Now that winter is officially here, and the holidays have come and gone, it is time for the winter mountaineering season to ramp up. Over the past couple of years, one of the focal points of that season has been Lonnie Dupre’s attempts to climb Denali in January, a bitterly cold and inhospitable month on that mountain. After having his expedition stalled out the past two years due to bad weather, Lonnie is back in Alaska once again this year and preparing to give it another go.
At the moment, Dupre is waiting in the small town of Talkeetna where he is hoping to catch an air taxi out to his starting point soon. He has been there for several days now, but so far the weather has kept all flights grounded and patience remains the word of the day. In an update to his Facebook page, Lonnie says that he isn’t concerned about the delays just yet, as he has padded his schedule to account for these issues. He explains some of the logistics in the video below.
Standing 6194 meters (20,320 ft) in height, Denali is the tallest mountain in North America. It also happens to be well known for it’s notoriously bad weather, even during the warmer months of the year. That makes climbing it in winter a dicey proposition at best and as a result, there have been only a handful of successful summits during that season, and none in January. Lonnie hopes to change that by becoming the first to climb the mountain during the coldest month of the year, and like his past expeditions to the peak, he’ll try to do so without a tent. Instead, he’ll dig a series of snow caves which will serve as his camps on the mountain and he’ll spend the first few weeks shuttling gear to those points.
Hopefully the weather will clear soon and the expedition can truly get underway. Look for regular updates on Lonnie’s progress in the days to come.
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