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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team on Summit!

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 30, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 20,320'

Update Saturday, May 30th 8:30 pm PDT

Mike Walter & team were safely back at camp by 6 pm PDT. They will begin their descent to Basecamp tomorrow.

Saturday, May 30th 2:40 pm PDT

RMI Guide Mike Walter and team are standing on the summit of Mt. McKinley! Mike reported a strong team and and short-sleeve weather on top. The team will begin making their descent shortly and will send a dispatch when they are back at camp.

Way to go team!

The view of the Alaska Range from the summit of Mt. McKinley, AK. Photo: RMI Collection

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Way to go team! So excited to hear this news.  Eric - we look so forward to hearing about your experience and seeing your photos.
Big hugs all around!read more

Posted by: Sally Maca on 5/30/2015 at 2:07 pm


Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Begin Their Summit Push

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 30, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 17,200'

Friday, May 29th 7:00 pm PDT

We woke early to perfect weather, packed up camp and headed to 17K. We have a good forecast and hope to summit tomorrow. We’ll be in touch as our summit bid progresses.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Climbers on the ridge to 17,200' Denali Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Plan to Move Up to High Camp Tomorrow

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 28, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 28, 2015 - 10:12 pm PT

The weather played out as forecasted today, with strong winds blowing plumes of snow off of Denali’s summit and West Buttress. We were happy to be down here at the 14,200’ camp where the winds were much more manageable. We enjoyed a leisurely brunch of bacon, eggs, and bagels while the winds howled outside. Much of the rest of the day was spent reading and napping in our tents.
The weather forecast looks good for us. We plan to rise early tomorrow (Friday) and make the strenuous climb to high camp at 17,200’. If all goes well, we’ll shoot for the summit on Saturday. This is by far the best weather forecast that we’ve had all trip and we plan to take full advantage of it. We’re well rested and acclimated, and eager to climb. We’ll let you know how it goes.

RMI Guide Mike Walter & team

Looking through camp walls at Mt. McKinley's 14,200' Camp. Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Remain at 14,000’

Posted by: Billy Haas, Solveig Waterfall, Mike Walter | May 28, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 27, 2015 - 10:38 pm PT

We woke early this morning, ate, took down our tents and packed our backpacks. We even had our harnesses on. The weather was perfect. But after checking multiple weather resources, our decision was clear. Weather models were in agreement, forecasting gale force winds in excess of 65mph tomorrow at high camp. It would not have been prudent to risk going up high today and deal with potential tent-crushing winds tomorrow. So we unpacked and set up our tents anew.
Throughout the emotional swings of this morning, our team has remained resolute. Safety is our number one priority up here in the mountains, and we will try for our summit push after tomorrow’s winds abate. In fact, the forecast looks quite good for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We’re optimistic that we’ll have good shot to move up to high camp on Friday.
In the mean time today, we’re enjoying the best weather day of our whole trip. It’s sunny, calm, and warm here at 14,200’.
Pete Van Deventer’s expedition is up high on the ridge today, caching supplies for their stint at high camp (which will likely coincide with ours). Adam Knoff’s expedition rolled into camp today also, and they’re busy setting up their camp. It’s good to see a lot of friendly RMI climber faces here at camp.
We’ll keep you posted any news from our end.

Cheers,
RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Wait at 14 Camp and Explore the Edge of the World

Posted by: Solveig Waterfall, Mike Walter, Billy Haas | May 27, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 26, 2015 - 10:33 pm PT

We woke early again today, hoping for good weather to move up to high camp. But it was not to be. A large lenticular cloud, indicating strong winds, had formed over the top of Denali, extending down beyond high camp. Winds were howling up high until a little afternoon today, when the cloud dissipated for a couple hours and then reformed in the afternoon. The winds were too strong for us to safely move camp to 17,200’, so we rested again at 14,200’.
We took advantage of clear skies on the lower mountain to take a walk out to the “Edge of the World”, a point south of our camp that looks down sheer cliffs about 5,000’ down the the Northeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. The views from the Edge are surreal, and the scale is nearly incomprehensible.
We’re psyched to see what the weather brings tomorrow, and we’re ready to take advantage of good weather when it presents itself. We’ll keep you posted.

RMI Guide Mike Walter and team

The view from the Edge of the World.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Still Hoping for Better Weather

Posted by: Billy Haas, Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall | May 25, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 25, 2015 - 7:16 pm PT

Hello Everyone!
This morning, hopeful to move to high camp, we awoke early and had breakfast and coffee in the chilly pre-solar hours, watching through dissipating clouds, as the wind whipped along the top of the West Buttress leaving streaks of sublimated snow in its wake.
And so resumed another day of reading, sport eating, and exploring the tangled and winding pathways between the walls of surrounding camps.
We are all crossing our fingers today is our final rest and acclimatization day here at fabulous 14 camp. We are looking forward to getting some exercise of the physical kind…we have been taxing the mental reserves nightly by developing a now customary team activity of Riddles over Dinner, made possible by the greatest boredom banishing App ever, Brain Twister by Will Shortz. Tonight we’ll be starting with puzzle number 47 if you’d like to follow along…but trust us, they’re exponentially harder at 14,200’!
We are packed, prepped, and looking forward to making our move tomorrow morning, if the weather cooperates.
Hopefully instead of practicing patience and unscrambling anagrams, we’ll be establishing camp at 17,200’ and enjoying the ever impressive views from higher on the mountain.
Thanks for following along!
RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall and the team

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team in a Holding Pattern at 14,200’

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 24, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 24, 2015 - 3:35 pm PT

Well, there is not much new to report today. We’re still waiting out the weather here at 14,200 ft on Denali. Last night was windy and snowy, with gusts up to 52 mph here in camp. There is lots of deep drifted snow around camp, so even just walking around is an exercise in trail breaking. The winds have let up this afternoon and it is still snowing lightly. Moderate snowfall is expected tonight and tomorrow, and with any luck it will let up by midweek.

We’re all safe and comfortable, waiting for the weather to improve. When (if) it does, we’ll have our work cut out for us; as a result of the new snow and wind loading, we’ll be faced with trail breaking and evaluating the avalanche hazard of the steeper slopes above us. In the mean time, we’re passing the time by reading books, chewing the fat, and the continual work of maintaining our camp’s condition throughout the storm.

We’ll keep you up to date with any changes in our current holding pattern.

RMI Guide Mike Walter and Team

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Wait Out the Weather

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 23, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 23, 2015 - 2:37pm PST

We’re still comfortably camped in Genet Basin waiting for better weather in order to move up to high camp. Today it is snowing and windy here in camp, and you can hear the winds howling thousands of feet above us on the West Buttress. We’re still living quite comfortably in our tent compound at 14,200’. We’re hopeful that the weather pattern will change after this weekend and we will have a shot to move to high camp and try for the summit. We’ll check back tomorrow to keep everyone up to date.

RMI Guide Mike Walter and Team

Tent at 14,000' Camp on Mt. McKinley. RMI Photo Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Remain at 14,200’ Camp Waiting for Better Weather

Posted by: Billy Haas, Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall | May 22, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 22, 2015 - 5:01 pm PT

Once again we find ourselves resting at the 14,200’ camp on Denali’s West Buttress. This is our second rest/acclimatization day at this camp, and we are feeling stronger each day. The weather is quite pleasant here in camp, with partly sunny skies and barely a breath of wind. The story is a bit different up higher on the mountain, where strong winds are streaming snow off of the West Buttress. Winds are forecast to increase and there is a high wind advisory for tomorrow and tomorrow night. That means we’re planning to stay put in our comfortable and secure camp for the next couple of days while we wait for more reasonable weather in which to climb.  We’ll keep you updated…

RMI Guide Mike Walter & team

An RMI Team camped at 14,200 ft on Mt. McKinley, Mt. Foraker in the background.  Photo: RMI Collection

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Mt. McKinley: Walter & Team Rest at 14,000’

Posted by: Mike Walter, Solveig Waterfall, Billy Haas | May 22, 2015
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Mount McKinley
Elevation: 14,200'

May 21, 2015 - 10:26 pm PT

Hello from 14k on Denali!

We took a planned rest day today, which was a good thing because the weather was a bit inhospitable this morning in camp. Winds were swirling and blowing snow around, with very little visibility. We took advantage of the situation and had a three hour brunch in the comfort and relative luxury of our cook tent. The weather improved a bit in the afternoon, and we did some work around camp fortifying our snow walls. By this evening, the skies were nearly clear and the wind was light at camp. Strong winds were still obvious up higher on the route. The weather forecast for the next few days is still calling for high winds? So our plan is to sit tight and wait for a better weather window in which to climb higher. In the mean time, we’re resting, acclimating, and telling lies in the cook tent. We’ll keep you posted as we continue to watch the weather.
Cheers,
RMI Guide Mike Walter and team

An RMI team fortifies snow walls for protection from the wind at 14,000 ft on Mt. McKinley.  Photo: RMI Collection

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