Lonnie Dupre is climbing Mt. McKinley right now

Categories: Notable MN

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Dupre on top of McKinley during a previous summer expedition.
Evidently January isn't cold enough at home in Grand Marais for explorer Lonnie Dupre. So he's climbing Alaska's Mt. McKinley. Right now. Alone. More or less to prove that it can be done.

Maybe he can see Sarah Palin from there.

Dupre's a cold weather nut. He's mushed sled dogs in Ely, across eastern Russia, the Northwest Passage and the North Pole. He's sled-dogged and kayaked all the way around Greenland. Cramped, frigid nights in snow caves are his preferred state of being.

And since McKinley's 20,320-foot peak has never been bagged solo in January, when temperatures can sink to a balmy minus 50 degrees and freight-train winds can top 100 mph, this looks like a match made in heaven.

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The West Buttress of Mt. McKinley, where Lonnie Dupre plans on spending some quality time in January.
Or hell, if something goes wrong. Only four mountaineers have summited McKinley solo in winter. One of them, Japanese climber Naomi Uemura, never returned. None climbed in January.

Dupre was dropped on the Kahiltna Gacier by air taxi at the mountain's base on Jan. 7. He's slogging his way up the ice field for the next few days, hauling a homemade contraption that's part ladder (for crossing gaps on the glacier) and part sled, laden with supplies and equipment, approaching the point where more serious climbing begins. He posted an audio clip yesterday from a snow cave in the pre-dawn hours, while sipping coffee.

Dupre's goal is to summit before the end of the month. He's got enough supplies to last 38 days.

We'll keep you posted on his progress.

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