Minnesotan Lonnie Dupre working his way up Mt. Wood in Kluane National Park and Reserve.
On March 11, 2019 at 3:10 p.m. PST, climbers Lonnie Dupre of Grand Marais, Minnesota and Pascale Marceau of Canmore, Alberta reached the summit of Mt. Wood despite wind chills of -45. Located in the Saint Elias Mountains of Kluane National Park and Reserve, Yukon, Canada, Mt. Wood is Canada's 6th highest peak at 15,912 feet / 4,860 meters.
“The Icefields are remote and raw. There is a lifetime of peaks, wilderness and adventures to explore. You either come out the other end feeling like a nasty wolverine, wanting your mama, or both,” said Dupre.
Marceau and Dupre at the summit of Mt. Wood (15,912 feet) under a stiff 20mph wind.
The duo ascended the east face of the mountain along a spur ridge to establish Camp 1 at 11,200 feet after three precarious carries up the most technical section of their route. Camp 2 at 12,500 feet was supplied after two carries.The first attempt at the summit was made on March 10, only to be thwarted by high winds and driving snow just a couple hours from the top.
Conditions on Mt. Wood March 10, when high winds resulted in poor visibility forcing the team to retreat and retry the next day. (Aerial Photo: Michael Schmidt)
On the morning of the 11th, tired, disappointed, and with poor weather forecasted, they prepared to descend the mountain. By 10:00 a.m. the weather appeared to be stabilizing so the pair decided to make a light and fast push for the summit. With good traction over hard packed snow, they reached the peak of Mt. Wood in just over five hours then descended quickly, grabbing gear at Camp 2 and scurrying onto Camp 1 in a race against darkness. The next day, they cautiously worked their way back to basecamp.
"We are thrilled to have reached our objective, and what a ride it was! We are grateful for the privilege of being to such an extraordinary place. We look forward to sharing stunning imagery and great stories about one of Canada's wild spaces," added Pascale.
Dupre, a 30-year veteran polar exploration and mountaineering who turns 58 next month shared that: "Part of the appeal of climbing during winter lies in the challenge, and unpredictability. It is a unique adventure because no one is there”.
Safely back down to basecamp, Pascale and Lonnie give a celebratory high five holding the Royal Canadian Geographical Society flag
A special thanks goes out to our partners who helped make thisclimb a success.