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The Year In Review A Look Back at 2013

Hundreds of thousands of vertical feet climbed, dozens of sunrises watched from high atop the world’s biggest mountains, and countless hours spent buried in the depths of warm, cozy sleeping bags - 2013 was an amazing year of climbing adventures here at RMI. My highlights in 2013? Climbing Kilimanjaro with my 14 year-old daughter and tagging Rainier’s summit for the 240th time. RMI’s 2013 Year in Review is a compilation of some of the notable moments that occured last year. It is by no means a complete account of all of the adventures that took place in 2013, but a snapshot of a few memories from each month. The experiences we share in life carry the most meaning. Thank you for being a part of our year at RMI! Happy New Year, we look forward to many more adventures in 2014!

Peter Whittaker RMI Expeditions

A few of the numbers... RMI’s 2013 CLIMBERS: HOME

WA: 23.9% MT: .8%

VT: .1% NH: .4% SD: .1% MA: 1.7% WI: 1% NY: 4.2% RI: .1% MI: 1.2% CT: 1.1% PA: 1.8% NJ: 1.6% IA: .4% NE: .3% OH: 1.8% DE: .2% IN: .9% MD: 1.3% IL: 3.4% WV: .4% DC: .9% KS: .3% MO: .9% VA: 4% KY: .5% NC: 2.1% TN: 1.6% OK: .5% SC: .4% AR: .2% MN: 2.8%

OR: 1.9% ID: 1.6%

WY: .2%

NV: .7% CA: 10.1%

ME: .2%

ND: .1%

UT: .8%

AZ: 1.1%

CO: 3.1%

NM: .5%

MS: .2% TX: 6.3%

125 Pounds of hot cocoa used by RMI’S mt. mcKINLEY EXPEDTIONS



Vertical feet ascended on mt. elbrus’ southside by rmi teams in 2013

GA: 2.7% AL: .6%

LA: .2% FL: 2.3% AK: .5%

HI: .3%

[APO AE: .1%] [PUERTO RICO: .1%] [AUSTRALIA: .4%] [BRAZIL: .1%] [CANADA: 2.6%] [COSTA RICA: .1%] [DENMARK: .1%] [FRANCE: .1%] [GERMANY: .1%] [ICELAND: .1%] [INDIA: .1%] [INDONESIA: .1%] [ISRAEL: .1%] [MEXICO: .1%] [NAMIBIA: .1%] [NORWAY: .1%] [POLAND: .1%] [SOUTH AFRICA: .1%] [SWITZERLAND: .1%] [UNITED KINGDOM: .3%]

top 3 most consumed beers at rainier basecamp 1: Expedition Amber 2: Point Defiance IPA 3: Mt. Takhoma Blonde


RMI kicked off the year with our inaugural Expedition Skills Seminar - Ecuador while teams in Argentina tackled Aconcagua, the highest peak outside of the Himalaya. Back in North America, a couple of RMI Guides explored Washington’s backcountry on skis and made a notable first descent on Mt. Angeles in the Olympic Mountains.


The first Expedition Skills Seminar-Ecuador arrived in Quito a day after New Years. The team had lofty ambitions to pack the two weeks with skills training, sight seeing, and summit attempts of Ecuador’s three highest mountains: Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, and Cayambe. The team battled high winds on Cayambe, eventually turning back short of the summit, but got redemption a few days later, with a beautiful summit day on Cotopaxi. The team arrived at the base of Chimborazo with mixed reports of climbing conditions, but quickly found that rockfall was prevalent. They made the decision to turn their sights to Illiniza Sur, a shorter, more technical climb that rewarded them with the second summit of the trip. Read the full report of the team’s trip on the RMI Blog... Adam Knoff

ACONCAGUA EXPEDITIONS: Teams led by RMI Guides Jake Beren, Pete Van Deventer, Billy Nugent, and JJ Justman all had good fortune climbing to the top of South America. Bouts and fits of snow and wind settled down in time for each trip to have a great summit bid. Climbers and guides alike also verified that Mendoza still reigns supreme when it comes to good beef and great wine.

kilimanjaro: January 26 - FEBRUARY 9

Casey Grom

RMI’s Kilimanjaro team encountered some chilly conditions on the roof of Africa. After the climb, a game viewing safari in several national parks wrapped up the incredible adventure. Check out the daily reports from their climb on the RMI Blog...

Guide News: tyler reid and solveig waterfall complete first descent of pipeline JANUARY 23

Tyler Reid

Great early season snow conditions in the Northwest setup RMI Guides Tyler Reid and Solveig Waterfall for the first descent of a ski line on Mt. Angeles in the Olympic Mountains that Tyler had been eyeing for years.


Mexico’s volcanoes FEBRUARY 9 - 17

The winter climbing and ski seasons were underway with Ski Mountaineering and Expedition Skills Seminars on Mt. Rainier. To the south climbers scaled Mexico’s and Ecuador’s Volcanoes, while RMI Guide Alex Van Steen returned to Papua to work with local communities.

Seth Waterfall

RMI Guides Seth and Solveig Waterfall led climbers to the summit of Ixta under perfect weather conditions. A roadside wildfire and impending snowstorm threatened to derail the team’s attempt on Orizaba but luck was on their side and they reached the summit under clear and calm conditions. Check out their dispatches on the RMI Blog...


JJ Justman

The February Winter Seminar dodged wintery and blustery conditions on the mountain while getting through a great week of mountaineering skills training. The week culminated with a summit attempt, but thigh deep snow and avalanche conditions warrented the safe decision to turn back at 11,500’.


RMI Guides Tyler Reid and Sean Collon and a team of backcountry skiers explored the lower flanks of Mt Rainier for 5 days. They learned and practiced a variety of ski mountaineering skills for technical terrain, while exploring the bountiful terrain that Mt. Rainier provides. The trip culminated in a 5000’ ski descent from Camp Muir! Sean Collon

responsbile climbing: ALEX VAN STEEN develops sugapa protocols for carstensz Pyramid Alex Van Steen

In February, RMI Guide Alex Van Steen spent several weeks in the jungles of Papua, traveling along the route RMI climbers follow to reach Carstensz Pyramid. He met with local communities, developing relationships and providing instructional training for porters. The time with local community leaders resulted in the creation of the Sugapa Route Visitor Protocols, a set of guidelines which outline respectful practices for trekkers visiting local communities. Read more about them...


everest base camp trek: march 21, 2013

March marked the start of our spring Himalayan season. Two groups of RMI Trekkers headed to Nepal’s Khumbu Valley, making the trek to Everest Base Camp. RMI’s Everest Expedition met in Kathmandu and followed our trekkers to Base Camp as they began their multi-month expedition. Back in the U.S., the Rainier Winter Seminar Team battled deep snows on the mountain.

Elias de Andres Martos

Weather forced RMI’s Everest Base Camp Trek to fly in a helicopter from Kathmandu to 2,000 feet below Lukla. Read about their adventurous start on the RMI Blog...

MT. RAINIER Winter Seminar: march 13

The RMI Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter caught a break in a week of squirrly weather and climbed through the new snow to Cathedral Gap on Mt. Rainier’s east side.

EVEREST Base Camp TREK: march 30, 2013

The RMI Everest Base Camp Trek reached the end of the trail and the summit of Kala Patar, the small peak overlooking Everest Base Camp. The team caught a beautiful sunset on Everest from the top of Kala Patar before descending to Gorak Shep and continuing on to Everest Base Camp the next morning. Mark Tucker

everest expedition: march 25, 2013

Dave Hahn

The 2013 RMI Expeditions Mt. Everest Team met in Kathmandu and began the 11-day approach through Nepal’s Khumbu Valley to Everest Base Camp. Read RMI Guide Dave Hahn’s daily reports...


April brought the final Rainier Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter for the year. Our Everest Expedition took part in local Himalayan climbing traditions and several RMI Guides made the most of the shoulder season with personal trips, continuing education, and training.

Solveig Waterfall

guide news: solveig waterfall completes amga ski exam april 15 - 22 With the help of the RMI/First Ascent Guide Grant, RMI Guide Solveig Waterfall took the AMGA Alpine Ski Exam in Valdez, Alaska, completing the course and becoming one of the few female AMGA Ski Mountaineering Certified guides in the United States. Check out her recap of the experience...

mt. rainier winter seminar: april 7 - 12

JJ Justman

The final Expedition Skills Seminar - Winter on Mt. Rainier began after a large storm system left a large accumulation of new snow on the mountain. The extra snow provided the perfect opportunity for the team to make camp enroute to Camp Muir ... Denali Style. While the new snow did not allow the team to summit Mt. Rainier at the end of their week of training, the team was able to climb Muir Peak with a rappel descent!

mt. everest: april 8

Dave Hahn

The Mt. Everest Expedition set up home away from home on the edges of the Khumbu Glacier. No Himalayan expedition begins without a Buddhist Puja Ceremony to provide blessing and safe passage for the journey ahead. RMI’s Puja Ceremony took place on April 8th, 2013. Read Dave Hahn’s description of the ceremony…

guide news: skiing & Sailing in norway april 20 - 28

Lindsay Mann

RMI Guides Pete Van Deventer and Lindsay Mann took to the seas during the month of April, sailing into Norway’s Lofoten Islands with a few friends and family members. Sailing through the remote Norwegian islands and using a sailboat as a Base Camp, they spent their days ski touring the arctic alpine mountains. Read more about the trip...


Our Alaska climbing season got underway with an RMI first: the Alaska Mountaineering Seminar - Alpine. Our first McKinley Expeditions reached the summit of Denali, setting the stage for an incredible climbing season. In the Himalaya, RMI Guides Dave Hahn and Seth Waterfall reached the summit of Mt. Everest. The Mt. Rainier season kicked off with teams persevering to reach the summit in less than ideal conditions.

alaska mountaineering seminar - alpine: april 30 - may 10

“I was on the Alaskan Alpine seminar last May. Andres, Levi, and Kel made the whole trip an amazing, unforgettable experience. But, I think my favorite part was the ice climbing we did in a giant crevasse not too far from camp.” - RMI Climber Troy M. See more of Troy’s Photos...

MT. RAINIER: Climber video

Courtesy Troy M.

Mt. Everest: Summit may 23

Seth Waterfall

RMI Guides Dave Hahn and Seth Waterfall and RMI Climbing Sherpas Chhering Dorje Sherpa and Kaji Sherpa reached the summit of Mt. Everest on a beautiful day marked only by a light, cold wind. This marks the 15th summit for Dave, the 3rd for Seth, the 7th for Chhering, and the 5th for Kaji. Read about Summit Day on the RMI Blog...

GUIDE NEWS: Andres Marin & Katie BONO climb west face of kahiltna queen

Katie Bono

After RMI’s Alaska Alpine Skills Seminar this spring, RMI Guides Andres Marin and Katie Bono returned to the Alaska Range for a personal climbing trip to climb an impressive line on the West Face of Kahiltna Queen. See more pictures and read Katie and Andres’ narrative of the climb...

In May, the summer climbing season got underway on Mt. Rainier. The climbing was marked by a lot of new snow on the mountain, making for some wild approaches to Camp Muir during the storms but great climbing and gorgeous views once the clouds lifted.

GUIDE NEWS: zeb blais & tyler jones ski on mt. rainier MAY 8 - 10

Zeb Blais

RMI Guides Zeb Blais and Tyler Jones took advantage of good weather in the Northwest to complete a three day ski mountaineering tour on Mt. Rainier, skiing an incredible total of 21,000 vertical feet! Read the full story…


The month of June on Mt. Rainier started off a bit on the blustery side but ended with clear skies and great climbing conditions. These prime route conditions were also found on Mt. Rainier’s Kautz and Emmons routes. To the north, our McKinley teams continued to make steady progress on North America’s highest peak. In South America, RMI’s Ecuador’s Volcanoes team discovered the vibrant Ecuadorian culture while climbing on Cayambe and Cotopaxi. Mt. mckinley: CLIMBER MEMORIES june 18 expedition

“Oddly enough, one of the most indelible moments from Denali (other than the obvious like the summit and the West Buttress) was at the air strip, 24 hours after we had arrived. All other parties had left. 4 members of our team had flown off on a Beaver [airplane]. The six of us left were coming to grips with spending another night on the glacier. It wasn’t going to be so bad. We had each other. We had plenty of food and warm stuff, unlike the plane of tourists that had gotten stuck for a night on the Ruth. Then, a sound. A plane, and not a TAT tourist plane this time, a K2 Otter coming for us. The mood very quickly changed from zen-like calm to sheer elation.” - Michael D. Read the June 18 McKinley Expedition dispatches...

mt. Rainier: Climber video The RMI Rainier season was well underway in June and RMI climber Geriet C. documented his ascent of the Kautz Glacier Route on his Expedition Skills Seminar Kautz, putting together this short video of the climb.

guide news: jj justman reaches 200 summits of mt. Rainier june 4 Courtesy Michael D.

JJ Justman

RMI Guide JJ Justman made his 200th summit of Mt. Rainier. Congrats JJ! See a compilation of photos of JJ’s climbs over the years on the RMI Blog...


Beautiful sunrise views from the glaciers and warm afternoons back at Rainier BaseCamp in Ashford were the norm for Mt. Rainier climbers in July. Thirty-nine of our Rainier climbs were successful in July. Down in Ecuador, RMI Teams made successful ascents of Cotopaxi, Antisana, and Chimborazo. Meanwhile in Russia, 100% of RMI Climbers reached the summit on Mt. Elbrus’ Southside.


RMI Teams were making ascents all over Ecuador’s Volcanoes in June and July. RMI Guide Mike Walter captured this photo of an RMI Team climbing Cotopaxi (19,348’).

Mike Walter



JUly 14 - 19

RMI Teams saw 100% success on Mt. Elbrus’ Southside in 2013. RMI Climber Robert W. captured the experience of climbing Elbrus, from exploring the streets of Moscow and the canals of St. Petersburg to scaling the snowy heights of Elbrus’ summit in this video from his climb.

RMI Climber Dave F. recounted his attempt on Mt. Rainier. Despite the great weather and good climbing conditions, the mountain threw some obstacles in their way and the team handled the challenges with grace.

guide news: MELISSA ARNOT reaches 100 summits of mt. Rainier JULY 24

Katrina Bloemsma

RMI Guide Melissa Arnot marks her 100th summit of Mt. Rainier with some gummy worm art!


Our summer Kilimanjaro season was in full swing with teams continuing to reach Uhuru Peak and the Roof of Africa. RMI Climbers made the most of the immense alpine climbing opportunities in the picturesque North Cascades, and longtime RMI Guide, Joe Horiskey, reflected on his first summit of Mt. Rainier at age 16. North cascades: fisher chimneys August 30 - September 2

August is prime climbing season in Washington’s North Cascades, a stunning range in the north of the State, home to some of the best alpine climbing anywhere in the country. RMI Climber Jeff R. captured some great photos from his climb of Mt. Shuksan’s Fisher Chimneys.

Mt. rainier: climber video August 6 - 9

RMI Climbers from the Four Day Summit Climb put together this video from their ascent of Mt. Rainier.

guide News: joe horiskey recounts his first climb of mt. Joe Horiskey rainier 46 years ago August 25 Courtesy Jeff R.

August 25, 2013 marked the 46th anniversary of RMI legend and Alaska Operations Supervisor Joe Horiskey’s first summit of Mt. Rainier. Check out Joe’s memories of the climb...


Mt. rainier

The summer climbing season on Mt. Rainier wrapped up with a wild route of broken up glacier via the Disappointment Cleaver. RMI Guide Alex Barber set off for the Himalaya for a solo expedition on Cho Oyu and RMI Guide Bryan Hendrick wrapped up his summer project of house building.

Katrina Bloemsma

As snow melts and glaciers move, route conditions on Mt. Rainier change constantly. The upper slopes of the Disappointment Cleaver route faced large swaths of choppy, broken up glacier that challenged teams as they climbed towards the summit.

Guide News: Bryan Hendrick BUILDS a house

Linden Mallory

Between climbs this summer, RMI Guide Bryan Hendrick took on a little side project: building a house! Bryan built a “tiny house,” a small 192 square foot house on a trailer that he can tow. See photos of Bryan’s house...

Guide News: ALEX Barber climbs cho oyu solo and without oxygen

Alex Barber

RMI Guide Alex Barber set off on a solo expedition to climb Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth highest mountain, without oxygen. Check out Alex’s intimate account of the climb…

OCTOBER Kilimanjaro: Family dispatches OCTOBER 5 - 19


As leaves began changing in Ashford, RMI Guides took advantage of excellent hiking conditions on Mt. Rainier and rock climbing conditions in Utah. RMI Guides Peter Whittaker and Seth Waterfall headed to Tanzania to lead the Kilimanjaro Family Climb, sending home video dispatches from each day of the climb.


In collaboration with RMI, First Ascent, Whittaker Mountaineering, and Backpacker Magazine, Peter Whittaker and his daughter Gabriella headed to Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro in October along with several other family duos on the Kilimanjaro Family Climb. Kilimanjaro’s Machame Route provided all the anticipated adventures, from jungle trekking to gorgeous sunsets, and the team had a great time during their seven day climb. Watch the daily video dispatches the team sent out along the way:


dISPATCH 2 Guide News: life at the creek Around Ashford, October is commonly referred to as “Rocktober” - the month where guides trade out their crampons and ice axes for rock shoes and cams, heading to the desert climates to rock climb before the onset of winter. RMI Guides Robby Young, Sean Collon, and Steve Gately spent several weeks in Indian Creek, Utah and put together the video “Life At The Creek” from their time there.







Guides news: Mt. rainier evening hike

Brent Okita

RMI Guide Brent Okita captured this photo of the evening light on Rainier while out for a hike before winter set in on the mountain.


“Rocktober” continued into November for several RMI Guides as they pursued continuing education to become AMGA certified Rock Instructors. In the Himalaya, our small Everest Base Camp Trek team ventured up Nepal’s Khumbu Valley, focusing on photographing the unique culture and surroundings of the region. Way down south, RMI’s Vinson Massif Expedition set off to climb Antarctica’s highest peak.


RMI Trekker Chris P. captured this amazing night time shot of Mt. Everest from Kala Patar during the Fall Everest Base Camp Trek. Sale of Chris’ photos support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, contact RMI for more information.


Dave Hahn

Stormy weather near the blue ice runway of Union Glacier, Antarctica prevented flights from coming and going. RMI Guide Dave Hahn and the first 2013 Vinson Massif team made the most of the weather day by hiking and exploring the Patagonia region of Chile.

Ben Liken


Several RMI guides took part in a continuing education course in Red Rocks, NV, funded in part by the Eddie Bauer/First Ascent grant. Read Ben’s recap of the course...


The beginning of the austral summer climbing season saw unsettled conditions in Antarctica and Argentina. The weather patterns soon stabilized and RMI Guide Dave Hahn led two teams to the summit of the Vinson Massif and RMI Guide JJ Justman’s team reached the top of Aconcagua. Our Ecuador’s Volcanoes team also took advantage of the good conditions to climb several summits.


Linden Mallory

Linden Mallory

The 2013-2014 Aconcagua season kicked off in December with RMI teams heading up both the Vacas Valley and the Horocones Valley. The Andes saw some cold temperatures but remarkably good weather during December, with little wind on a mountain renowned for the “viento blanco” (“white wind”). On December 30th, JJ Justman’s team reached the summit of South America’s highest peak. Listen to his satellite phone call from the summit of south America’s highest peak.


Courtesy Juan Glenn

100% of RMI’s Vinson Climbers reached the highest point in Antarctica this season despite challenging weather. RMI’s Dec. 7th Vinson summit carried special meaning for RMI Climber Juan Glenn as this marked his final peak of the world’s Seven Summits. Congratulations Juan! Read the teams’ reports on the RMI Blog…

ECUADOR December 10 - 20

Casey Grom

Casey Grom

RMI’s Ecuador’s Volcanoes Team led by RMI Guides Casey Grom and Solveig Waterfall enjoyed a phenomenal eleven days of climbing in Ecuador’s Andes Mountains. Despite some challenging Ecuadorian roads, the team reached the summit of both Cayambe and Cotopaxi. Read their daily dispatches from the adventures on the RMI Blog...

Thanks to all of the climbers and our partners for making these memories possible. We’re looking forward to many more adventures in 2014! Join RMI on...

Cover Photos: Jon Mancuso Jon Mancuso Courtesy Jeff R. Dave Hahn Courtesy Chris V.

RMI Expeditions 888.892.5462 Š 2014 RMI Expeditions

Jon Mancuso Kel Rossiter Jon Mancuso Brent Okita Linden Mallory

RMI's 2013 Year In Review  

A collection of RMI's highlights and memories from our mountaineering climbs, expeditions, and treks from around the world in 2013.

RMI's 2013 Year In Review  

A collection of RMI's highlights and memories from our mountaineering climbs, expeditions, and treks from around the world in 2013.