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Entries from Denali

Denali Expedition: Mike Haugen Wraps Up Their Seamless Descent and Flight Back to Talkeetna

July 2, 2016 - 1:23 am PT

We were very lucky to fly off the glacier yesterday since the weather closed in on Denali and may have prevented us from flying for days. We spent a celebratory evening in rainy Talkeetna thankful for not being stuck in snowy Basecamp!
After the long process of sorting, cleaning, and drying all of the gear it takes to get to the top of such a huge mountain, we paused to thank each other over a meal that did not require mixing with hot water or adding copious amounts of cheese to maximize calories. It really was an amazing team that assembled two weeks ago in Anchorage and made a smooth ascent of the highest mountain in North America. The team was very strong and had a great attitude that allowed them to experience an amazing, windless summit and a seamless two-day descent back to base camp and ski planes that almost beat us to the glacier landing strip.

Thank you for the great expedition El Siete!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Take Rest Day at 14,000’ Camp

July 1, 2016 - 10:19 pm PT

A hint of storm moved in last night, with some more cloud, some more snow and a little wind.  It looked like more wind up above on the crest of the West Buttress, but we aren’t going up that way to find out until things improve.  It was a quiet and restful storm day at 14K.  Instead of carrying loads up high, we ate long meals in our dining tent, let our blisters heal and took naps.  Call it an acclimatization day.  We’ll hope for some improvement tomorrow morning that allows us to sneak a carry in. 

Best Regards
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Hi Dave -

I hope that you and the team have a continued safe journey.

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 7/2/2016 at 7:12 am

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Acclimatize at 14,000’ Camp

June 30, 2016 - 9:43 pm PT

Hey all,

We are all settled in here at our 14,200’ camp were we can finally visualize the upper mountain.  Before we could move gear and people up hill though we had to retrieve our cache of food and gear at 13,200 ft.  So after a filling bagel breakfast we set off to grab it, and after a 3 hr round trip time the team was back in camp getting a little more rest.  We are not fully acclimated to 14,000’ yet so a little rest is still needed to recoup. 

Now as the never ending sunlight moves west we are gearing up and talking fixed line technique, in hopes that we can climb high tomorrow.  If the weather holds we will move some food and gear to the top of the fixed lines at 16,200’.  Then after breathing that thin air and scoping our line up the rocky west buttress, we will retreat to 14 Camp.  As the old saying goes “climb high and sleep low”. 

The team is still climbing like pros!

RMI Guide Ben Liken

On The Map

Good luck Robin and the rest of the group.

Posted by: Kent on 7/1/2016 at 2:41 pm

Sending lots of vibes from Utah for good weather and continued success!

Posted by: Caitlin Olive on 7/1/2016 at 11:27 am

Denali Expedition: Haugen & Team Land in Talkeetna

June 30, 2016 12:55 pm PDT

RMI Guide Mike Haugen and team have landed safely in Talkeetna, AK after a successful summit of Denali.  They are happy to return to civilization where warm showers and much celebration will be in store.

Congratulations to the entire team!

Denali Expedition: Haugen & Team Descend to 11,000’

June 29, 2016 - 11:04 pm PT

As is the way with climbing, we barely had time to dwell on our summit success before it was time to start thinking about getting off the hill safely. We woke up after a frigid night at 17K and immediately began packing up to head downhill. Our descent took us down the West Buttress proper, and by the time we started down the fixed lines the late morning solar energy had most of the team roasting in single layers. Talk about freeze or fry! We took a brief break at 14 camp to pick up cached gear, and then began the long march down to 11 camp with sleds in tow. Along the way, we had the pleasure of crossing paths with Dave Hahn and company on their way to 14. For now, we are tucked in to bed at 11 camp, where we hope to catch a few hours of sleep before starting the long walk back to the airstrip.

Buenas noches,
RMI Guide Mike Haugen

On The Map

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Move to 14,000’ Camp

June 29, 2016 - 11:03 pm PT

After an evening of snowfall and a lot of talk of stormy weather on the way, we were just a bit surprised and pleased to wake up at 11,000ft to cloudless blue skies.  But we knew just what to do with such an opportunity… pack up and head for 14K.  It was a great day of climbing on the way.  Even though we’d come much of the way on our carry two days back, the team hadn’t yet seen the scenery.  It was all out and spectacular today, especially when we got around windless Windy Corner and could see the lower Kahiltna Glacier -our world from a few days back- far below.  Mounts Foraker and Hunter were gigantic and beautiful as well -again, made more spectacular because our team hadn’t seen much besides clouds for a few days.  We made pretty decent time, reaching Genet Basin and 14 Camp in six hours.  It was a treat to meet up with Mike Haugen’s victorious RMI team just below 14.  They’d obviously done quite well and were moving lower with big smiles on their faces.  We reached our new home at 4 PM and began the now familiar routine of digging in, building tents and getting a kitchen going.  Dinner in the spacious dining room (read -snow pit with snow benches and a snow table) we inherited was quite comfortable.  The entire team seems happy to have arrived at the foot of the real mountain… the approach is nearly over.  Tomorrow morning we’ll drop down to recover our windy corner cache. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

I went to high school with Dave Hahn. Today I work for the US Department of the Interior as part of the FBMS program. We created the software than manages most of Interior’s finances. We are always looking for ways to connect our team with DOI’s mission, and the opportunity to follow from afar as your team ascends Denali is very cool. So, from a bunch of people who support Denali National Park and all the other aspects of Interior’s mission, we say safe travels and have a great climb! Thanks for the inspiration!

FBMS program Reston, VA & Denver, CO

Posted by: Bill Salzmann on 6/30/2016 at 10:08 am

Fantastic you have made it so far up the mountain!!  So happy the weather didn’t live up to the forecast yesterday.  Missing you madly Andrew and sending you lots of good vibes up the mountain.  Melissa and all the kids xxx


Posted by: Melissa on 6/30/2016 at 8:42 am

Denali Expedition: Haugen & Team Return to High Camp

June 29, 2016 - 1:23 am PT

We are all safe and sound back at high camp after an amazing summit day. I am proud to report that all members of our team made it to the highest peak in North America! The day started out cold but Denali was kind to us. It turned out to be a clear and sunny day with very little wind…a rarity on this big mountain. We were just under 12 hours round trip from High Camp including a long time on the top taking pictures and enjoying our success.
We are gong to try to get up early and start our decent back to thicker air. Hopefully the weather cooperates like it has over the last few days!

Congratulations to the June 14th Denali Expedition Team!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

On The Map

Congratulations to Phil and the entire team on a successful summit! All that training and preparation truly paid off. You are all an inspiration! Safe trip back home!- Kelly

Posted by: Kelly Tybor on 7/1/2016 at 5:04 am

Congratulations Phil and team! We are so proud of you!

Posted by: Barbara McKay on 6/29/2016 at 3:09 pm

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Make a Carry to 13,300’

June 27, 2016 - 11:08 pm PT

Another murky day, weatherwise.  It was snowing lightly when we checked things at 6:45 AM, but it was calm and there were hints of clearing in some of the cloud layers stacked above us.  We got up and had a slow and substantial breakfast as we watched the skies.  With a few patches of blue showing, the decision was made to go on up for our carry.  We left camp at about 10:15 and were promptly surrounded again by calm and listless clouds.  It was a relief to be spending a day without our sleds and to be in crampons instead of snowshoes.  The terrain, beginning with “Motorcycle hill” right out of camp, was steeper than any of the ground we’d covered to date, but that was nice too.  We all felt a bit more like climbers with ice axes in our hands at last.  The team wound up and across “Squirrel hill” to get to the lesser angled “Polo fields” below the end of Denali’s West Buttress.  At least we think those were the granite walls of the Buttress… we couldn’t really see very far up it in the clouds.  Conditions stayed windless though, so we pushed on to Windy Corner.  Nobody seemed disappointed that it wasn’t living up to its well-earned reputation.  We cached the provisions we’d been carrying there at about 13,300ft, digging a big hole and burying it all to keep the ravens from attacking.  Then it was an easy and uneventful hour back to camp with light packs and still not much for views.  We were down by 4PM and taking naps and sipping water by about 4:30.  Tomorrow is a rest day, so we are less concerned than usual by the continued light snow and ever-present murk. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Remember Kathleen “the pain is only weakness leaving your body”.We are Keeping track and living vicariously through you. Good luck on the weather and making the summit!    Annette and Ed

Posted by: Annette and Ed on 6/29/2016 at 10:00 pm

Dave H: Thanks for the wonderful posts!  It’s fascinating to follow the team’s progress daily - murk or not. Congratulations to all of you for your hard work so far.  Cheering for you from afar!

Posted by: Julia on 6/29/2016 at 5:51 am

Denali Expedition: Haugen & Team in Position to Strike!

June 27, 2016 - 7:58 pm PT

We had another early morning departure to avoid the mid-day solar radiation that can wear a climber out much faster than the cold temperatures can. Our team did a fantastic job climbing up the steep fixed lines to the ridge and then up to our camp at 17,000’. We got into camp around 1:15 in the afternoon and proceeded to build a camp that would protect us from most any weather that Denali could throw at us. We are getting organized for a summit bid tomorrow if Denali allows. We are currently sitting in the clouds with a small amount of snow falling, but the forecast seems good for tomorrow. We will wake up and get the “nowcast” by looking up towards the summit and seeing what the mountain has to say about us climbing it.

Goodnight and wish us luck!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

Awesome job Mike, great pics. Great to be able to follow your progress. ODB rocks!

Posted by: graeme cooper on 6/28/2016 at 9:52 pm

Good luck Phil and Team El Siete. We are all counting on you. Kick Denali’s butt.

Posted by: E.L. on 6/28/2016 at 7:08 pm

Denali Expedition: Haugen & Team Prepping for Move to High Camp

June 26, 2016 - 10:49 pm PT

Our team did an excellent job relaxing this day away. We continued our tradition of rest day brunch, and then dispersed for several hours of Uno playing, book reading, and ‘nappacino’ taking. There was a lingering feeling of excitement in the air- partially a celebratory vibe because of Pepper’s birthday, partially an anticipatory tingle because our intention to move to high camp tomorrow will put us in striking distance of the summit.  After today our bodies and minds are recharged for tomorrow’s move up to 17K camp, and we will see what the mountain has for us there.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

On The Map

Go Phil!!  We are so excited for you and am enjoying the pictures and updates. Love, Jen & Steve

Posted by: Jennifer Garrett on 6/27/2016 at 2:48 pm

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