Entries from Alaska Seminar
May 31, 2021
Monday, May 31, 2021 - 11:17 am PT
I’m writing this from the Swiss Alaska Inn in Talkeetna. We flew out from Kahiltna Basecamp yesterday evening, after breaking down our camp and breaking trail back to the airstrip. Now we’re eating pancakes and eggs in the big city, re-adjusting to indoors life. We’ve got a few things to do around town before we catch our afternoon shuttle to Anchorage. It was a great trip all around. Everyone is a little sunburned, but otherwise no worse for the wear. Thanks for following along, and thanks to all the climbers who made this trip a memorable one.
RMI Guide JM Gorum
May 30, 2021
Saturday, May 29, 2021 - 10:52 pm PT
The wind died down for us last night, but in its place the snow ramped up. Our hope was to try to climb one of the peaks surrounding camp, but lack of visibility and new snow avalanche concerns kept us away from big steep slopes. Instead, we opted for plan B, which was to head east out of camp and do some ice climbing on an exposed part of the main Kahiltna Glacier. It turned out to be a great venue.
Twenty minutes of walking out our front doors put us on top of a few different 60-80 foot climbs. We lowered in from the top and climbed back out. Everyone got a handful of laps in. We even put up one notable first ascent which earned the name, I Just Need a Minute to Rest(MFA), AI4, 60 feet. Due to the long approach and shifting nature of the glacier, we do not expect this route to become a classic. That’s a real shame, because it got five stars in our book. We wrapped up the day with a bunch of macaroni and cheese with bacon, and some surprisingly deep and affirming kitchen tent talks. The only way this day could have possibly been better is if we could have seen a single thing all day, but living in a whiteout is part of being in the Alaska Range.
Tonight looks to be another snowy one, so we’ll see what we can get done tomorrow. At some point we’ll need to start working our way back towards base camp. As always, everyone sends their best and we’ll check in tomorrow.
May 29, 2021
Thursday, May 28, 2021 - 7:43pm PT
Today was a slow day for us on the Kahiltna. We alternated between blue skies and whiteout, and the wind blew a steady 20-30mph all morning. We made hash browns, eggs, and quesadillas for brunch, traded card tricks, and talked about a few climbing related things.
The wind has now died down, and we’ve got a little bit of evening sun. Everyone is well rested and ready to get moving around tomorrow, so hopefully the weather cooperates. That’s it from us on the lower Kahiltna, another good day in the books!
RMI JM Gorum and Kahiltna Seminar Team.
May 28, 2021
Friday, May 28, 2021 - 1:04pm PT
We expected weather to move in last night, but it was definitely windier than we thought it was going to be. Thankfully we had a strong camp built up and, besides waking us up throughout the night, the gusts really caused us no issue.
We hoped to break down camp early and get moving up the main fork of the Kahiltna, but it didn’t make sense to risk losing a tent breaking down camp in the wind. The sun stayed out for most of the morning, so we just sat around hiding from the wind and playing two truths and a lie until about noon. By this point, the wind had died down significantly so we decided to pack up and venture out to find a new home. We left camp around 2pm, walked downhill onto the main fork of the Kahiltna glacier, and turned north. We had scattered clouds and moderate winds, keeping the temperature comfortably cool. In full sun and light winds, it can be uncomfortably hot on the Kahiltna, so we welcomed our all-natural A/C.
Setting up camp just north of Mount Crosson took no time at all. Everybody is a pro by now. We’re all in our tents now hiding from the wind again. There are plenty of climbing objectives in our new neighborhood, but we’ll just see what the weather allows.
RMI Guides JM Gorum & Team
So happy to get to follow the adventures through your blog posts. Sounds like a continuous balance of learning, practicing and relaxing with the company of the team.
Posted by: Melanee Strootman on 5/28/2021 at 6:42 pm
May 27, 2021
Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - 11:54 pm PT
Another bluebird day here on the Kahiltna Glacier. Today was all about crevasse rescue for us. We found a nice big hole about 20 minutes from camp and practiced our haul systems from about 9 am until the sun got the better of us in the early afternoon. We retreated to our tents for our routine afternoon shade session.
The plan was to cover sled rigging and hauling before dinner, but all these perfect warm weather days caught up with the structural integrity of our camp. Our kitchen tent collapsed on itself as its foundation slowly melted away. Not a big deal. We moved it over twenty feet and built a new and improved version. Like so many home improvement hopefuls before us, once we started we just kept going, and before we knew it we had buffed out our entire camp and it was time for dinner.
We’ve got a bit of a weather system moving in over the next few days. It’s lightly snowing as I write. Weather permitting, tomorrow we’d like to pack up some gear and get out of town for a few days, venturing somewhere down on the main fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. We’ll wake up tomorrow, see how the weather looks and make our decision then. We’ll check in tomorrow, hopefully from our new home.
May 26, 2021
Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 11:33 pm PT
We had another great day here on the southeast fork of the Kahiltna Glacier. Not a cloud in the sky and balmy temperatures made life easy. We woke up a bit earlier today, around 6, ate a quick breakfast and started breaking trail up towards our first climbing objective. Radio Control Tower is a peak located just outside of Base Camp. We made good time getting up to the ridge, and put a lot of different climbing techniques to use.
We got back to camp and hid from the sun in our tents for the early part of the afternoon. Once it cooled off a bit we practiced some crevasse rescue systems around the tents, with the hopes of finding a suitable crack to practice around tomorrow.
Everyone is adjusting quite well to glacier life. We’ve already got a book club in the making, and our nightly live-broadcast podcast is really taking off. Everyone sends their best to the folks back home! You’ll hear from us again tomorrow.
A book club in the making. Now THAT is not what you’d expect to learn is happening up on a glacier. Shows the balance of working both body and mind though. So rock on!
Posted by: Melanee Strootman on 5/26/2021 at 12:17 pm
Way to go team, keep up the good work. The view looks amazing.
Posted by: Frances Shaw on 5/26/2021 at 7:22 am
May 25, 2021
Monday, May 24, 2021 - 11:13 pm PT
We made it in to base camp last night. We landed at our new home in the Alaska range around 7pm and got to work building camp. It took us about two hours to get settled in, and then we had a late dinner consisting of Talkeetna’s finest Mountain High Pizza Pie. It’s hardly ever a bad call to fly on to the glacier with four large pizzas.
This morning we had a leisurely start, waiting until the sun hit our tents around 8am. We drank some coffee and ate some toasty bagels, and then we got to work. Today was a skills focused day. We worked on footwork, rope travel, knots, and anchors. We didn’t venture too far out of camp, but we did do a little tour of the new neighborhood. Along the way we scoped out some crevasses that should work nicely for practicing rescue in the next few days.
We’re turning in now, tomorrow we’re going to get up a little earlier and put our newly practiced skills to use on a smaller climb close to camp. We’ll let you know how it goes.
June 3, 2019
We joined the emails late but thought it was awesome to be able to hear and see some of what you experienced. Now that we know how to connect with you, we will stay tuned for more. You make us feel like we are lazy at home watching adventurous people like you having amazing experiences. Keep it up and have a great summer in the mountains. xoxo
Posted by: Sandy on 6/5/2019 at 6:28 pm
June 1, 2019
Just read seminar description. Sounds like the clients are intelligent people. Too many head to difficult mountains without knowing even basic climbing skills. I commend each of you, and wish y’all long lives, and safe climbing experiences!
Posted by: Susan Moore on 6/1/2019 at 11:38 pm
Until it clears enough for the pilots, you can socialize and play, or learn new skills. It doesn’t sound like any seminar I’ve ever been to. Sounds like a rough day. Lol! Enjoy the views. Spectacular!
Posted by: Susan Moore on 6/1/2019 at 11:29 pm
June 1, 2019