Entries from Denali
May 24, 2018
Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 6:21 PM PT
The snow that started last night continued into the morning, necessitating a 3:00 am shoveling session to dig out our tents. We picked up a little over a foot of snow over night, with no wind.
We had a rest day planned for today anyway, so the snow was of little consequence. We simply ate a leisurely brunch and lounged around our tents, resting and acclimating.
Tomorrow, if the weather allows, we plan to move camp up to Genet Basin, at 14,200’. We will let you know how that plays out.
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May 23, 2018
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 5:21 PM PT
Our Denali team had another great day today as we carried supplies up to establish a cache around Windy Corner (~13,700’). The weather was perfect, with scattered clouds keeping the temps pleasant throughout the day. The climbing conditions we also perfect, with great, consistent névé for cramponing. In fact, the whole route so far has been in great shape.
Now we are back at our 11k camp, where we are lounging around, eating, and rehydrating. Tomorrow we are planning to take our first full rest day, as we need to recover and get used to the altitude before we move up to 14,200’
RMI Guide Mike Walter
On The Map
Enjoy your first full day of rest. Happy to hear the route has been in good shape so far and hope that continues. Not far to go!
Posted by: Mary Lou on 5/24/2018 at 5:40 pm
So glad to see the trip working this time, Alex & Tom & Team. Hope your luck/weather continues and we can see pictures from the summit! Love, Dad
Posted by: LARRY & MARTHA on 5/24/2018 at 4:18 pm
May 22, 2018
Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 7:45 PM PT
Another day of beautiful weather let us descend back down to ~10,200’ to dig up our cache of supplies and haul it back up to our 11,000’ camp. The rest of the day was spent hydrating, resting, and preparing for the next step of this climb: establishing a cache at ~13,700’, just past Windy Corner. If the weather holds, that will be our plan for tomorrow.
We’re making good progress now, and we are all excited to exchange snowshoes for crampons and trekking poles for ice axes. Stay tuned as our progress continues.
On The Map
I hope the weather Gods are good to you this year. If you have room in your packs going down, rather than throw all that valuable stool down a crevasse, ship some to me for my fecal transplants. Business is booming.
Buenas suerte amigo.
Posted by: Dr Dave on 5/23/2018 at 5:40 pm
Hello Dave Head, Shane Kidd and Team hello from Las Vegas we love you guys so proud and love you stay safe we will continue to pray for your safety and good weather KEEP ROCKING !! you got his.
Love Mom and Dad #2
Posted by: Ken peterson on 5/23/2018 at 1:42 pm
May 22, 2018
Our day in Talkeenta progressed at a pretty leisurely pace. We started off with our orientation at the National Park Service after a visit to the coffee shop, and followed that with brunch at the Talkeetna Roadhouse, lest old traditions fail. Then it was into gear: double checking everything we brought, sorting, and packing for the plane flight to Kahiltna Base Camp. With our bags weighed and stacked, ready to be loaded into the Otters, we have done all we can do. It’s in the hands of the pilots and weather now. We will head out to town for dinner, and hope to wake up to clear skies and flying weather!
We’ll keep you posted,
RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Jess Matthews, Taylor Bickford, and team
You will see majesty at it’s best and definitely understand the creation set before each step of the way to the top! It will be a few weeks of amazing discoveries. Know that you have prayers being sent out for you from So. California. Love and Hugs! (Danny’s parents)
Posted by: Karen Haleen on 5/23/2018 at 6:23 am
Good luck! We will be watching your progress.
Posted by: Kristi and Jill Snow on 5/23/2018 at 5:27 am
May 22, 2018
Monday, May 21, 2018 - 11:51 PM PT
Our upward progress on Denali continues, this time moving camp up to 11,200’. Snow and weather conditions were near perfect with scattered clouds, a few snow flakes, and a light breeze to keep us cool.
Now that we’ve established a nice camp here, our plan is to go back to 10,000’ tomorrow to pick up our cache of supplies; this will set us up for moving up onto the upper mountain. Everyone is doing well and we’re hoping the good weather continues.
On The Map
Alex and Tom we are so proud of you. Keep up the incredible work and wishing you all the best :-)
Love Amy & Phil
Posted by: Amy and Phil on 5/24/2018 at 12:17 pm
I hope you’re enjoying Denali! Looks like an awesome trip.
Posted by: Kevin O’Donnell on 5/23/2018 at 11:03 am
Sunday, May 20, 2018 - 11:56 PM PT
The weather forecast for today was for 70% chance of snow. And, while I guess they got it right, we only saw light flurries for about an hour. The rest of the day was scattered clouds with great views of the Alaska Range. At times the sun was so strong that the heat was stifling. That didn’t stop our team from having a successful carry day, bringing supplies up to ~10,200’. Now we have returned to our camp at the base of Ski Hill (7800’) for the night. Tomorrow, if the weather allows we plan to move camp higher, to 11,200. We’ll keep you posted.
Joseph, it has become my morning routine to look at the updates and it’s so exciting to see the pictures and read about the progress you guys are making. I hope you’re having a blast. Be safe!
p.s. Hope you didn’t forget the matches :)
Posted by: Attila Incze on 5/21/2018 at 7:45 pm
Hey Alex and Tom-
Glad to hear you are on the mountain!! I’ve been riding Tom’s new bike every day…. just kidding! On a serious note, I plan to take your recycling out tonight…. so you can sleep well knowing that its taken care of!
Good luck… safe journey!
Posted by: Neil on 5/21/2018 at 3:50 pm
May 20, 2018
Sunday, May 20, 2018 - 1:12 a.m. PDT
The squirrely weather persists on Denali. It snowed all night last night, but fortunately we only picked up 4 inches or so. We woke up to more snow, wind, and very limited visibility. After breakfast we slowly started to pack up camp, hoping the weather would improve. Around noon the weather finally improved so we packed up our tents and rigged up our ropes.
By the time we were ready to walk, the weather was back its former, stormy self. We decided to give it a try and if conditions worsened we would make camp down on the Kahiltna Glacier and at least make some progress on the mountain. It was a good call because we made it all the way to Camp 2, at the base of Ski Hill (7,800’). We were in a ping pong ball most of the day—navigating using the wands marking the route, faint traces of other parties’ tracks, GPS, and a little Braille (well, maybe not Braille). Our navigation techniques worked and we cruised into camp in 5 hours flat!
Tomorrow the plan is to carry and cache supplies higher on the route and then return to our current camp. This will make for lighter loads when we move camp later this week and will help our acclimatization process.
RMI Guide Mike Walter and team
On The Map
Thinking about you Alex, Tom, and team. So happy to hear you are safe and making progress, thx for the updates!
Posted by: Sarah Flynn on 5/21/2018 at 7:22 am
Nice action photo, Thank you! Glad to learn that Team Water is now underway. My best wishes to the entire team, and a special Hello to Tom M -you’re all in my thoughts.
Stay safe, stay strong & thrive.
Posted by: Jacquie on 5/21/2018 at 12:26 am
May 19, 2018
The weather cleared up just long enough for K2 Aviation to fly our team to Base Camp in two de Haviland Otter airplanes. The window didn’t last long and soon it socked in and began to lightly snow. We set up camp and lounged around for the rest of the afternoon. Tomorrow the plan is to pack up and move camp to the base of Ski Hill.
RMI Guide Mike Walter & Team
That is one Helluva “Ski Hill” . My wife JoAnn and I overnighted in Talkeetna with K2 Aviation and took a flight up to Denali over the dramatically crevassed glaciers in 1993. JoAnn then went back as a Cruise ship excursion in 2000 with her three sisters. Looking up is as close to climbing in Ice and snow as I want to be, although I summitted Mt Whitney in 1986 on Father’s Day ant took a photo with a banner I had made saying “Happy Fathers Day” to give to my father. I piloted a Cessna 172 from Torrence, CA with two other “Climbers” for that “Attempt”. We had tried in May, a month before, but were chased off the mountain after one night in a tent by a major snowstorm. Hopefully you get good weather so you can have views up there. We all look forward to more from you.
Posted by: Paul Claeyssens on 5/20/2018 at 6:02 am
Go for it and be safe.
Posted by: Garland Dobson (PAPPY) on 5/19/2018 at 3:44 pm
The Denali expedition, with Walter Hailes, starts on May 25th. Please sign up for the expedition email alerts below.
July 6, 2017
Our final day on Denali began just an hour after the second-to-last day ended. We were up at 1 AM and walking South by three. The hoped for full-on freeze didn’t quite come through. While the glacier surface was a little crunchy under the snowshoes, one still sank in a bit more than we’d have preferred. But half a freeze is better than none when there are crevasse bridges to be crossed. And we crossed about a thousand of them. We did have a few scares as team members broke through to wiggle their legs in the void before hastily crawling topside again. I think all would agree that the morning commute to the airstrip was stressful, brutally tough with big packs, and magically stupendous in terms of scenery and the feeling of accomplishment when it was completed. We were at basecamp no more than ten minutes before the big red beautiful K2 ski otters swooped in and scooped us up at 9:45 AM. The rest of the day was spent in glorious summer down in Talkeetna. We changed into cotton and sandals and sorted stinky gear. Our celebration dinner at the West Rib was a blast. We laughed and toasted for hours. A nightcap at the Fairview and a walk down to the Susitna to see the mountains at midnight made for a perfect ending to a perfect trip.
Thanks for following… we’ll do it all again sometime.
RMI Guide Dave Hahn