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Entries from Denali

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Move Into 11K Camp

June 26, 2016 - 9:54 pm PT


Today we woke to our clearest morning yet, with stunning views down the Kahiltna Glacier and onward into the Talkeetna Valley.  With a hot coffee and granola breakfast in our bellies, we were ready to turn the corner at Kahiltna Pass and head higher on the mountain.  The entire team rocked the four-hour journey to 11,000-foot camp even with the continued burden of big sleds and packs. 

After our tents were pitched we settled in for an afternoon siesta as the sun blazed above.  By the time dinner was served things had changed as the clouds had built up around us and it was starting to snow.  Now as we head to bed it seems to be coming down at a rate of 2ish inches per hour! 

The plan for tomorrow is to break up the loads and carry some supplies and food to 14k.  This will give us a taste of the crisp thin air of the high Alaska Range and help us in our acclimatization process.

We’ll let you know how it goes!

RMI Guide Ben Liken

On The Map

Michael Waters, your family is with you in spirit every step of the way.  Stay safe and good luck.  We know you will make it!  We look forward eagerly to the daily blog of the progress of you and the team from Dave.  Hugs, Nan

Posted by: Lynn Shannon on 6/27/2016 at 8:57 pm

Heritage Place is cheering and praying for you all and especially our Kathleen:)

Posted by: Heritage Place on 6/27/2016 at 6:17 pm

Denali Expedition: Haugen & Team Carry to 17,000’ Camp

June 25, 2016 - 10:33 pm PT

We walked away from camp around 6 A.M. bound for 17 Camp.  Unlike the sweltering afternoons when we watched lines of ants move up and down the fixed lines from camp, the chilly mornings tend to keep people in their tents. This morning’s early departure made us the only team around.  We cruised up the fixed lines, past Washburn’s Thumb, along a stunning ridge line all the way to our cache at 17,000’ Camp.  Our crew of rock stars crushed it!  Many members of our team said that today was the best day of mountain climbing they’ve ever had- fun movement, epic views, great company.  We returned to 14,000’ Camp around 5 P.M. in high spirits but plumb tuckered.  After a hearty meal everyone retreated to their tents quickly. We all look forward to sleeping in tomorrow- not only is it a rest day, but it’s the day that Pepper Dee was brought into this world.  Things have never been the same since. 

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

On The Map

Happy Birthday Pepper! Enjoy!

Posted by: David B Clemmons on 6/27/2016 at 7:17 pm

this is Hannah’s mom, Lisa. Happy birthday Pepper! What an exciting place to celebrate another year!
My love to y’all from sweaty hot Memphis, TN where the heat index has been 105 for 5 days. Looking at your blog photos of snow and ice help to cool me down.
Good luck with your summitting and watch yer top notch.

Posted by: Lisa Nezwazky on 6/27/2016 at 5:20 am

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Charge up Ski Hill and into Camp at 9,300’

June 25, 2016 - 9:14 pm PT

Checking the weather at 3:30 this morning revealed a slightly gloomy world of clouds.  It had snowed, but just a little, and it was calm.  So we fired the stoves and rallied the team.  While we ate breakfast and got ready to travel, about 50 climbers from at least a half dozen teams trudged by on the final day of their expeditions.  More or less happily heading for the exits.  We recognized and shouted greetings to many of the guides.  They’d all tagged the top in the last couple of days after waiting out prolonged storms. 
    Our team packed up and got on the track as if they’d been climbing for weeks.  We were moving by 6:15 AM with the sky clearing and trail conditions far better than they’d been the day before.  On the compacted and frozen surface our sleds were a lot easier to pull.  We charged up “Ski Hill” and after a couple of rest breaks and some tough uphill sections we pulled in to the plateau at 9,300 ft and dug a new camp in the snow.  By noon, most of the team were headed into their new homes to nap and get out of the intense sunshine.  We passed a lazy and quiet afternoon without much more sign of other teams.  We’ve already got the place to ourselves, it seems. 
    We’ll get up early again and see if we can get up to 11,000 ft tomorrow. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Wow that looks fantastic!!! We’re really hoping the weather holds for you. Good luck from down under

Posted by: Kate & Paul in Aus on 6/28/2016 at 9:01 pm

Go get it David! We all have your back here in Texas.

Posted by: Brian Schnautz on 6/26/2016 at 4:29 pm

Denali Expedition: Haugen & Team Rest at 14,000’ Camp

June 24, 2016 - 10:45 pm PT

The team had a fun filled rest day today at 14 camp. We kicked off the day with a lox and bagels brunch, and then rallied out to the “edge of the world,” a dramatic rock outcropping outside of camp that affords breathtaking views of the West Rib of Denali, Mount Hunter, Mount Foraker, and much of the Alaska range. We took turns posing with ice axe in hand- sometimes using it to play air guitar, to point to the summit, or just to accentuate the American flag scarf that was being worn instead of a shirt.  Whatever style each of us went with, fun was had by all and morale was tip top.  We rounded out the afternoon by practicing fixed line travel and running belays, as well as organizing our food and gear for our carry to 17K camp tomorrow.  Oh yeah, and we also did a little trauma shear salon session, which left Pepper Dee looking extra stylish.  It’s gently snowing at the moment, and we feel poised to push up even higher in the morning. 

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

On The Map

I’m sure my brother Phil is having a great time! The pictures are amazing! I’m keeping everyone updated on Facebook with Mike’s daily blog and photos, and everyone wishes the whole team success in your amazing efforts! Stay safe from all of us, and for my brother Phil, I love you and am so proud and happy for you to reach one of your dreams! Mary says Hi as well! Ed

Posted by: Ed Goss on 6/26/2016 at 5:27 am

It’s fun following your blog every day, love the pictures! Can’t wait to see more. Thoughts and prayers for good weather and safe climbing. Enjoy the adventure!!! (Love you Jon! Hope you make it to the summit for your Birthday!! ....Mom)

Posted by: Elizabeth Beckett on 6/25/2016 at 7:23 pm

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Leave Base Camp and Camp under West Kahiltna Peak

June 24, 2016 - 10:24 pm PT

It began raining at Kahiltna Basecamp around 9PM, and that transitioned to wet snow at about 2 AM.  So we didn’t go for that Alpine Start we were angling toward.  It was still snowing at 7:30 AM when we got up to build breakfast but then it quit and things began to improve.  We’d begun to think we’d be stuck in BC for a storm day, but with clearing weather and the knowledge that the glacier was in exceptionally good condition for late June, we decided to make use of the day.  As always, it took a while breaking camp and gearing up for this first push.  It was awkward rigging sleds into rope travel and it was awkward for some to be on snowshoes with heavy packs.  We got out of BC by 10:45 and by then the sky was mostly blue and the sun was mostly hot.  After the rain, the surface was a little slushy but not all that bad for travel.  We moved down the SE Fork and took a right turn at the main Kahiltna Glacier.  We had things pretty much to ourselves with only the occasional one or two European climbers at a time coming past on their way out.  We made steady progress, but we weren’t moving fast with the slushy conditions.  We decided to quit after six hours of work, which had brought us to just about 45 minutes below the more common camp at 7800.  We are out under West Kahiltna Peak.  All day as we traveled, we could hear avalanches thundering down the mountainsides, and from time to time we’d look hard enough to find the clouds of ice billowing out from the snowy torrents. 
We had a secure camp up by 6 and dinner by 7 PM so that all could get enough rest for another big day tomorrow.  Hopefully on a frozen surface with cooler conditions. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Go Robin and team! Sounds like some tough going up there and cold! It’s nice and warm and muggy here in NC. We’re all thinking about you and wishing you and the team the best of luck as you all get further along! Russell

Posted by: Russell Moore on 6/25/2016 at 5:32 pm

Hola! Superbub, Tatto, The Pake and kiddos here! Giving a shout out to the Guy Lard Boof Tard! aka Mike Waters. Wishing the best to you and your team and praying for good weather!



Posted by: Bub on 6/25/2016 at 11:25 am

Denali Expedition: Haugen & Team Settle In at 14,200’

June 23, 2016 - 10:07 P.M. PDT

At 3 A.M. Mount Foraker was bathed in streaks of pink light and not a breath of wind moved through 11 Camp as we packed our packs to move up the mountain. We climbed efficiently up Motorcycle Hill and Squirrel Hill, around a not so Windy Corner, and pulled into 14 Camp just as the heat of the day began.  We found an empty fortress of expertly chopped snow blocks and after a few hours of renovation, moved into our new home. Our whole team ate and hydrated like champions. In high spirits we’re snuggling up for the night under benign skies. Tomorrow will be a rest day - haircuts, Game of Thrones, Uno, and lots of sunscreen await us. 

Love from El Siete

On The Map

How exciting

Posted by: Sybil Smith on 6/26/2016 at 11:25 am

Good luck…great adventure!

Posted by: Ruth on 6/26/2016 at 7:29 am

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Fly to Kahiltna Base Camp

June 23, 2016 - 9:39 P.M. PDT

First day in our new home…The Alaska Range. We enjoyed a final night in Talkeetna and another great breakfast at the Roadhouse, but then we hustled out to the airstrip. There was no “hurry up and wait” today, more like just plain hurry up. The weather was good and the pilots were ready to go. Stan and Randy each piloted a big and beautiful Otter on skis into the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier and spit us and our gear out onto the snow…all before 10 A.M. We spent a calm day building camp and reviewing glacier travel techniques. We’d take breaks from time to time to sip water and stare at the giant mountain walls surrounding us. Cloud cover moved in to obscure those walls by our early bedtime. Our intention is to be up at midnight for an alpine start. During the flight in, we could see that the rumors have been spot on. The lower glacier is in excellent condition with very few open crevasses. Even so, we’ll go at it early when the surface has the best chance for being frozen solid.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Sooo excited for you guys! What an awesome experience! Get after it Hannah and crew! Best wishes for some good weather. Happy climbing :)

Posted by: Kate Kimm on 6/25/2016 at 2:42 am

Schnautz!! We are rooting for you! Kick ass buddy. We hope the weather stays perfect for Yall. Can’t wait to hear all about it when you get back!!!

Posted by: Ash, Rick, and TDub Egan on 6/24/2016 at 7:19 pm

Denali Expedition: Haugen & Team - 14K on the Way!

June 22, 2016 - 9:29 pm PT

We took advantage of beautiful weather and moved some supplies up to the camp at 14,000 feet. We left camp around 4:30 a.m. so we could take advantage of firm snow and cool traveling conditions. Although we are on a cold mountain, the solar radiation can be stifling later in the day. Our 3,000-foot climb up to 14k took us up several big hills with names like Motorcycle Hill, Squirrel Hill, and Windy Corner. Once we got to 14k, we dug a giant hole and then buried our super cold weather gear, food, and some fuel under 1.5 meters of snow. The team did an amazing job all day and we were back in camp in around nine hours round-trip.
The plan for tomorrow is to take advantage of the good forecast and move our camp up to 14k where we will be knocking on the door of the upper mountain.

That’s all for now! We’ll be in touch from 14 camp.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

On The Map

Happy Birthday Jon!!  Hope you are having a wonderful time and your climb is all you hoped for.  God Bless!

Posted by: Marilyn and Jerry on 6/29/2016 at 12:21 pm

Venga team El Siete!!
Glad to read that the UNO cards are being used =)
Have a good climb tomorrow!


Posted by: Tom on 6/24/2016 at 2:41 am

Denali Expedition: Haugen & Team Rest at 11,000’ Camp

June 21, 2016 - 9:27 pm PT

Rest days are the best days!

Our team made the most of this one with an extended pancake breakfast, followed by several hours of heated “uno” playing. By mid afternoon though, the team was all business as we sorted group gear and provisions in preparation for our carry to 14 Camp tomorrow. It actually takes a good amount of thought splitting up expedition loads; we want to be sure we won’t be carrying tons of weight on our move day, but also need to leave enough provisions at 11 Camp should we get caught in a storm cycle after the carry. But as of now, the packs are packed and we are excited to head up the mountain tomorrow! The solstice sun is shining brightly on us as we nestle in for the night. We’ll catch you on the flip side!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

On The Map

Great news! Pictures are stunningly gorgeous! We will all pray for good weather!

PS: be careful, Phil cheats at UNO

Posted by: TOM on 6/22/2016 at 12:12 pm

Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Gather In Talkeetna

June 22, 2016 - 12:17 a.m. P.D.T.

The final RMI Expeditions Denali trip of 2016 is kicking off. The team assembled in Anchorage today, with a few reunions and a few introductions, and made the traditional pilgrimage to Talkeetna. Bill, our Denali Overland driver, got the van out of the Anchorage rush hour traffic and out onto the open road with big views of the Chugach foothills and the Talkeetna Mountains. After a last stop for provisions in Wasilla, we cruised on up to epic views of the Alaska Range itself just before pulling into Talkeetna. We settled our climbing gear at the airplane hangar and checked in to the venerable Talkeetna Motel. Some of the team ventured out to sample local beer and appetizers, some went straight to the mattresses after long days of prep and travel. We’ll dial down on pre-climb details tomorrow morning…Tonight it was unwind and get settled in the land of the midnight sun.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Best of luck Team 8, everyone from Texas to Grand Cayman is cheering for y’all and we’ll be watching as you make your way to the top!  Safe climbing and enjoy the ride David Schnautz, love ya long time!

Posted by: Sondra Schnautz on 6/23/2016 at 7:29 pm

KirkMan - Proud of you Bro!  Miss you already!

Posted by: Charles Holliman on 6/23/2016 at 2:51 pm

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