Thursday, July 1, 2010

Until Next Time

So that's it! Another summit for the books. Writing this from the
comfort of an Anchorage hotel room, I am reveling in the amenities I
almost always take for granted, i.e. a big bed, shower, pillow, etc.
Thinking back on the expedition, I realize that the physical aspect of
mountaineering is one thing, but the true challenge, at least for me,
was the mental stamina needed to succeed. One of our guides put it
best at the end of the trip: "I like mountaineering because it's
uncomfortable." I couldn't agree more. The rewards of enduring such
hardships are what makes it all worthwhile. Pulling together as a
team, looking out for each other, and standing on top of some of the
world's highest peaks is simply an unbeatable combination. I am
extremely lucky to have had these opportunities. I hope you all will
stay tuned for the next adventure! Thanks for following. Mike Fanning

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

And Back to Base Camp

At 11:43 AM Alaskan time, Mike and team appear to have made their way back to base camp on the Southeast Fork of the Kahiltna Glacier and are likely awaiting their turn to fly off back to Talkeetna.  It's a amazing how fast you come down off that mountain that took weeks to climb!

Official Alpine Ascents Dispatches

For your reading pleasure, I've gathered all the dispatches from Mike's team here from the Alpine Ascents cybercast page:

June 13, 2010 - Team 9
This is Alpine Ascents Team 9. We are at the airport and we are looking forward to flying in. There’s no telling what the weather is going to do. It’s been raining, it’s been storming, then we had some sunshine coming through and now it’s cloudy again. The pilot’s looking up right now looking for a place to fly through so we can actually go in and start at basecamp. So if that comes to pass we’ll be right on schedule. We’ve got team members Jim, Bill, Brent, Brent’s brother Sawyer, Suzanne, and myself, Vern, and then Ben Jones is co-guiding with me and it looks like it’s going to be an all star cast so please stay tuned and see what happens and see how everything transpires and find out whether we make it in tonight. Shout out from team 9, we’re looking for a new name but you’ll be able to find us here on your favorite cybercast channel,!

June 17, 2010 - Team 9
Hey there friends, family, and loved ones. This is Alpine Ascents team 9, also know as Sawyer and the Monoslavics. We are now at 9,853ft about sea level and we’re digging a cache. Everybody is in good health and good spirits. It’s snowing and blowing to beat the band and we can’t see where we’re going so we’re making home right here. We’ll come up from Camp 1 tomorrow and then Camp 2 here. So please join us and stay tuned for the further adventures of Sawyer and the Monoslavics. That’s all for now.

June 18, 2010 - Team 9
Hey there friends, family, and loved ones, This is team Bret and the Boys high on the flanks of Mt. Denali. We’re thinking we’re around 9,600ft. We can’t really tell because there are still too many clouds but we’re starting to get a little bit of a view and everybody is really excited [transmission garbled]. Ben has made us a great dinner and everyone is now celebrating with fig newtons and camera shots. Big smiles all the way around. Okay ladies and gentlemen, join us tomorrow for the further adventures of Bret and the boys.

June 20, 2010 - Team 9
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is Suzanna and the White Mountain Boys calling in from 10,000ft high on the flanks of Mt. McKinley, also known as Denali, the Great One. We had a wonderful evening last night, had pizza, and everyone slept quite well. Woke up this morning and it was clear enough where we could see some of the mountains around us; it’s beautiful up here. We are just getting ready to move up around the corner out of Kahiltna pass. Wanted to make sure we got our last call in for a few days. (...Transmission garbled...) everyone else here is doing well. Stay tuned for the further adventures of Suzanna and the White Mountain Boys.

June 21, 2010 - Team 9
Hey there friends, family, and loved ones, This is Big Jim & the Prospectors, Team 9, and we are now at windy corner. It is a beautiful day, we can see all 13 peaks of Hunter sticking out. We can see all the way down the Kahiltna Glacier, Peter’s Dome, and Mt. Foraker sticking out. Beautiful day, wish you could be here, we’re working hard. We’ve got sleds full of food and fuel, we’ve got backpacks that are loaded down to the gills, and we’re just moving our cache up around the corner. The weather has been very cooperative the last day or two. Before that we had some nasty, snowy, windy weather but all that seems to have vaporized and everybody is enjoying the view and taking lots of photographs. We are planning on coming up from 11,000 to 14,000 tomorrow depending on how people feel, if they are acclimatizing well, and on what the weather is doing. The weather currently looks good and we can see the top of McKinley from the corner here, it’s beautiful and bold today. So, like we said we wish you could be here and know that we are thinking of you. Have a Happy Solstice. Ciao for now from Big Jim & the Prospectors.

June 23, 2010 - Team 9
Hey there friends, family, and loved ones, This is team Buffalo Bill and the Cowtown Kickers. We’ve moved our cache up to 14,200ft. We’re sitting in a beautiful [transmission garbled]. It’s beautiful up here and we can see the clouds below. We’re feeling good and everybody has been enjoying life. We’ve got some sunbathers here. We’re all acclimatizing, that’s what we’re doing today. We also want to send out our sincere good wishes (...transmission garbled...). Our thoughts are with you. Ciao for now, talk to you tomorrow.

June 24, 2010 - Team 9
Good evening friends, family and loved ones this is the Dementos checking in from 14,200 high on the flanks of Mt. McKinley. The sun is going down and so are we but we just wanted to tell you what we are up to. Today we were up to 16,200, do you know why we say 2 because it is a 100 feet higher than 16,100. We buried our cache up there of food and fuel and we are hoping to take a rest day tomorrow and then be reunited with our food and fuel as we go to camp 17,200. Anyway we are going to bed and so should you ciao for now brown cow.

June 25, 2010 - Team 9
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones, This is team Transmission Garbled calling in from 14,200ft. The gang is doing well; we had a big day of rest, relaxation and acclimatization. First things first, we got up early this morning to look at the edge of the world. But there were clouds there so we all lay in for another hour. We had a huge breakfast of French toast, excuse me, Freedom toast, and then we had a great sled down death hill. After that, it was lawn darts and bow and arrows. Fortunately, the saner people took a nap and the young ones, myself included, went around throwing things at each other for hours on end. A great way to acclimatize, I highly recommend it. There’s nothing like catching an arrow in the back when you are trying to gasp for your breath. We are currently enjoying Ben’s fabulous pizza, sitting in the hole in the snow, and giggling a lot. Ciao for now.

June 27, 2010 - Team 9
Hey there this is Paul Koubek from Alp 10. I’m calling in the cybercast for Vern Tejas from Alp 9. Vern’s group is currently up at high camp, 17,200ft, and they are finding that they don’t have cell communication from there. So he asked me to relay by radio the message that his group is doing great there. Today is Sunday and they are planning to go for the summit Monday, weather permitting, and the forecast is good. They made the move on Saturday and spent Sunday resting. Thanks for following the cybercast, Paul Koubek signing off on behalf of Vern Tejas.

June 28, 2010 - Team 9
Hey there friends, family, and loved ones, Standing on top of North America, it’s a spectacular day up here and [transmission garbled]. Thank you so much for following along with us. We’ve been having a very fun adventure. We got stormed in the other day and we missed a birthday for Audrey because we didn’t have contact. We were in a big storm hunkered down and we couldn’t get out that day but Happy Birthday Audrey and congratulations to the whole team. Well done guys. So we should be down to the airstrip in a couple of days. We won’t be in telephone communication for a while but we’ll try to fly out as soon as possible. We’re looking forward to seeing all of you guys. Love ya, ciao ciao for now from the top of North America.

June 29, 2010 - Team 9
Hello there friends, family, and loved ones. This is team Happy Campers coming down from the summit. We were successful yesterday on the top of North America, everybody is still intact and happy. We descended down to 14,000ft, lost our ski poles in the snow that had accumulated while we were up high. A little bit of slough avalanche covered them up. However, [transmission garbled] they were able to uncover all of our ski poles. So were down at 14 and headed to 11.2. That means if we get to 11.2 early enough tonight we’ll be pushing on early in the morning to basecamp and the airstrip. So hopefully we could be getting out of here in the next 24 to 48 hours if the weather permits. Otherwise, we’ll be out of communication until we actually fly out. Stay tuned to the further adventures. Ciao ciao for now, bye bye.

June 30, 2010 - Team 9
Hey there friends, family, and loved ones. This is Ben Jones, Vern Tejas, and the greatest team ever calling from Talkeetna, Alaska. We’re off the mountain! It worked out quite easily. We got up this morning about 2 o’clock, ate a quick meal, packed up and headed down the glaciers. It got pretty interesting there towards the end, lots of crevasses inviting us in. However, persistence persisted and we got up to the airstrip. Fortunately we got to use the low one and we spent two hours organizing and snoring and then Paul from TAT came and picked us up and we’re now heading to whatever restaurant serves breakfast. So stay tuned to the further adventures of the greatest team ever!

Monday, June 28, 2010


Wow.  According to the latest SPOT update - Mike and team reached the summit about 5:54 PM Alaska time.  Nice work!!

On their way to the Summit!

I corrected the previous data error and Mike and team are moving their way up to the summit.  Looks like they cleared Denali Pass (18,200 ft.) just about 40 minutes ago.

Bad Data

Looks like the SPOT personal locator tracking device that Mike is carrying reported some bad data on the slope up to Denali Pass this morning.  I will correct that later.

In the meantime --  Mike is making his SUMMIT PUSH right now.  Go Mike Go!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Cache is In!

Today Mike's team climbed the headwall above 14k Camp to put in their cache at 16,135 ft. up on top of the West Buttress proper.  This puts them in great position to make the move to high camp at 17,200 ft. as early as tomorrow.  Looks they are were back at 14k Camp this afternoon about 4:16 PM local Alaskan time.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Strong Team!

What a strong team. They made it to 14,200 ft. Camp V yesterday after working hard for seven straight days. I'm certain that today will be a rest day for them - they've certainly earned it. From what I could gather from the Alpine Ascent's cybercasts, they had a bit of snowing and blowing down on the Kahiltna glacier, some clearing as they climbed up and around Windy Corner (13,000 ft.).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Up and around Windy Corner

Today it looks like the team climbed up from 11k Camp and placed a cache above Windy Corner at 13,500 ft. and are currently on their way back down the camp.  Wow!  That's a lot of work days in a row.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

On the move up

Looks like I guessed wrong yesterday. That strong team that Mike is part of is on the move again today, certainly to take their position at 11k Camp. Go Mike, go!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

11k Cache

Kurt, here again.  I thought Mike and team might be moving up to 11,000 ft. today, but clearly they placed a cache up here and returned back to Camp 3 at 9,200 ft. for the evening.  I'm guessing tomorrow they might take a rest day.  All in all that looked like a strong day!

Progress to date

Hey folks.  Kurt here, Mike's climbing buddy from Aconcagua 110.  Judging by the SPOT location data, here's how the climb is going to far:
  • Flew onto the mountain on Sunday, June 13 and established Base Camp at 7,136 ft. on the southest fork of the Kahiltna Glacier.
  • Training at BC on Monday, June 14.
  • Headed down to and up the Kahiltna Glacier on Tuesday, June 15 and made Camp 1 at 7,220 ft. about 11:49 AM (if I got the timezones correct)
  • Moved from Camp 1 to Camp 2 at 7,728 ft. on Wednesday, June 16 and made camp at about 9:42 AM
  • Climbed up to place a cache at 7,735 ft. on Thursday, June 17 and were back down at Camp 2 at 12:25 PM
  • Yesterday, Friday, June 18, moved from Camp 2 to Camp 3 (9,222 ft.) arriving about 10:14 AM.
  • Today, it looks like they are on the move up to either 10,000 ft. or prehaps pressing on to 11,500 ft.
Keep in mind these are just my guesses based on the data.  I would venture that they are getting some weather down there on the Kahiltna, which sounds consistant with the Alpine Ascents cybercasts.  Mike is on Team 9.

Kurt out

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weather is a go. See you on the mountain!

Stand down

Bad weather is prohibiting us from landing on the glacier at the
moment so we are standing by. We may have to pitch our tents and call
it a night here at the Talkeetna airstrip. No worries on this end. We
will get there. Mike
Off to the prop plane,heading for the kahiltna glacier. No more writing. Follow the dot! Love, mike

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Deep in the woods

Just arrived in Talkeetna, AK, where the crew is spending the night.
We are staying at this awesome little bed and breakfast in the middle
of nowhere, run by some of the nicest people I've ever met. Totally
amazing. I spent some time with a climber from the UK last night in
Anchorage and we tore the city up. Now I gotta kick back and rest up
for the beast. A little Frost should put me down nice and easy.
Hopefully I'll be able to shoot off a few more messages before we go
incommunicado, though You'll be able to see our progress via the SPOT
tracker, assuming I don't lose it or leave it in the van like I just
did 20 minutes ago. Bill the driver was kind enough to turn around and
give it back. Hope all is well! Mike

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I am outta here. To the top...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gearing up

Just about ready to roll on this end. A few last minute things and we are off and running. I take off this Thursday, head to Phoenix first, then Anchorage. I am in Anchorage for two nights, then take a three-hour drive north to Talkeetna, meet the crew, and head out the next day for a flight to the base of the glacier. It's all happening, and it's hard to believe. I got in the fastest 2.5 miles I've ever run yesterday, now I am taking it easy and resting up for this beast. I'm going to need all of my reserves for this one! I will try to post when I can, but from what I understand I will most likely not get an opportunity from the mountain. That's okay, though, because the SPOT will be on and you can track our progress. Hopefully the weather will hold and we will bag a summit. Stay tuned...Mike

Monday, May 24, 2010

Switching Gears


I just shot off my last paper a few hours ago to complete my graduate studies in education. It feels pretty good to finally be done after three years! I've got lots to look forward to now, including a best friend's wedding in Washington DC, an expedition up Denali, a trip to Western Canada to see my best amigos from the Aconcagua110 expedition, a week in Nantucket to decompress, and then a journey across the country with my brother, Tom, to start a new chapter out in Southern California. If this isn't living I don't know what is!
I also just got word that my guide and friend from Mt. Elbrus, Vern Tejas, just reached the summit of Mt. Everest for the tenth time! I will see him in a few weeks when he guides the Denali expedition. Man, talk about stamina...
I will be spending these final weeks ramping up my training in order to get my legs strong for the expedition. I hope everyone is well! 'Till next time, Mike out.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Some details

The Denali expedition starts June 13 and I'll be climbing with Alpine Ascents International for the third time. I can't say enough about this company! They are truly the best and I understand why they have been named the "Best Adventure Company on Earth." I am extremely lucky that I will be climbing Denali with Vernon Tejas, one of the world's best mountaineers. I climbed Mt. Elbrus with him last summer, and as soon as I heard he was guiding the June 13 AAI trip to Denali I sent out an email within minutes securing a spot on the team. It doesn't get much better than this, my friends!
I want to thank Jim Bennett and Jon Sonneborn of Reallygoodstuff ( for believing in this project and helping me get from place to place. It wouldn't be possible without them.
My plan is to climb the Seven Summits, raise money for Save the Children's CHANGE Initiative which combats childhood obesity in this country, then give presentations to kids about eating right, exercising, staying healthy, and going after dreams. I hope you all will come along for the ride. It's gonna be a good one!
'Til next time. Mike out.

My sites:
facebook page: Seven Summits for Save the Children
donation page:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Procrastination Nation


I should be finishing a ten page paper on critical thinking buuuuuuut am instead playing with my new toy (Mike on Denali). It's nigh impossible to concentrate on finishing grad school when all I can think about is scaling the highest peak in America. Soon enough.
This wouldn't be possible without my dear friend, Kurt Hunter, who has set this whole thing up for me. (Kurt and I climbed Aconcagua together this past winter.) Kurt Hunters are few and far between and you'd be damn lucky to meet one in your life. So here's to you, amigo.
I hope ya'll will come on a journey with me to the top of the "High One." It's sure to be a thrill.
'Til next time. Mike out.

How to Use the Map

Once you install the plug-in, the Google Earth map at the top of this blog will keep the currently reported position in view by automatically updating the camera angle. You can just leave the page open and let it do its thing if you like. The current position will be updated about every 15 minutes.

However, this 3D map is also fully interactive and tons of fun to play with!! Explore! Click on the track marks! They will show you interesting travel stats.  Click and drag the map left and right or in and out with your mouse or use the navigation controls that appear on the upper right side of the map:

From top to bottom, these controls allow you to:

(circle with the 'eye' icon) change the view from the 'camera' including spinning about the compass. My favorite is to click on the 'N' which will cause the map to orient North up.

(circle with the 'hand' icon) move the camera around - left, right, in, out (same is click and dragging on the map).

(+ - slider) zoom in and zoom out of the map

Become a navigation expert (and impress your friends) by checking out the full user documentation on Navigating in Google Earth. It's worth a look!!

Have fun!  If you have any questions or are interested in having a 3DGeoTrail for your own adventures, contact us at RainOn.