Posted at: 01/27/2013 11:25 AM
Northland Arctic explorer Lonnie Dupre has abandoned his third attempt to become the first person to summit Mount McKinley, also known as Denali, alone in the month of January due to poor weather, a dwindling food supply, and a lack of rest.
Dupre, who is from Grand Marais, made the decision after reaching the 17,200 foot level of the 20,320-foot mountain. He had reached the same level on his first attempt to set the record in 2011.
Dupre had hoped to make the final push to the top of the mountain Sunday. He reached 17,200 feet on Saturday but was unable to get much-needed rest because he had to spend the entire night trying to keep warm. Extremely hard snow made it impossible to build a safe snow cave, which was -35 degrees Fahrenheit when Dupre called base camp Sunday morning.
According to a press release, it was a life-or-death decision for Dupre. "These storms on Denali can last a long time," Dupre said in the statement, "and a climber should never be caught with less then three days of food and eight days of fuel at any point."
Dupre said he does not regard the climb as a failure since he was able to conduct research and gather microbe samples for climate change research. Sunday's press release did not say whether Dupre would make a fourth attempt to set the record.
Photo by Elizabeth Clark