Lucania: Hard Lessons Learned, Home Bound in the St. Elias Range

Despite being well-positioned within 4000 ft of the summit stocked with 14 days of food and fuel, having double and triple carried 9 km up and down on a ridge with a total of 8000 ft gain and loss, the team had to call it quits. It became impossible to stay warm at night after their sleeping system progressively iced up, leaving the team dangerously vulnerable to freezing. After a big meal, snow fort creation, clear skies and settled down winds, the biting cold still lingered in their tent. They made it all the way back to base camp early yesterday. Having to land far from their preferred drop-off locale threw a wrench into the plan at the get-go, leaving their intended routes no-go’s, and o

Lucania: The Wind Funnel

With a wind storm rendering the duo immobile for the last 30 hours, Pascale and Lonnie are feeling frazzled and a bit weary. At their current camp, they are pummeled with winds shifting and funneling from the NE up to 40 mph/64 kph. Last night, they called in to report possible plans to dig a snow cave, due to their vulnerable situation on the ridge. Luckily, the tried & true Hilleberg the Tentmaker hotel has been holding up well as their steadfast shelter at 12000ft/3657m. With temps that feel like -42C/-43F, it’s a no-go for movement. Stocked with plenty of food and fuel, they are waiting for a break in the storm to shift camp down to a safer locale. The plan is to move up the ridge once t

Lucania: New Routes, Deep Snow

Through deep snow, the two spent the weekend moving all supplies & camp up to the top of the ridge at the base of the mountain. The super high winds from the days prior had made the cache of food and supplies that they had buried the previous day hardly visible. They passed their cache, having to return to retrieve it the next day. Because of the initial plan to climb Mt. Lucania, the duo was largely unfamiliar with the route up Steele. They unknowingly took the long way around, bummed as they reached a beautiful glacier that they could have cruised down on skis. Despite the heavy loads, calf cramps and difficult route, the team is in great spirits, nestled in the most idyllic campsite flank

Lucania: Rest + Recharge

Last night, the two called in to report high spirits and sunny skies, with a touch of gusting winds up to 20mph/32kph. A recipe for a rest day. Beginning week two of the journey, Lonnie and Pascale enjoyed a day to recuperate in their Hilleberg the Tentmaker 'home on the ridge'. Although settled at 12,200ft/3719 m, they carried all of their supplies ahead and are gearing up for a big weekend of climbing. Stay tuned for updates. Listen in to the latest audio message sent from the mountain via Globalstar: Photo in video from fly-in by Lonnie & Pascale, Kluane National Park & Reserve, YT. Special thank you to support sponsor, Exped USA for providing the waterproof vapor-barrier for their footge

Lucania: Sights on Steele

The team took to the ice-sculpted ridge yesterday morning, managing to ferry a cache up before the wind materialized. The southeast mass of overlapping ridges sprawling out of Mt. Steele is a constant up and down flow between elevation, making for a tough journey with unpredictable winds and heavy loads. Expecting lighter winds and clear weather into the weekend, Pascale and Lonnie will set sights for the summit of Steele, which rises meter by meter to an apex of 5073m/16644ft. They have plans, if provisions are available, to venture over to Lucania via a long ridge that connects the two. Stay tuned as we hear more from the mountain. See their SPOT location from last night's camp: Lucania -

Lucania: Over The Ridge

Acclimatized and ready to journey forth, the team reported two fantastic days in the ice fields of the Yukon. Sunday, they managed to bring up the cache to the top of the Southeast ridge of Mt. Steele at 12200ft (3719 m), about 1800 to 2000ft from advance basecamp. A stellar climb with crampons was in the books, despite one crevasse fall for Pascale near the top, to just the tip of her thigh. She managed to head back downslope, before Lonnie discovered a huge crevasse which the two belayed across successfully. Cold but clear, yesterday was the biggest day yet. Dupre and Marceau took advantage of the prime climbing conditions to carry up three loads of food, and two thirds of the gear. They f

Lucania: Moving Away from Base Camp

The team sent word via Globalstar SatFi last night that they left base camp Saturday. Despite the high winds and light snow leading to poor visibility, they managed to move all gear to advance base camp, a distance of 1463m/4800ft, almost 500ft short of a mile. In addition to this haul, they completed one shuttle up towards the ridge, maneuvering crevasses along the way and spotting new ones up top. The two are happy with what they accomplished so far. They're still fighting pesky altitude headaches as they acclimate to the ascent, now nestled at 3069m/10067ft. Today, they plan to ferry loads to the top of the ridge in snow showers, still over nine miles from Steele’s 5073m/16664ft summit. K

Lucania: 9,700 Ft

Lonnie and Pascale checked in last night with a call and Spot location from camp. The pilot was unable to land at any of their preferred locations, as the area had too many crevasses with hardly any snow. They were dropped off at the only landing spot in sight on Thursday, east and at a higher altitude than originally anticipated (roughly 9704ft /2958m). Photo: Pascale with big smiles on the fly-in via pilot John Ostashek, Rocking Star Adventures. During the call, they reported their change of plans, now attempting a climb of Mt. Steele via the Southeast Ridge. Despite pounding headaches and altitude challenges which lead them to stay put yesterday, the duo is in high spirits. Their plan tod

Lucania: Duo Sets Off on Winter Climb

Dupre left Burwash Landing today at 11 am, flying into the St-Elias Mountains to the base, south of Mount Lucania (5226m / 17,146ft). After waiting out a 5-day storm in town that dumped over 1.5m of snow, today, with partly sunny skies and mild winds, the team will start their trek. Kluane’s National Park and Reserve mountain forecasts are showing a decent weather window on the horizon - it was worth the wait. Photo: Dupre enjoying clear weather, calm winds and -15C before take-off. Shot by teammate Marceau. Landing on the Dennis glacier in winter’s low light and unstable weather is no easy task. In order to land, it has to be calm and clear to take advantage of the small window of sun neede

Lucania: Facts and Metrics

Here we go... for the nerdy or weight weenies in you. We've had time to dial our systems while we wait... Plan is to fly-in tomorrow!!! Total Fly-In Weight: 590lbs (including us 2 humans) Breakdown: - electronics: 12lbs (crazy! we've since pared this down while we waited) - food: 70lbs (that's 1.4lbs of food each/day) - clothes we are wearing: 26lbs (including boots) - skis: 28lbs (14lbs each pair with bindings & skins on) - gas: 42lbs (that's 24oz/day + basecamp supply) - balance: climbing gear, basecamp food, wet ones!, wands, sleds, meds, etc.) Pulling in sled: 100lbs each Thanks Granite Gear for making strong bags of all sizes that fit all our needs. Love those Air Zippditty sacks!

Lucania: Making our Skis

When travelling on heavily glaciated terrain, loaded with heavy sleds, and there are only two of us on the rope, avoiding a crevasse fall is critical. In order to facilitate travel in deep snow and to better span the crevasses, we made custom skis. At 85.5” (220cm) long and 5” wide (127mm), these boards are sure keep us above ground :) We fabricated our skis from yellow birch – harvested from our property in northern Minnesota. By meshing traditional northern craft with modern finishes such as telemark bindings, climbing skins and mountaineering boots we have a ski tailored to our application. Check out this cool video on the making of our custom skis!

Lucania: Mountain Forecast

We’ve been watching Lucania’s mountain weather for over 2 months now – it’s important to have some history on wind direction & speeds, duration of storms, precipitation and temperatures. The key variables are wind speed and precipitation - mainly what affects visibility. We can't make forward progress in a whiteout. Our original plan was to fly in on Jan 12th... until we saw this forecast. Look at those wind speeds and total snowfall! This is summit data, but even down low on the glacier, we would be grounded for a few days. We decided last night to delay our fly-in until after this storm event. Such a decision is never easy and never black & white - even after years of experience. We rem

Lucania: Packing - the Reality

Our reality: we'll never have one of those neatly organized grid like gear packing photos, nope. From this first-pass in mid-December... To this, the night before we left Grand Marais for our drive out west... No amount of pre-planning saves the inevitable last minute rush. Now in Whitehorse, our hotel room is a mess! We need to fill our fuel bottles, re-arrange bags for the 2-stage flight onto the glaciers, remount the bindings that had to be removed to fit the skis in a bag for commercial flight, etc. We are checking electronics and packing and re-packing our gear. Fun stuff!

Lucania: Chub Energy Bars

These energy bars pack a punch. It’s really easy to be creative too – tweak the recipe to use your favorites. The bars stay soft, even in extreme cold. Ingredients: Nut butters: Crunchy peanut butter, sesame butter, etc. Unsweetened shredded coconut Fine diced apricots – use cranberries, blueberries, or any other dried fruit Whipped honey Instant oats Clarified Butter (Ghee) At roughly 4oz you’ll get: 400 calories 20g fat 12g protein 49g carbs

Lucania: Yummy Jerky

Nothing beats homemade jerky. Last winter, it was our prize food during the Carpe winter expedition in Alaska… so we made more this year! Here’s our favorite concoction… Meat: lean round steak – cut to 3/16th thickness Marinade: maple syrup honey Braggs Liquid Aminos water Let the meat soak for 6-8 hours. Over-marinating could make the jerky too salty. Drying: Hang the meat on oven rack. Dry in oven at very low heat (180 ̊ F) with door cracked open to let the humidity escape. Check after 2-3hrs, flip each piece so that they dry evenly. Drying can take up to 8-12hours. Enjoy!

Lucania - A Frigid First: Launch

Polar explorer and mountaineer Lonnie Dupre along with climbing teammate Pascale Marceau are launching Lucania - A Frigid First; an attempt at the first winter ascent of Mount Lucania (5226m / 17,146ft). Nestled deep in the Yukon’s Kluane National Park and Reserve, this seldom visited peak has never been climbed in the winter. The two person team, Marceau and Dupre, will attempt to be the first to do so. Marceau would be one of few or possibly the first female, if successful, to summit a subarctic, high altitude mountain in the winter. Mt. Lucania lies 65km north of its famous neighbour, Mt. Logan - Canada’s tallest mountain. Due to its remoteness, this lesser-known peak is rarely climbed

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