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Entries from Mount McKinley

June 26, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Settle in Below Ski Hill

Friday June 26th 9:13 pm PT

Our weather took a dive.  But our timing and luck have been pretty good anyway.  We were up at 1 AM this morning and on the trail by 4 AM (getting breakfast and gearing up while tearing down camp takes a while the first time).  The clouds were getting lower and lower until about 7 AM when we were swallowed up by the murk.  Wet snow was falling by 8:30, but luckily we were pulling into our intended camp at 8,000 feet by 9:15.  So we were indeed lucky to get flown on before the weather deteriorated and happy we were able to make use of what otherwise might have been considered a storm day today. 

Just as the snow began to fall, we met up with Mike Haugen’s victorious team on their way out.  Nice to see them, even if just in passing.  Once our new camp at the base of “Ski Hill” was built, we climbed in to rest away the late morning and afternoon.  Dinner was under the shelter of our POSH tent in a well-dug dining/kitchen snow pit. 

Aside from the weather, glacier conditions were quite good for traveling today and we had very few issues with the multitude of crevasse bridges that needed crossing. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Love you lots Dad! Happy to hear things are going well for the team so far, despite the earthquake. I can’t wait to hear more stories! XOXO - Kati, Eric, and Jake :)

Posted by: Katherine Giersch on 6/27/2015 at 8:39 am

From Kayleigh: I know you can do it! Go Daddy!

Posted by: Sharon Lewis on 6/27/2015 at 6:29 am

June 26, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Take A Snow Day

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 2:47 pm PT

It is a snowy day here at Camp 4…The gang is currently chilling in the tents and posh on our first scheduled rest day that just happened to coincide with a change in the weather. Spirits are high and we are keeping our fingers crossed for marginally better weather tomorrow and a hopeful carry up to high camp.

Quotes of the day:

“Don’t tell me how to eat my Oreos!” - Sean

“How are geriatrics and RMI guides alike? It depends…” - Art and Doug

“The wise man chooses nachos.” - Mike

“I gotta save Canada from those gosh darn moose…” - Marc

“I love pico de gallo!” - Billy

RMI Guide Billy Nugent and Team

On The Map

I love Pico de Gallo! With fresh shredded cheese.

Posted by: Michael McDonald on 6/27/2015 at 6:14 pm

enjoy your rest day !

Posted by: MARK AND HELEN WALSH on 6/27/2015 at 4:42 am

June 26, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Decent Descent to 11K Camp

Friday June 26th 12:30 am PT

We are on our way down!! After waking up when the sun hit our tents at 17,000, we packed up and headed downhill. Although sore and tired from a long summit day, we made good time down to 14,000 feet. We met up with Billy Nugent’s group and had a healthy round of hugs and high fives. We picked up some cached gear and partook in the time honored tradition of fitting twice as much gear into a pack than should be possible and carrying said pack down another 3,000 feet to 11k Camp and our awaiting sleds. We are currently in a holding/napping pattern at 11k. We are going to walk early in the morning towards base camp and the landing strip in hopes of an early flight to Talkeetna. That is weather dependent of course!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

On The Map

  Great news! Can’t wait to hear your stories and see your pictures. I am sure everyone on El Siete has wonderful stories
to share. I am looking forward to Doug’s!

Posted by: Chris on 6/26/2015 at 7:18 pm

Great news! Stay safe on your descent, El Siete.

Posted by: Judi on 6/26/2015 at 4:04 pm

June 26, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Retrieve Cache at Windy Corner

Thursday June 25th 10:16 pm PT

Hola from a sunny day up here at 14k. We enjoyed a lazy morning with a good coffee session in the posh before getting down to the business of retrieving our cache down near Windy Corner. A couple of hours was all it took and we were back in camp up in the Genet Basin in time to greet Mike Haugen’s crew on their descent from high camp after their successful summit bid yesterday. Tomorrow’s plans call for our first complete rest day of the trip that will hopefully set us up for a strong performance as we venture onto the upper mountain in the coming days. The weather may get a bit funky but hopefully it’ll be nothing that will slow us down. More on our story as it develops…

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Artie and Charlie,
Very exciting time! Have a Blast(not Artic)!
Thinking of you,
Love and kisses,
Ted and Debbie

Posted by: ted and debbie berghorst on 6/27/2015 at 5:21 am

Art, Charlie and team.  Thinking of you and what a great adventure. Be safe.

Posted by: elizabeth williams on 6/26/2015 at 1:54 pm

June 26, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Smooth Sailing to Kahiltna Base

Thursday June 25th 10:15 pm PT

Our exit from Talkeetna was nearly as smooth and easy as our arrival in the Alaska Range turned out to be.  We had our traditional Roadhouse breakfast and then headed for the hangar.  By 10:00 AM we were loading onto K2 Aviation’s ski planes and taking off for the mountains.  We had a couple of good views of Denali and Foraker, the giants of the range, despite a fair amount of cloud and forest fire smoke in the air. 
Basecamp at 7,200 feet on the Southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier was nearly deserted when we came in… just the way we like it.  We set camp, reviewed glacier travel techniques and got used to fabulous views when the clouds lifted.  By early evening a few other guided teams flew in and we chatted with the leaders, since we’ll likely be seeing each other a bit in the weeks to come.  There was a lot to get done on this day- there always is at the start of a big climb.  But we got it done and the team is now resting.  We were early to bed and we’ll be early to rise tomorrow in the hopes of catching easier and safer conditions for travel in the cold part of the day.  From what we could see from the airplane, the first part of our climb will be made easier by excellent snow coverage on the glacier surface. 

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

On The Map

Gary R and all of you:  Best wishes for great weather, safe travel, magnificent views, a fun time and victory in attaining the summit.  I’ll be following the posts throughout.  - Rob R

Posted by: Rob Reynolds on 6/26/2015 at 8:51 pm

June 25, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team Ready to Fly

Thursday June 25th 10:00 a.m. PT

RMI Guide Dave Hahn sent us a couple photos as they were embarking on their flight to Kahiltna Base. Once the team is situated on the glacier and moved into their first mountain camp, Dave will check in with us again.

June 24, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Hahn & Team a Shaky Start in Alaska

Wednesday June 24th 11:15 pm PT

This was a typically full and busy prep day for Denali in many ways… And a little atypical as well.  We had plenty to do, a big and delicious breakfast meeting at the Roadhouse, our informative orientation slideshow with the National Park Service at the Talkeetna Ranger Station and an afternoon of checking and sorting climbing equipment and supplies out at the K2 Aviation hangar.  It was during the gear sorting that the atypical event transpired.  We were working outside, enjoying the summer sunshine.  Airplanes were taxiing and revving their props, trains were going back and forth with blaring horns and mild rumbling… When real rumbling began.  An earthquake struck a little before 2:30 in the afternoon.  It was unmistakable, but also fairly mild where we were standing… even if it was surreal.  We heard reports that it was a magnitude 5.8 quake centered about sixty miles west of Talkeetna, which must mean that our climber-friends and co-workers probably felt it more than we did.  We sure hope that none were in delicate circumstances for the event and that all were ok.  Our team went back to packing and prepping for flying onto the Kahiltna Glacier tomorrow morning.  The afternoon finished with a weigh-in of food and fuel, clothing, tents, ropes, stoves, sleds, shovels, people and a small mountain of miscellaneous ballast for the climb.
We sat outside for dinner, talking over the details of tomorrow and the start of a big adventure, but also simply relaxing and enjoying a memorable summer day before we commit to snow and ice.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

wishing the group no un-expected storms or earthquakes…smooth climbing all the way to the top!

Posted by: kathie grengs on 6/25/2015 at 1:58 pm

That’s a crazy day!  Thanks for the report!  Go team and safe beginnings to all.

Posted by: Laura Taft Paulsen on 6/25/2015 at 1:52 pm

June 24, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Nugent & Team Move to 14K Camp

Wulp, your intrepid team has made it smoothly and safely into Camp 4 at over 14K! Forecasts were calling for an end to our decent weather on Thursday or Friday so we decided to push up and forego a rest day at 11. The climbers have been motivated and moving strongly throughout the trip, which made the decision to move up a relatively easy one. We were greeted by RMI Guide Pepper Dee with a great looking posh and nice camp to move into.  Pepper also had plenty of cold water for us which really hit the spot after our first really hot day on the move. Not much else to report other than pretty marginal weather forecasts and a happy team sitting pretty at 14.

RMI Guide Billy Nugent

On The Map

Go for it Art and Charlie! Hope the weather holds.

Posted by: Bill Fruamann on 6/26/2015 at 7:40 am

Great to hear the weather has cooperated so far Marco!  Hopefully it will stay like that.  Sounds like the whole team is doing great.  Bravo!

Posted by: Mti & Dodi on 6/26/2015 at 12:34 am

June 24, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Haugen & Team Summit!

Wednesday June 24th 11:45 pm PT

We woke up around seven this morning to one of the warmest mornings I have ever experienced at 17,000 feet camp. We got ready slowly and departed for the top just after nine. The weather was perfect for us pretty much the entire climb. There was a little bit of cold, a little bit of hot, but mostly perfect all day. The El Siete crew walked to the summit in style a little after five this afternoon and spent a good deal of time taking pictures from the top. We had a smooth descent and pulled into camp just after 9:00 p.m. Alaska time for a twelve-hour round trip. We are getting the boys fed and put to bed so we can get up early to start our way out to basecamp and eventually back to you!

RMI Guide Mike Haugen

Audio transcription - Wednesday June 24th 6:30 pm PT
Hi, it’s Mike Haugen. I am standing with the RMI el Siete on the summit of Denali. Beautiful weather. We topped out about 5:15 in the evening and are miles above the clouds. We are saying our congratulations to the team and head on back to high camp and send the blog from there.  Hope all of our families are doing well. Thank you for your support.

RMI Guide Mike Haugen calls in from the Denali summit!

On The Map

Congratulations to the hole team! Can’t wait to hear all about the climb and to see pictures! Now come home safe, Fredrik!

Posted by: May-Linn on 6/25/2015 at 3:24 pm

Congratulations to all of you, and well done to my norwegian friends Erlend and Fredrik! I was very happy to receive the news today! :-)

Posted by: Viggo Finset on 6/25/2015 at 2:26 pm

June 24, 2015

Denali - West Buttress Expedition

Mt. McKinley: Dave Hahn & Team Arrive in Talkeetna

June 24, 2015 12:35 am PST

The final RMI Denali team of 2015 came together today.  Six climbers and three guides met up in Anchorage this afternoon, some having come in one or two days previously and some just arriving today after exceedingly long airline extravaganzas.  Luckily, the all-important mountain of baggage that will allow us to safely challenge the real mountain made it onto the Anchorage carousels intact.  We didn’t waste much time at all before boarding our Denali Overland shuttle for Talkeetna.  It was a warm and dry day, as has apparently been the pattern in these parts this season.  Haze obscured the views we might otherwise have enjoyed of the Alaska Range.  Our journey to Talkeetna was broken up by a stop at the big supermarkets of Wasilla to put finishing touches on group and personal food supplies for the trip.  We made good time up through the fresh forest fire scars of Willow, AK that have been making national news in recent weeks and rolled into Talkeetna around 8 PM.  It didn’t take long before we were settled into our comfortable hotel and venturing out together for a relaxing beverage while basking in the strong evening sunshine. 

Tomorrow we’ll get down to the business of climbing North America’s highest mountain.

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team

I will be following the blog every step of the way…good climbing to the group

Posted by: kathie grengs on 6/26/2015 at 10:05 am

Hi Dave -

Just read on your Facebook page about the earthquake up there.  Unbelievable. Hope you and the crew have safe climbing days ahead of you.  Good Luck !

-Larry Seaton

Posted by: Larry Seaton on 6/24/2015 at 8:25 pm

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