Last week I posted a story about polar explorer and climber Lonnie Dupre, who had set out for Alaska where he hopes to make a solo summit of Denali in January, something that has never been done before. At the time, Lonnie was stuck in Talkeetna, waiting for the weather to clear so he could hop a flight to Base Camp. Fast forward a few days, and he’s still there and still waiting.
According to the latest updates to his blog, Dupre is making the most of his time in town by preparing his gear and supplies for the climb ahead. He also notes that the weather is expected to improve as the week goes along, so he’s hoping to arrive in BC over the next few days so he can start the climb at last. His original plan was to be on Denali by January 1st so that he would have the full month to complete the expedition. He’s already lost a few precious days, but hopefully they won’t matter in the long run.
Only 16 people have ever stood on the summit of Denali in winter, and of those, only one expedition, consisting of three Russian climbers, ever topped out in January. That was back in 1998. Lonnie has been in contact with that Russian team and will be using some of their valuable knowledge and experience to help him reach the top. For instance, he isn’t taking a tent with him, but will instead dig snow caves along the way, which is exactly what the Russians did as well.
Hopefully the projected weather window will open as expected in the next few days and we’ll start to get some actual dispatches from the climb itself. This is going to be a very tough task to complete, as the weather is extremely bad for most of the year on the mountain, but in January it is especially so.
I’ll keep you posted on his progress.
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