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Entries from Alaska


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

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

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 !!!

Sincerely,
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

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Brad,

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


Denali Expedition: Walter and Team Wait Out the Weather

Saturday, July 3, 2021 - 1:04 pm PT

We are stationary once again, waiting for any sign in the weather forecast that would indicate a potential good-weather window to move up to high camp and get in place for a summit bid. Today is overcast above us with light wind in camp, but we can still hear the wind up high. It's hard to complain about R & R time, but we're certainly ready for some weather that's more conducive for climbing.

We will check in again soon.

RMI Guide Mike Walter & Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

How are you d ? We miss you ❤️

You kin,
The Arnolds

Posted by: Richard Arnold on 7/4/2021 at 6:32 pm


Denali Expedition: Stormy Weather Turned Hahn & Team on Their Carry

The storm that moved in so deliberately yesterday evening seemed to pause this morning.  At 6AM it was calm at 14k although we could hear big winds up on the crest of the West Buttress.  Cloud was all around us, but it wasn’t doing a lot.  We ate a slow breakfast and watched the weather.  Having no other appointments or engagements, we decided to walk uphill to attempt our carry of supplies.  The goal would be 16,200 ft, the top of the fixed lines.  We were underway by 9 AM, by which time it was snowing lightly.  Since we had two hours of straightforward uphill trudging before the start of the more complicated climbing, we figured we would give the weather a chance to improve.  It did not.  We turned around at 15,300 ft with the winds seemingly on the increase up above and snow beginning to fall heavily.  It only took thirty minutes to reach camp again. 

Winds began to hammer our camp by early afternoon and so we built big walls of snow-bricks to protect tents.  Thankfully, the fury was short lived and not all that furious.  We got a break by late afternoon, which certainly made dinner a bit easier to enjoy in the cook tent. The storm is still with us at 9 PM, ripping the upper reaches of Denali, but sparing 14 Camp for the time being. 

We’ll give our carry another try tomorrow should we get the chance.

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn & Team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Hello Dave Hahn & Team

Great picture of the camp at 14000!

Is the hump in the background the summit?

Posted by: Joseph P McEttrick on 7/3/2021 at 3:19 pm


Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Weather Day at 14K

Friday, July 2, 2021 - 1:16 pm PT

Just as forecasted, a storm has settled in on Denali. At 14K Camp it is snowing with some moderate gusts of wind and very little visibility. Up above us on the mountain we can hear the winds crashing over the West Buttress like waves in the ocean.

We're protected and safe, though, with a well-built camp. After a hash brown, egg, and cheese scramble for breakfast, we're just relaxing in our tents or in the cook tent, reading, napping, and sharing conversations, a thin piece of nylon the difference between comfort and suffering.

This storm is forecasted to last into tomorrow, and we're in no hurry to stick our noses in it. Hopefully we'll get some nicer weather in its wake.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Go go Aaron!! Keep on goiiiiiiiing. Love, Em

Posted by: Emilee on 7/2/2021 at 2:33 pm


Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Back Carry and Rest at 14K Camp

Thursday, July 1, 2021 - 10:06 pm PT

Today was a simple one.  We got up at 6 AM, ate breakfast and put on our spikes for a short walk down to the cache at 13,500 ft.  The team loved the views of Mts Foraker and Hunter.  The Tordrillo Mountains were clearly visible to the South.  Ravens hadn’t even attempted to break into our well-buried cache.  We had it out and distributed for carrying in minutes.  Then we walked slowly back uphill with full packs, reaching camp by 10:30 AM.  Rest and rehydration was in order as we got out of the strong sun and into our tents.  A storm was gradually forming, first with winds up high on Denali, then with a steadily lowering cloud cap.  This didn’t prevent us from conducting a brief review of the climbing techniques we mean to employ on the fixed-rope section between 15,000 and 16,000 ft tomorrow when we carry high. 

Best Regards,

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team

Denali Expedition: Smith & Team Fly to Talkeetna

Thursday, July 1, 2021 - 2:19 pm PT

Just a walk in the park,

A short nap began our long walk out. A 10pm wake up and a midnight start got us to basecamp an early hour. Heavy sleds and packs were no match for our motivation to shower away 22 days worth of smell. Walking the Kahiltna in the middle of the night (granted its always light out) is peaceful. A great time for reflection. Its been a fun, albeit hard, 22 days on Denali. We had it all, snow, wind, sunshine, all three at once. What we didn't have was any illness or injury and that's the important part. Showered, fed, and full of oxygen-rich air, we are all ready for our journey home. Its been a memorable expedition but now its time for family, friends, and recovery. 

Well done team, well done,

RMI Guide Hannah Smith and team

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Great Job Hannah and Dustin!! It was great following along with you.

Posted by: Dave Kestel on 7/2/2021 at 2:49 am


Denali Expedition: Hahn & Team Turn the Corner into 14K Camp

Wednesday, June 30, 2021 - 10:06 pm PT

At long last, we made it from the lower mountain to the upper mountain.  The weather was perfect all day long, although forecasts hadn’t given any indication that it might be.  It was a bit of work to get packed up and moving out of 11,000 ft this morning… we tend to put down roots, but by 9AM we were stretching the ropes out and walking toward Motorcycle Hill.  The snow surface was firm and perfect for crampons.  We moved on up over familiar terrain, but this time with unlimited views of tundra and rivers to the north.  Views were spectacular as we turned Windy Corner, but of course we couldn’t gaze at them too long -lots of climbing stuff to concentrate on at the Corner.  There was little or no wind to be had as we made our way into Genet Basin and the fabled Fourteen Camp at 2:30 in the afternoon.  Our expedition experience changed markedly as we hauled through camp.  As one of the last guided teams of the season, we’ve been mostly on our own or around one or two other teams at most.  It was nearly overwhelming to be seeing so many teams coming and going from 14 Camp. Socially it was exciting -for both guides and climbers- to be seeing friends and co-workers from various companies -many for the first time since before the pandemic.  A handful of teams were coming down into camp after summit bids yesterday. Briefly, all three RMI teams on the mountain were in the same place at the same time.  The National Park Service B3 helicopter was in action conducting rescues high and low.  As we dug in to establish our camp we felt like we’d come into the center of everything.  For a short time at least.  Many of those we saw will shortly go lower or higher.  We still need to drop down tomorrow morning for our cached supplies parked just above the Corner.  But tonight we are sleeping at fourteen-thousand-hard-earned feet. 

Best Regards.

RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Leave a Comment For the Team (2)

You’re almost there!!!  Hope someone brought the fireworks !!  Safe travels :)

Posted by: Mom and Cindy on 7/2/2021 at 4:38 pm

Congrats on the 14K level.  It sounds like the camp was as busy as downtown Boston here.

The views sound tremendous & worth the effort.  Good luck with the summiting.

You can ask Matt McEttrick how Denali compares with his first family climb here in Milton MA

at the top of Great Blue Hill (elevation 635’) overlooking Boston and Massachusetts Bay.

Joe McEttrick

Posted by: Joe McEttrick on 7/1/2021 at 12:47 pm


Denali Expedition: Smith & Team Back to 11K Camp

Wednesday, June 30, 2021 - 8:31 pm PT

Hey-O,

A long day indeed. We woke at 17K Camp and are now resting at 11K Camp. We have changed our focus of going up the mountain to going down the mountain. The focus is always on going higher and higher but the most important part is the downhill. Our trip is coming to an end and we are making our way back to basecamp. These long days walking gives plenty of time to reflect on the trip. It's been a long one, with today marking day 21. Many experiences and memories have been had. We may have not gained the summit but we have gained stories on stories of our time out here. And really the summit is just the cherry on top of an experience of a lifetime. Tomorrow we walk the Kahiltna Glacier with the final bit called Heart Break Hill. Its only a quick nap at 11K before we hit the glacier around midnight. Caffeine is going to be our friend.

Oh how sweet the air is,

RMI Guide Hannah Smith and team

Leave a Comment For the Team

Denali Expedition: Walter & Team Cache Gear at 16,400’

Wednesday, June 30, 2021 - 6:26 pm PT

The winds and clouds from yesterday and last night disappeared and we woke to crystal blue skies this morning. After breakfast we loaded our packs with food and fuel and headed out of 14K Camp, up towards the Headwall. The first two hours were in the shade, and chilly, which made for great climbing weather. We were finally in the sun by the time we hit the fixed ropes and the temperature was downright pleasant.

We ended up putting our cache in at around 16,400' and headed back to camp, beating both the heat and the many climbers descending from high camp.

Back in camp a little after 2pm, we had plenty of time for a nap before dinner. Now we're set up with our cache up high. We'll take a rest day tomorrow and then wait for a good weather window to head up to high camp and hopefully have a chance for a summit bid.

RMI Guide Mike Walter

Leave a Comment For the Team (1)

Following along with you Aaron!  Great photos and I may paint a few - enjoy the snow it’s HOT here! We love you
Mom and Dad

Posted by: Mom on 7/2/2021 at 8:53 am

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