With a few days of unforgiving weather and an untimely injury, the duo of Mills “The Kid” and Scott Weinstein, the son/father mountain climbing adventurers; plus Jacksonville climber Andrew Bunn, have come down off Mt. McKinley (Denali) with a bit of success and a bit of despair. Bunn, with another climbing group, was able continue and reach the summit.
According to updates from Megan Weinstein, wife and mom of Scott and Mills, who is 12, the group’s attempt to scale the 20,320 foot Mt. McKinley summit as a part of Mills Weinstein attempt to continue his ascent of the 50 U.S.A. states highest peaks was curtailed due to weather and an injury to Scott Mills. To date, Mills has 46 of the 50 states highest peaks climbed with Montana, Idaho, and West Virginia; all much scaled back ascents, still to be attempted.
“There are so many things to celebrate from this adventure,” wrote Megan Weinstein on July 3 on her blog “Klimbing with the Kid” on Facebook. “Scott, Mills and Andrew spent 27 days on one of God’s most beautiful creations. Mills broke personal records by climbing to 17,200 feet. Andrew shattered his previous records by summiting the mountain.”
Megan Weinstein was receiving constant communications as the trio trekked up McKinley.
In the final days, Bunn continued and made the summit of McKinley while Scott and Mills were taken off the mountain by helicopter due to Scott’s injury. Bunn eventually descended with another climbing group.
Note: A final update and conversation with the Weinstein’s is scheduled to appear in next week’s Clay Today sports pages.
Today we will start flooding Andrew Bunn & Mills’ pages with lots of pictures from their adventure on Mount Denali. These are a few of my favorites.
There are so many things to celebrate from this adventure. Scott, Mills and Andrew spent 27 days on one of God’s most beautiful creations. Mills broke personal records by climbing to 17,200 feet. Andrew shattered his previous records by summiting the mountain. Mills got a chance to meet, and inspire, climbers from across the world, many who were eager to stop and take pictures with “The Kid”. Mills and Scott got to celebrate Father’s Day on the “edge of the world” – a 4,200 ledge at the edge of the mountain.
The team learned to trust and rely on each other. They learned to stay strong when a team member was weak. Each of them took the lead at some point in the journey, encouraging the others until they regained their strength.
They helped other climbers in life-saving ways. They consoled climbers who didn’t summit and celebrated with those who did. In the end, they have a great story to tell and memories that will last a lifetime.
Mills and Scott are off the mountain safely!!! ??
Andrew Bunn is on his way down and should make it back to 11,200 today and hopefully to Base Camp tomorrow.
More on all of this later, along with pictures and highlights of this incredible journey.
For now, this momma is tired, emotional, thankful to God for protecting our guys and so grateful to each of you for your prayers and support of Mills and our family.
We know these climbs will always be adventurous but this one brought a little more excitement than we all would have liked.
Denali - Day 26 July 1
Yesterday was an interesting day and our Denali trip has taken a bit of an unexpected turn.
Scott hurt his back and is unable to climb down the mountain. They thought he was feeling better but they started the descent yesterday and he hurt it again. He’s determined to walk off the mountain and says he could probably make it if he crawled with no gear and no heavy clothes.
While Scott crawling down an ice glacier is an entertaining thought, that clearly doesn’t make sense so it sounds like they may fly Scott and Mills off today, and will send Andrew down with another descending group. Mills is in great spirits and is very excited about the possibility of riding in a helicopter. There’s a lot happening and I’m trying to piece together the details.
Something also happened yesterday where Scott got involved saving someone’s life at 17,000. I don’t have those details, and will share when I do, but it confirms that things happen for a reason and Scott was exactly where he was supposed to be in that moment.
At this point, you all know as much as I know. I will give more details when I have them. Let’s get these guys home.
#KlimbingWithTheKid #TeamMills #Leavethenormal #Explorethepossible #Seeyouonthesummit #Denali #HighPoints #climbing #mountaineering
Denali - Day 25 June 30
After 15 hours of climbing, Andrew just returned to Camp 4.
Andrew Bunn SUMMITED MOUNT DENALI!!!
He’s safe. He’s overwhelmed with emotion and he says it was the hardest day of his life. I’ve let his family know and they are beyond emotional. It has been a long night awaiting his return to Camp.
Right now, our focus is celebrating Andrew but I know you are wondering what this means for Mills. I will send a longer note later when we know the final plan but here’s what I will share now.
I’m sure this is emotional for Mills and Scott, in good and bad ways. They probably won’t get to attempt the summit for a few different reasons and that’s crummy no matter how you look at it.
For Mills’ record, it means he will still attempt to break the record for the contiguous 48. He’s summited Hawaii but the 50 will be out because of Denali. And again, that’s ok. On God’s time, not ours.
It’s not about the record, it’s about the experiences along the way. More on that later.
Today is about Andrew and the fact that he just scaled and summited the highest mountain in North America (20,320 ft), blowing away his previous personal records. Scott, Mills and Andrew are a team. Each of them has carried the weight of this adventure at some point along the way. Andrew’s win is a win for the team and I know Scott and Mills share my sentiments on that. We are so proud of Andrew right now. This is a life defining moment for him. It’s a huge deal. Huge.
More on “my” guys later. Today is Andrew’s day. Did I mention he just summited Mt. Denali?! Hell yeah, Andrew, you got that summit!
Denali - Day 24 June 29
Right now, Andrew Bunn is about 7 hours into his summit push. We are so excited for him and are waiting on pins and needles to hear his update. Mills and Scott are still at 17,200. Mills feels strong. Scott feels better than yesterday and is hopeful he’ll feel even stronger tomorrow.
The plan was that Andrew would attempt the summit today and rest at 17,200 tomorrow. If everyone felt good, they would all attempt the summit together on Thursday or Friday. As of right now, it doesn’t look like the weather is going to cooperate for the second summit push which means they would all head back down the mountain as soon as the weather allows.
We haven’t written it off completely, but it’s not looking like the summit attempt is in the plan for Mills and Scott. The guys have trained diligently for this climb and Scott has worked very hard on this trip. There’s a lot of weight on his shoulders, literally and figuratively, and I’m proud of his determination to get Mills this far. I’m also proud of his discernment on when to stop and recover. It’s not an easy decision and it’s one of the most important in climbing. The weather has been frustrating. There are so many things we can control for an adventure like this - unfortunately the weather’s not one of them.
I will keep you posted as they navigate their last few days on the mountain. It’s been quite the adventure to celebrate!
The windchill is -22 there. Wonder what their reaction will be walking out of the airport into 85 degrees?