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Entries By steve gately

Denali Expedition: Upper West Rib Team Descends to 7,800’

June 18, 2016 - 12:40 am PT

Hi all, sorry there hasn’t been a dispatch since we summited, we’ve been busy and on the move a lot. The team did a fantastic job climbing the Upper Rib yesterday and we all made the summit just after 7:00 PM. After some hugs, photos, and congratulations we began our descent down to 17 Camp on the West Buttress. Thirteen hours after we started climbing we were crawling into our tents, exhausted but very satisfied with our accomplishment. This morning we woke up early to get low on the mountain before the 50 mph forecasted winds rolled in this afternoon. I am truly amazed at how strong this team is, even after a big summit day everyone climbed very well as we made our way down the Buttress and fixed lines to 14 Camp. Here we took about an hour to retrieve our cache and re pack before we hit the trail to 11 Camp. I thought for sure folks would be tired at 11 camp, but no. We dug up our cache here rigged for traveling with sleds and kept descending. We are currently at the base of Ski Hilll, 7800’, getting a little rest and waiting for the cold of the night before we walk the lower Kahiltna Glacier back to the landing strip. Weather permitting we will be on board an airplane first thing in the morning.
Thanks so much for following along throughout our expedition

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens and the Upper West Rib Team

On The Map

WOW! I just finished reading all the posts and looking at the beautiful pics & I am in awe of all you (collectively) have accomplished! I guess to say u feel “on top of the world” would likely be an understatement! Safe journey to all on ur decent! Can’t wait to hear the stories!

Posted by: Sara & James on 6/18/2016 at 7:08 am

Denali Expedition: Upper West Rib Team Reaches the Summit!

June 16, 2016 - 8:27 pm PT

Hey this is Geoff Schellens, Steve Gately and the Upper West Rib Team we are standing on the summit of Denali, right now!  We just had an excellent climb of the Upper West Rib.  It’s about 7 pm and we are going to tag the top and turn around and head home.  Beautiful day here, just a few puffy clouds way off in the distance but other than that, clear as can be.  Thanks for following along.  We will check in again when we are back at camp.

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens calls from the summit of Denali with the Upper West Rib Team.

On The Map

Captain Jim, Ry, Julia and I had dinner last night.  We’re all so proud and happy about your big big accomplishment.  Can’t wait to hear your story and see some more pictures.

Posted by: Mac Hawley on 6/17/2016 at 4:59 pm

CONGRATS! So awesome!

Can’t wait to see the pics.


Posted by: Underwood on 6/17/2016 at 4:07 pm

Denali Expedition: The Upper West Rib Team Moves to Balcony Camp

June 15, 2016 - 7:20 P.M. PDT

Late last night winds picked up on the upper mountain and persisted into this morning. We woke up early, packed and had breakfast and then watched the wind up high. By 10:30AM we could tell that the trend was diminishing winds, this matched our forecast, so we started up towards the West Rib. The winds had filled in our tracks from the other day so we had to re-break trail back up to our cache. After retrieving our cache we pressed on to gain the ridge and then we picked our way though the first rock band and on up to the balcony camp at 17k. The weather was perfect and with spectacular views of the Alaska Range. The team did a fantastic job today and everyone is feeling good and excited to be climbing. Weather permitting we will go for the summit tomorrow. 

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens and the UWR Team

Best of luck on your assent.

Steve G

Posted by: Steve on 6/16/2016 at 5:02 pm

Great job team!! Looking forward to your next post. Keep up the good and safe work !!

Posted by: Allison Woodman on 6/16/2016 at 4:10 pm

Denali Expedition: Upper West Rib Team Analyzes Forecast

June 15, 2016 - 12:02 A.M. PDT

Weather forecasts in the mountains can change wildly. Last night we heard a report of 70 mph winds on the summit and heavy snow forecast for today. We ended up with perhaps the clearest and calmest day we’ve had on the whole trip. The winds did pick up this evening as spindrift whipped off the upper mountain but we were quite comfortable in our camp at 14,200’. We rested today, organized gear, drank coffee, and relaxed in the sunshine. The forecast is showing a good weather window for the next three days so our plan is to move up to the Balcony Camp, around 17,000’ tomorrow and then make a summit bid on Thursday. Everyone is doing great and very excited about the prospect of moving higher on this beautiful peak. Thanks for following along with us.

RMI Guides Geoff Schellens and Steve Gately and team

Good luck tomorrow guys! Hoping you get clear skies and no wind. Andrea mou, love you!

Posted by: GSD on 6/15/2016 at 8:09 pm

Jim, Trying a message again.  Mom and I are sure enjoying the beautiful sights you and your team are sharing.  Stoked that you are doing so well and soon to try a summit.  We pray you have a safe climb, enjoy a fabulous view when you reach summit, and all come home safely.  Godspeed! to you, Ben and the whole team.

Posted by: Dad DuBay on 6/15/2016 at 7:42 pm

Denali Expedition: Upper West Rib Team Enjoys the View

June 13, 2016 - 7:09 pm PT

After a big day caching at 16,400’ on the rib we slept in this morning. Eventually folks started to rise and trickle into the kitchen where Steve was make breakfast burritos and fresh coffee, we relaxed, ate and drank our fill until around noon. Then we got geared up for a short walk over to the Edge of the World. Today was a perfect day for it with mostly clear skies and no wind. We spent an hour taking pictures and enjoying the view of the Alaska Range before heading back to camp. We did a little bit of fixed line and running belay training and then chilled for the afternoon. Tonight we will be exploring some exotic cuisine from India and sipping tea before bed. It is looking like the next couple of days will bring snow and high winds to the upper mountain so we will most likely have a couple more rest days at 14 before it breaks later in the week. The weather days are actually a blessing in disguise, it allows us to be fully rested and better acclimatize. Everyone is in good spirits and enjoying some down time.

Thanks for following along with us,
The Upper West Rib team

On The Map

Jim and Team,  Ry and I are following you everyday.  The pictures are absolutely amazing.  We’re excited to watch this story unfold.  Can’t wait to see you and hear the stories.

Mac & Ry

Posted by: Mac Hawley on 6/15/2016 at 9:14 am


As I sit here suffering through shin splints from a 5 mile run, I can’t help but marvel at the undertaking you have taken on. May the force of a thousand Spartan’s guide your way safely and swiftly. This goes for Jim too (and the rest of the team of course). Keep at it bruh. We are all super proud and super stoked. We are beers ready, glittered up.

Posted by: Spiros Botos on 6/14/2016 at 7:19 pm

Denali Expedition: Upper West Rib Team Caches Gear at 16,400’

June 12, 2016 - 10:50 p.m. PDT

The Denali - Upper West Rib Team did a great job today. Blue sky and light wind graced us this morning, and despite a slower than desired departure out of camp everyone climbed really well. As soon as we stepped out of camp we sank up to our knees. This was the first day we got off the beaten path and made our own trail up to the Upper West Rib. Unfortunately with all the new snow fall in the last couple weeks breaking trail was difficult and energy expensive. Despite this added challenge the team did a great job and we worked our way up to the West Rib at 16,400’. We cached a couple days of food and fuel here and began our descent as the clouds started to roll over the ridge. We’re all tired after a high output day but happy with our accomplishments. The weather forecast is calling for a storm approaching tomorrow and lasting a couple days so we will rest and prep for our summit rotation.

Thanks for all the support out there!
RMI Guide Geoff Schellens and the Upper West Rib Team

Dubay, you missed a great summit in Baltimore last week for an even better summit. Good fishing (of course Garrick’s boat caught all the fish), good food, good company. Be safe and enjoy. See you soon.

Posted by: Bill Pinkham on 6/14/2016 at 4:42 am

Amazing photos. Lots of thoughts for you all from down here in WA! Happy climbing!

Posted by: Korinne on 6/13/2016 at 2:55 pm

Denali Expedition: Upper West Rib Team Rest at 14K Camp

June 12, 2016 - 11:35 am PDT

Good Evening,

Today was a very productive rest day for the Upper West Rib team here at 14k camp. We slept in, had a slow breakfast of eggs and hash browns with lots of coffee and then relaxed. At around noon we started building snow walls to fortify our camp. The team was unstoppable! These guys worked for hours and even when I told them to take a break, they would be back at it 5 minutes later. We are planing to cache some food and file up on the Rib tomorrow, weather permitting.

Thanks again for following along,

RMI Guide Geoff Schellens and The UWR Team

Great Job !  Happy Monday morning to you all. The view looks spectacular !!!! Have a great day today !

Posted by: David on 6/13/2016 at 7:17 am

Ben, sounds like you are with the perfect team - always moving and pushing ahead! Do the walls make good forts for a snowball fight? Have a great day! Love, Uncle Marc and Elyse

Posted by: Uncle Marc and Elyse on 6/12/2016 at 12:50 pm

Denali Expedition: Upper West Rib Team Moves Into 14K Camp

June 10, 2016 - 10:11 pm PT

We woke this morning to much improved weather. Some scattered clouds and a light wind but a huge improvement from yesterday.  We had a quick breakfast and set about breaking camp. Just after the sun hit we were off and climbing. The team did a great job today, we had to battle a little around Windy Corner, it was a bit windy (go figure), but we were out of it soon and on to 14K Camp. After tents were up, everyone settled in to our new home above the clouds. Tomorrow we will do some training and fortify our camp with snow walls.
Thanks for following along with us.

The RMI Upper West Rib Team

Sorry for the late comments. Garrick just forwarded the link. We are following you from afar. We will follow up on past reports. Congrats so far. Hope all finishes well.

Posted by: James and Sara on 6/12/2016 at 10:03 am

Good job team - hopefully you are all helping and supporting each other!  Climbing is of course a group effort and it takes everybody to get everybody to the top safely - make sure to help each other along the way!!!!!!!

Posted by: Jesse Godzala on 6/12/2016 at 9:01 am

Denali Expedition: Upper West Rib Team Sits Tight at 11,000’ Camp

June 9, 2016 - 9:22 pm PT

We woke up this morning to cold clear sky’s with a nippy wind. After a quick breakfast we packed camp, made a cache and got rigged to start climbing. Of course at this point it began snowing heavily, the wind picked up and the visibility went down. We pumped the breaks and hung out in Jake’s posh tent for a little bit. By noon thirty we called it and decided to set up Camp at 11 again. 10 minutes later another guided team returned from an unsuccessful cache attempt saying that it was really nasty up there! After getting tents up we got together for some fresh brewed coffee and snacks, the truffled gouda cheese was a huge hit.
The forecast for tomorrow is looking better so we are planing on moving up tomorrow.
Thanks for following along

The Upper West Rib Team

On The Map

We hope you have better weather tomorrow - enjoying the photos and updates. Ben, we are rooting for you and your team!

Posted by: Marc and Elyse on 6/10/2016 at 9:11 am

Denali Expedition: Upper West Rib Team Carries to 14,000’ Camp

June 8, 2016 - 10:30 pm PT

The team did an excellent job today. The weather was mealy; periods of light snow, partly cloudy, some wind here and there. Everyone handled all these conditions, and a big climbing day, in stride. We made our way from 11 Camp up Motorcycle Hill, up Squirrel Hill, across the Polo Fields, around Windy Corner and on to 14 Camp. At 14,000’ we caught our first glimpse of the Upper West Rib for a few seconds when the clouds parted. Then we headed back to our home at 11 Camp. Everyone is feeling great and excited to move up a little more.
Thanks for following along, cross your fingers for good moving weather for us.

RMI Expeditions Upper West Rib Team

On The Map

Fingers and toes crossed for good weather! Love seeing these awesome pictures and updates. Great job so far, team! FMR, Ben! Lol. With love from Brooklyn, NY :)

Posted by: Dizzle on 6/10/2016 at 3:10 am

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