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Entries from Denali

Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Push to 14,000ft to Cache Gear

Monday, May 16, 2022 - 9:47 am PT

Yesterday (Sunday) we awoke to beautiful blue skies and light winds. After a nice breakfast of bagels with cream cheese and salmon we packed up gear and food to cache around Windy Corner. This was the first day of the expedition in crampons without sleds which felt awesome as we made our way up Motorcycle Hill. We had excellent views of the surrounding mountains and could even see all the way down to the tundra below the Peter's Glacier! After rounding Windy Corner the weather was holding and everyone was climbing strong so we decided to keep pushing all the way to 14,000' camp! As soon as we finished burying our cache winds picked up and we got our first taste of some nasty Alaska Range weather. By the time we got back to the Polo Fields the winds had abated and we enjoyed a nice walk back to 11,000' Camp. Winds picked back up overnight and this morning has been a bit frigid and blustery in camp today are taking a well earned rest day to recover from the previous five days of hard effort. We're looking forward to moving to 14,000' Camp in the coming days.

RMI Guide Henry Coppolillo

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Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Enjoy First Night on the Glacier

Monday, May 16, 2022 - 6:54 am PT

We spent our first night in the Alaska range cozy in our -20 bags and woke to clear skis and a stunning view all around. The peak of Denali above had a small cloud hat, but otherwise the mountains jutted up into the blue and the sky promised another gorgeous day. We fired the stoves for breakfast and as the sun got closer to camp, woke everyone.

After bagel bacon sandwiches, we set to the task of organizing what gear we were going to move uphill to cache. A fair bit of our food and fuel made up the bulk of it. We departed, loads considerably lighter than yesterday and worked our way up Ski Hill. Several hours of steady uphill work brought us to 9700', where we opted to dig a deep hole in the snow and hide our treasure, to be retrieved in a few days. Moving light and downhill, we made quick work of the descent back to camp and a dinner of burritos. And so goes the rhythm of Denali - wake, eat, walk, eat, sleep. We'll touch base tomorrow.

RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer, Leif Bergstrom, Erika Birkeland, and team

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Great!  Hope the weather continues to be good.

Posted by: Larry Ellis on 5/16/2022 at 10:19 am

Denali Expedition: Van Deventer & Team Land on the Kahiltna, Establish First Camp

Sunday, May 15, 2022 - 1:10 am PT

It was an auspicious start to our May 12 Denali Expedition today. When we called K2 in the morning to ask how things looked they replied "unlimited visibility and perfect". We rallied a hasty breakfast and headed for the hanger. We had gotten all of our bags set yesterday, so it didn't take much to get the planes loaded and launched. The pilots were taken with how clear and gorgeous the day was too, taking several detours to show us stunning corners of the Alaska Range on the way.

We landed and hit the ground running. Fully loaded sleds and packs were an indication of the magnitude of our undertaking, but the team cruised through the 5.5 miles of mellow glacier travel, and we rolled in to our first camp looking fresh. Everyone is fed and tucked into warm sleeping bags and as we write, a stunning full moon is rising over Mt. Hunter.

We plan to carry a load up towards Kahiltna pass tomorrow and then return to camp. We'll be in touch.

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer, Leif Bergstrom, Erika Birkeland, and team

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Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Enjoying Good Weather & Geese flying

Saturday, May 14, 2022 - 10:08 pm PT

We enjoyed some pretty amazing weather today. We had a relatively easy day retrieving our cache and returning to 11k camp. On our journey we were treated to a unique wildlife viewing, with snow geese flying in formation above us. They landed on the glacier up around Kahiltna Pass, something I have never seen before. Back in camp, the good weather continued and we relaxed and shuffled gear for the next stage of the game. Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will establish a camp up above Windy Corner. The forecast looks good and we're climbing strong, so we're optimistic that will happen tomorrow. I'll let you know  how it shakes out. Either way, it's good to be in the mountains and we're enjoying our time here.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Great to hear the weather is holding up for the team, sounds like smooth climbing so far. Keep up the hard work! 

Go Mike K, Go!!!

Posted by: Tina on 5/15/2022 at 8:57 pm

Denali Expedition: Walter & Team settle into 11K camp, plan to pick up Cached gear

May 14, 2022 - 10:04 am PT

It was a bit breezy and chilly yesterday, but it made for great climbing weather.

We packed up camp and headed up Ski Hill, continuing up around Kahiltna Pass and into the 11k camp. Glacier conditions were perfect, and the winds abated as we climbed higher. Everyone is climbing strong and doing well. The plan for today is to go back downhill to retrieve our cache at ~9600'. We're sitting in a good position to start pushing higher on the upper mountain. So far, the weather is cooperating with us and allowing for steady progress. We'll definitely spend a few nights here at 11k to acclimate before moving camp higher, but we may try to get a cache in around Windy Corner tomorrow, as the weather is forecast to be pretty nice.

We'll keep you posted on our progress.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Glad to hear you continue to enjoy good weather. Thanks for the updates, they are really appreciated.

Posted by: Maria Alexandra Velez on 5/14/2022 at 6:18 pm

Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Cache Gear at 9,600’

Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 7:10 pm PT

Today was nearly a mirror image of yesterday's weather: mostly sunny, then partly cloudy, then mostly cloudy. It made for great travel as we ascended Ski Hill. As we gained the 9500' plateau, mostly cloudy changed to light snow and moderate winds coming through Kahiltna Pass. We had another good day, and decided to cache at ~9650' rather than press further into deteriorating weather. After leaving our gear deep in the hole we dug, we descended back down Ski Hill to camp in time for a little siesta. We'll hope for good weather tomorrow so we can bump camp up to 11,200'. We'll let you know how it goes. 

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Thanks for the posts.  It is fun to keep up-to-date with the climb!!

Posted by: Deb Beaudway on 5/13/2022 at 3:16 pm

Thanks for updates. Basic weather forecast looks very good starting Saturday.

Posted by: Paul Kent on 5/13/2022 at 11:16 am

Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Fly on to Kahiltna Glacier, Establish First Camp

May 12, 2022  - 10:08 am PT

We had great weather yesterday and were able to fly in to Kahiltna Base Camp. We hit the ground running and took advantage of the weather to move to the base of Ski Hill. Light cloud cover kept temperatures perfect for climbing, and the Kahiltna Glacier was in remarkably good condition, which made for a pleasant day in the mountains. Our packs and sleds were heavy, but our team did great getting to camp and establishing camp. This morning the good weather is continuing, and we're getting ready to head off on a carry, establishing a cache up above Ski Hill. We'll be in touch and let you know how it goes.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Best of luck to the entire team!  I play Pickleball in southern Florida with John Corona.  I just returned from Seattle with beautiful views of the mountainous area in Washington.  Can’t imagine your strength and courage to climb!  Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers that the weather continues good and you have a magnificient climb!  Peace to all!  Mary

Posted by: Mary Cormier on 5/15/2022 at 6:01 am

Hey !!!!  Best of luck on the climb Mike!  This grey-bearded old man is headed to Rainier this week and will be ready for you to lead me to 20,310’ in May ‘23!  Be safe. Godspeed & Good Weather.  If you have any questions about the weather, ask your rock.

Posted by: Tim Morris on 5/12/2022 at 3:50 pm

Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Check and Weigh Gear, Ready to Fly to Kahiltna Glacier

RMI’s Denali climbing season is kicking off. Out team spent yesterday in Talkeetna packing and prepping for our expedition. Spreading our gear out in one of K2 Aviation’s hangars, we went through all of our clothing, food, and climbing equipment to fine-tune everything and be sure our checklists were complete. Everything was weighed and labeled for the airplanes. This morning we’ll touch base with K2 to see what the flying conditions are like. Our hope is to fly in to Kahiltna Basecamp today. Located on the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier, this glacier runway will be our approach to the West Buttress of Denali.

Our team looks well prepared, and everyone is eager to embark on this multi-week expedition. We’ll keep you up to date along the way as we slowly progress higher on Denali’s slopes. I’ll be in touch with flying conditions and our status.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Sending the best vibes your way!

Posted by: Abby P on 5/12/2022 at 6:40 am

Stay safe and have fun !!!

Posted by: Don West on 5/11/2022 at 9:42 pm

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Land in Talkeetna

Friday, July 9, 2021 - 12:04 am

It did not seem like it was going to happen today.  We woke up groggily to find ourselves in the middle of a small tent village. The remaining teams on the mountain -six guided groups- were now all collected at Kahiltna Base Camp, waiting to fly out. None of us had made the top -the season end was just a nonstop progression of storms. Including the one that cloaked us in cloud and light snow for much of the day.  We had already eaten a mountain dinner and were getting ready for another night in tents when airplanes started coming in through holes in the clouds.  We packed sleeping bags, tents, pots, and pans… all in an instant and loaded into K2 Aviation’s beautiful Otters.  And at 9:30PM we lifted off the glacier and caught the red eye into Talkeetna. Eventually we were out of the snow and ice and rock and flying effortlessly over impossibly green landscapes. 

We have got a day left of drying and sorting gear and traveling, but tonight we shower and sleep in beds!

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team

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Great going and thanks for the daily updates -wow, what a journey. There’s always 2022! Way to go Matt!

Posted by: Margie McEttrick-Maloney on 7/11/2021 at 5:49 pm

Thanks & best to Dave , team leaders for everything & to ur whole team —-Sanjeev felt safe & had loads of fun w/ y’all !!! Even tho he cant wait to share lots of wonderful stories , I know he will miss y’all lots !!!
A thankyou to the lord for bringing y’all down safely , so y’all can return to beds, etc :)  !!!
& Cheers to many more climbs & to reaching summits in the future years !!! Godbless & Keep smiling !!!

Rohan, Courtney, Nora , Niki & Anjalika

Posted by: Anjalika Nagrath on 7/9/2021 at 10:46 pm

Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Have a Weather Window for Descent

Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - 3:24 pm PT

The winds are calm and it's snowing lightly at Denali 14K Camp. Our plan is to pack up camp this afternoon and journey down into the thicker clouds, hopefully making it to Basecamp sometime in the middle of the night. We're not overly optimistic that we'll be able to fly tomorrow...the pilots at K2 Aviation tell us that this weather is supposed to stick around until Saturday. If all goes well we'll at least be in position to fly off the glacier if a clearing presents itself.

We'll let you know how it goes.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

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Looking forward to you getting back and hearing about your adventure.

Your friends at Modern.

Posted by: Dave Brown on 7/8/2021 at 11:14 am

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