January 11, 2015
Photo: Lonnie Dupre Descending Denali (approx 18,000ft) with Headlamp by John Walter Whittier
Contact: Stevie Plummer, 503-871-3387 or LonnieDupre@gmail.com
Solo Climber Reaches Elusive Winter Summit
Arctic explorer and climber Lonnie Dupre became the first to summit Denali aka Mount McKinley in January – alone. 25 days ago on 12/18/14 Dupre flew to basecamp. With winter winds regularly exceeding 100 miles per hour, temperatures dropping below -60º F, and just six hours of sunlight each day, January is a formidable time on Denali, whose elevation of 20,320 feet makes it North America’s highest mountain. Dupre reached the summit at 17:04(Central) on January 11, 2015.
Denali, whose elevation of 20,320 feet makes it North America’s highest mountain. Dupre flew to the Kahiltna Glacier at the base of Denali on December 18th, 2014 carrying 34 days worth of supplies.
Only nine expeditions, totaling 16 people, have ever reached the Denali summit in winter, and six deaths occurred during those climbs. Of these previous winter expeditions, four were solo, but none was in January, the darkest and coldest time of the year on the mountain. Only a team of three Russian climbers has ever successfully summited Denali in January.
“The low visibility and extreme winds made ending up in a crevasse or being blown from you feet and off the mountain a reall possibility. I constantly paid close attention to my footing” said Dupre
Dupre has spent a total of 60 days during the last 3 winters on Denali, during which he made 2 fast ascents to 17,200 feet, only to be thwarted by bad weather just hours from the summit. He pulled a 5-foot sled with 165 pounds of supplies on the mountain’s lower elevations, then switch to backpacking supplies up the steeper parts. He will also carry 175 bamboo wands to mark the route, dangerous crevasses and his camps, increasing his chances for a safe return, which is when most climbing deaths occur.
Major sponsors of Dupre’s Denali expedition are: PrimaLoft - Performance Insulation used in Dupre’s sleeping system and parka, Hear in America - founded to help people get the hearing care they need, and Granite Gear - serious backpacks and accessories Dupre has used on his expeditions for over 25 years.
Dupre, a resident of Grand Marais, Minnesota, brings 25 years of Arctic exploration to his most recent endeavor. His accomplishments include being the first to circumnavigate Greenland by non-motorized transport, and reaching the North Pole in two separate expeditions.
Dupre has also worked to bring worldwide attention to his concern over the environment. “I spent a lot of time this past year trying to figure out how to inspire folks about our need to do something about climate change,” said Dupre. “So, we have made a one hour film called Cold Love, which is about Arctic adventure and the world’s need - people’s need - for snow and ice. Snow and ice are important in our polar regions because they help reflect the sun’s energy back into space. Basically, the planet’s polar regions act as a thermostat to keep our planet cool.” The documentary will be entered in international film festivals and offered on CD in 2014. As a solution to help combat climate change Dupre is donating the profits from the sale of his book, Life on Ice: 25 Years of Arctic Exploration, published by Keen Editions, between December 15th and February 15th, 2014, to The Nature Conservancy’s campaign “Plant a Billion Trees.” Each Life on Ice sale will enable the planting of 11 trees.