssal made up of 10 churches, all in the same foundation, and to the GUM, the large Soviet era department store that now carries the biggest brands (Prada, Gucci, Armani, etc.). We made a stop for ice cream, then cruised around the Kremlin wall to see the changing of the guards, and on in to the Kremlin, and more cathedrals. We closed the tour down with lunch at a delicious Ukrainian restaurant, and then into the afternoon to sort details and nap. Dinner at a restaurant in the nearby design and architecture school went long, but was delicious, and no one minded given the good company we are in. All in all, we had a stellar day, and are excited to take steps towards the mountain early tomorrow morning. By tomorrow evening, we will be in Kislovodsk, ready to launch to Elbrus Northside Base Camp, where the mountain adventure begins, and we leave the city life behind for a bit.
We are very much looking forward to it!
Sounds like the trip is terrific, if a bit soggy. Have a safe climb - looking forward to hearing more. Have fun Ed!
Posted by: Gayle Hutton on 8/8/2016 at 6:50 pm
Looking forward to reading the blog! Wishing all of you a terrific and safe climb.
Posted by: Gayle Hutton on 8/4/2016 at 9:33 pm
August 2, 2016
We have all assembled in the Russian capital city of Moscow. Most of the group arrived this afternoon after nearly 24 hours, or in some cases more, of traveling. Needless to say, everyone is tired, a bit jetlagged, and we’re still waiting on a few bags, but psyched to be here and ready to go. We caught a great dinner down the street at a gastropub, and then are now headed to bed to sleep off the travel and be ready for our tour of the Kremlin and nearby cathedrals tomorrow. Thanks for following our Russian adventure, we’ll be in touch again soon.
Have fun dad! Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks! -Mitch F.
Posted by: Mitch Freeman on 8/5/2016 at 10:56 am
Great expedition Pete + crew…Methinks you are a rookie to Russia right ? Best Waltero
Posted by: Walter Glover on 8/3/2016 at 4:00 am
July 20, 2016
Posted by: Pete Van Deventer
The Four Day Summit Climb led by RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning. Pete reported cold, clear skies with winds at about 25 mph, and a very nice day to climb. The team has started their descent and is en route back to Camp Muir.
Congratulations to today’s team!
Way to absolutely go Dani & Eric!!!! So very proud of you.
Be safe!!! We love you :)
Posted by: Heidi & Ian on 7/22/2016 at 6:02 am
July 16, 2016
The Four Day Summit Climb Teams for July 13 - 16 led by RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer and Mike Haugen reached the summit of Mt. Rainier this morning. They reported clear skies with winds around 20 mph and an over all great day. Both teams were beginning their descent from the crater rim around 7 am.
Congratulations to today’s climbers!
Great job very proud of you.
Posted by: Robert Brennan on 7/16/2016 at 4:54 pm
From Zev and Max: Daddy, we love you so much and are so proud of you!! Come home safely.
Posted by: Janna, Zev, and Max on 7/16/2016 at 12:09 pm
July 10, 2016
Posted by: Pete Van Deventer
RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer and the Four Summit Climb team were unable to summit this morning. They encountered avalanche hazard that forced them to turn at 12,500.’ They began their decent at 7:05 this morning and should be back at Rainier Basecamp early this afternoon.
What is the outlook for Tues and Wed? No summits the past 3 days.
Posted by: Jamie Adams on 7/10/2016 at 11:49 am
June 19, 2016
Posted by: Pete Van Deventer
The Four Day Summit Climb June 16 - 29, 2016 made their summit attempt this morning but turned back after reaching Ingraham Flats due to high avalanche danger. RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer and the team returned to safely to Camp Muir. The team began their descent to Paradise at 8:00 am PT.
June 15, 2016
The Mt. Rainier Four Day Summit Climb teams led by RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer and Mike King turned at the top of Disappointment Cleaver this morning. The team made the prudent decision to call Disappointment Cleaver their high point after assessing the snow pack determined the avalanche danger to be high. The team will descend back to Camp Muir before continuing their descent to Paradise later today.
Well I was supposed to climb with you guys June 12-15, but I accepted a job and I ended up moving from Washington state to Texas and June 13 was my first day at the new job. I had to forfeit my position to climb, just a few weeks ago.
I know the feeling of training for months and then not getting to summit - it’s a bummer. This would have been my 4th time climbing with RMI on Rainier. I hope my message can reach someone new to RMI and mountaineering. Every climb is different and you learn something new each climb. It’s okay to be bummed for now, but don’t hangup your boots.
RMI is a class act and the more guides you meet, the more you will be inspired to keep climbing.
So, if you have that feeling of disappointment or being upset, know that it is normal and you can still tell your friends with pride, you are a mountaineer and that you will be back on Rainier soon. Happy trails. Matt
Posted by: Matt Stone on 6/16/2016 at 6:00 pm
June 7, 2016
As our expedition has wound down and we’ve had a few moments to reflect, we wanted to send one final dispatch. By now, everyone has made it home, caught up on some needed sleep and recovery, and nursed some bruised and battered feet back from the long walk out. The memories of a perfect summit day, the many days in tents, the incredible vistas at the Edge of the World and 17 camp are still vivid however!
After an incredible summit day, we packed our camp the next morning as Brent’s team prepared for their summit bid. Though there wasn’t a rush, everyone was motivated by the knowledge that at the end of our long descent lay Talkeetna, with fresh food, beer, flip flops, and clean clothes. With heavy packs on once more, we made short work of the West Buttress, coated in a new layer of an inch or two of snow, and cruised down the fixed lines to 14 camp where we were met by Tyler Jones and team. To them, we owe a lot, as they had taken their rest day to dig up our cache for us, organize and sort it, and met us with water to satiate ourselves and refill bottles. So thankful, and sad that we didn’t have more time to spend with them, we shortly wished them luck and continued down to 11,200.’ It was progressing into the evening hours, and with snow falling and another cache to dig up, we decided to spend the night there. We made a hasty camp this time, with much less concern for walls, or even a flat tent site, and spent the evening rigging our sleds, and packing bags to be ready for an early AM departure.
When we woke, it was still snowing and we sat inside a cloud that blurred the ground, horizon, and sky all into one even color. There are lots of cliches for it: the inside of a ping pong ball, in the white room, or wading through a jug of milk, regardless, that is what we did all day. Flying pretty much completely on instruments, with the occasional wand to guide our way, we made our path down the lower Kahiltna to the airstrip. At one point, an errant black want appeared far off to the teams’ right. As we moved towards it, it shape began to shift eerily, until a black, Canada Goose head came into focus sticking out of the snow. As we realized what we were looking at, the goose shifted, it’s body erupting out of the snow, and it took a look at us and took off in flight, gliding away into the otherworldly landscape.
The poor visibility and trail breaking added time to our march out, and just after noon, we walked into Base Camp, triumphantly, and relieved to be done with the heavy packs and sleds. The weather however provided little hope of flying out, and with an organized low pressure system moving over our area for the next five days, there was some thought that we could be in for the long Base Camp wait. We set up tents, dug up our last cache, sorted gear into duffels to be ready for the flight out whenever it happened, and put snowshoes back on to the Base Camp community chore of packing out the runway. With our work accomplished, we settled into tents to try and calm our minds and find our waiting game zen. Imperceptibly, the tents began to grow lighter, and then a report from a high altitude sightseeing plane made it sound as though there might be a path for our bush planes to get in. Before we knew it, word came that the wonderful folks at K2 Aviation had launched every plane they had to come get us, and that four Otters were in the air on their way. We stripped camp in moments, and soon the silent sky was filled with the buzz of small aircraft as they all came into the runway in squadron formation. Hardly able to believe our luck, we threw bags aboard, found our seats, stowed our carryons, buckled our seatbelts and we were off.
Landing in Talkeetna after 23 days on the mountain is an amazing experience; it was raining lightly, and the colors, sounds of life, and smells were a massive influx on the senses. We jumped out of our three week old clothes and into cotton, and headed to the West Rib, the famous Talkeetna restaurant and bar, for a celebratory dinner followed by revelry at the Fairview. Just as quickly as the trip started, it wound down, as the team boarded a shuttle the next morning to Anchorage to catch flights back to home and our loved ones.
This trip was marked by a team that endured consistent spats of harsh weather, and endured it well. Sitting isn’t always easy, especially when you have to leave the tent into a blizzard every 45 minutes to dig out your tent again, but the team hung tough and stayed positive, and because of their wherewithal, were able to string together one of the more beautiful summit days that the guides have seen. We’d love to thank the whole team for their patience, strength, teamwork, and desire; it was an honor to climb with you all. Similarly, Robby and Jess are two of the most fantastic co-guides that one could ever hope to work with. It took us awhile to reach the top, but it made it that much more rewarding in the end. We’re closing out an incredible trip that everyone involved will remember for the rest of our lives. Thanks for following along on the journey.
RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer