Entries By seth burns
June 24, 2022
Thursday, June 23, 2022 9:41 pm PDT
We made the big move from 8,000 to 11,000 ft today. This was on mostly familiar terrain for us, of course. But the unfamiliar parts brought us into a whole new world. We set out at 5:30 AM from the base of Ski Hill in perfect conditions for mountain climbing. It was cool, shady and calm and the snow surface was frozen up nicely. We cruised right on past our food and fuel cache from yesterday and reached the head of the 46-mile long Kahiltna Glacier. What remained was a little steeper terrain on a feeder glacier, but we managed that hard work without any trouble and pulled into camp at 11 AM. Things had clouded up a little, which was a good thing, keeping the sun off us as we did the hard pull into camp. It was nice to be greeted by Andy Bond and his RMI team, enjoying their rest day at 11K. We set into the hard work of building a new camp at a new elevation. The clouds began to fade, and we were stunned at the beauty of our surroundings. Whereas the scenery from within the valleys has been great, now that we are getting up a little, we can start to see out. The glacial ice surrounding us is endlessly fascinating with giant walls and towers pitched at impossible angles. We napped away the intense sun that came with the afternoon. Dinner in a new camp with a new view was excellent.
Tomorrow we’ll go back down for our supplies.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team
June 23, 2022
Wednesday, June 22, 2022 - 9:43 pm PT
We set out at 6:30 AM today for a carry of food and fuel. Skies were clear and winds were calm as we walked through the early morning shadows up Ski Hill. Ski Hill wouldn’t actually have been such great skiing with about a half dozen crevasses opening up, but it wasn’t bad for walking. We enjoyed great views of Denali’s steep South Face and of the rocky southern aspect of Kahiltna Dome. Our loads were considerably lighter than those we carried yesterday and we made good time. The terrain got easier as we cruised along the plateau before Kahiltna Pass. We cached at 9700 ft at about 10 AM, burying the supplies deep enough to thwart the ravens. It took just over an hour to descend to camp, by which time the sun was getting quite strong. We did a few camp chores before diving in the tents to snooze the afternoon away. It was burrito night on the Kahiltna. We filled up and most of the team was getting ready to turn in -under skies that had clouded up- by 7:30.
The plan is to move on up to 11,000' Camp tomorrow if the weather cooperates.
June 22, 2022
Tuesday, June 21, 2022 - 10:02 pm PT
The alarm rang at 12:30 AM today. We sprang right up, ready to escape basecamp and truly get this expedition underway. Skies were clear -which was exactly what we were hoping for in order to get the glacier surface well frozen. Travel is easier when walking atop the snow rather than sinking in, travel is safer when the snow bridging crevasses is frozen solid, and travel is more pleasant when it is cool. We dressed up, had a breakfast together and then we split up to knock down tents and get geared for travel. There is plenty to do on such a morning. Especially the first morning for a team. We were still getting ready three hours later and finally the rope teams started moving at 3:40 AM. We began by going downhill to the main Kahiltna Glacier. It was hard work, trudging along on snowshoes under heavy packs and pulling fully loaded sleds. But it was made pleasant by the incredible scenery - it was particularly beautiful seeing the colorful early morning sunshine lighting the upper slopes of Mt. Foraker. We met a handful of guided teams “heading for the barn”. They’d been successful in reaching the top and were excited to be in the final stretches. Always enjoyable for the guides on our team to see friends from other companies and other continents.
Progress was steady and conditions were good enough. The glacier has obviously lost a lot of snow in recent warm and dry weeks and so crevasse bridges were sagging, but workable. We pulled into our intended camp at the base of Ski Hill (8000’) after about six hours. There was a fair bit of work -as always- to dig a new home in the snow, but we got it done and we’re able to dive in the tents so as to get some well earned naps and some time out of the sun. By our dinner in the dining tent, snow clouds were pushing in from the north and spitting moisture our way. Temperatures were on the chilly side as we did final chores and turned in for the evening. We hope to do a “carry” tomorrow, if given half a chance.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn
June 21, 2022
Monday, June 20, 2022 - 10:04 pm PT
Greetings from 7200 ft on the SE Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. Right where we wanted to be. We left Talkeetna in two classic ski equipped Otter prop planes and headed into the Alaska Range. Clouds were clearing and the views were stunning. The weather in this section of Alaska has been quite dry in recent months and so there wasn’t much snow left outside the range. We had great views of the giant, striped glaciers like the Ruth and the Tokasitna. We landed uphill on the SE Fork at about 11:15. Avery Parrinello’s successful RMI climbing team greeted us and helped us unload, since our then empty planes were taking them toward Talkeetna and home. We exchanged a few hugs and wished each other well and then our team set to building a camp. It was made just slightly difficult. -putting up tents- by our need to stop every few minutes to marvel at the scenery and scale of everything. Mt. Hunter towers over basecamp, seemingly straight up for miles. Mt. Foraker, at 17,400 ft just across the way, looks impossibly massive and formidable. Once camp was up, we dove into some training and review for glacier travel and crevasse rescue. We covered many topics through the afternoon and evening, aiming to have the team well-informed for travel in the early morning hours tomorrow -when the glacier surface is frozen solid. We ate our first dinner on the mountain in a quickly excavated dining room and then did a few last organizational chores before turning in early (in the still bright sun) for some rest.
Great start team!!! Yifei, you’ve got this!!
Posted by: Michael Freedman on 6/21/2022 at 11:31 pm
So exciting to follow!!! So impressive!!! Go, team, go!! Thinking of all of you and wishing you well. Go, Jim, go!!!
Posted by: Deborah Karmozyn on 6/21/2022 at 4:20 pm
June 20, 2022
Sunday, June 19, 2022 - 11:29 p.m. PDT
We got a lot done today! Lots and lots of work to get gear checked and ready for loading on airplanes, but it was the kind of labor that -- when you get it behind you -- makes you realize that fun is just about to start. It was rainy and drizzling in Talkeetna today, and there wasn’t any airplane traffic to and from Kahiltna Base Camp. The pilots we spoke to said it was only their fourth “down day” of the season -- which is a pretty remarkable testament to the good and stable weather that climbers have enjoyed.
We got started with a fine breakfast “meeting” at the hotel, introducing ourselves to one another. But then we moved out to the hangar to give gear checks and get sorted. We received our briefing from the National Park Service and caught up with current events on the mountain. Finally we weighed and labeled all the loads and with everything ready to go we quit for the day and had a nice relaxing outdoor dinner at the brewery in town.
Forecasts suggest we’ll get lucky in the morning.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn and team
June 19, 2022
Saturday June 18th - 11:52pm PT
The Denali team formed up in Anchorage this afternoon. We flew from Seattle and Frankfurt and Johannesburg and a few other places. Not every single piece of luggage made it through, but we have high hopes for getting it all together soon.
It was cloudy in central Alaska today, but we could see hints of mountains as we drove up toward Talkeetna. We made the traditional stop in Wasilla to round out our expedition food supplies, and then got on board the Denali Overland van once again for the final 90 minutes into Talkeetna. A brief stop at K2 Aviation around 6 PM allowed us to offload gear, and then we checked into our rooms at the Swiss Alaska Inn. The team made the short walk into town to relax with outside beers and pizzas. Town was busy and bustling on this endless summer evening. We went to the banks of the mighty Susitna River to see if Denali was visible, but the clouds stayed put and made us guess at what we were missing.
Tomorrow morning, we’ll meet over breakfast and dive into the details of packing and prepping for our Denali West Buttress Expedition.
Dave Hahn and Team
Good luck to all team members!
Stay safe everyone!
An adventure of a lifetime!
Posted by: Margaret Nolan on 6/20/2022 at 2:04 pm
You Go Jim!
Posted by: Gary Gustafson on 6/20/2022 at 4:36 am
June 15, 2022
RMI Guide Mike Haugen and the Expedition Skills Seminar - Kautz team have returned from the mountain. The team spent three nights on the mountain and were able to do a lot of great training. The reached 11,000' before deciding to turn around due to poor route conditions and high avalanche danger. The team descended to Paradise and is back at Rainier BaseCamp to celebrate their accomplishment and close down their program.
June 9, 2022
The Four Day Climb June 6 - 9 spent a windy night at Camp Muir last night. High winds and deteriorating weather kept the group at Camp Muir and unable to make a summit attempt. RMI Guides Seth Burns and Grayson Swingle reported consistant winds 30-40 mph with gusts up to 50 mph. The teams started their descent from Camp Muir around 8 am and will be returning to Rainier Basecamp later this morning.
May 12, 2022
What a difference a day makes. 40mph snow and wind at Camp Muir. A perfect day to train inside.
After a cloudy walk up the Muir Snowfield on Monday we enjoyed two gorgeous, sunny days of training on Tuesday and Wednesday, learning the basics of snow and ice climbing, glacier travel, crevasse rescue and ice climbing.
This morning the weather has changed! Blowing snow all night and day has us thankful for the shelter of the bunkhouse at Camp Muir where we're learning about avalanches - how to avoid them, use the tools of the trade and perform a rescue.
We'll continue with other topics of interest and get out for some hands on training if and when we can do it safely outside.
Everyone is doing great and happy we got so much training in even though our summit aspirations are no longer realistic after finding serious signs of avalanche hazard on the slopes leading to the summit.
We'll be headed down tomorrow morning after some training and packing up in the morning.
Thank you for all of the updates for those of us at lower elevations here in the Twin Cities and others! I am sorry to hear you won’t be able to summit but am glad you all are taking precautions. Enjoy the views from up there, it’s something not everyone gets to experience in their lifetimes. Good work team!!
Posted by: April Londo on 5/13/2022 at 4:34 pm
April 30, 2022
The Five Day Climb April 26 - 30 led by RMI Guides Avery Parrinello and James Bealer completed their Mountaineering School on April 27 and made the ascent to Camp Muir on April 28. The teams spent the last two nights at 10,080' Camp Muir. Climbers were able to ascend to Ingraham Flats but due to adverse weather conditions were unable to climb any higher. Today the team is descending from Camp Muir to Paradise. We look forward to seeing them at Rainier BaseCamp this afternoon.
Bummer guys! Sorry about the weather! It’s all about the journey and not the destination though! I hope you learned a lot, met some cool people, and are excited for the next one.
Posted by: Constantine V on 5/1/2022 at 4:16 pm