Dupre summits Mt. McKinley, coming to DL
Grand Marais adventurer Lonnie Dupre reached the summit of North America's highest peak, Mount McKinley, shortly after 5 p.m. on Sunday, according to Stevie Anna Plummer, project coordinator for the climb.
Grand Marais adventurer Lonnie Dupre reached the summit of North America’s highest peak, Mount McKinley, shortly after 5 p.m. on Sunday, according to Stevie Anna Plummer, project coordinator for the climb.
The only confirmation is from a SPOT GPS beacon message that Dupre transmitted from the summit, saying, “All OK. Doing well,” according to Plummer.
If confirmed, that would make Dupre, 53, the first person to have reached the summit solo in January. Mount McKinley is 20,237 feet high.
Dupre will be in Detroit Lakes on Feb. 9 to talk about his adventures as part of the Polar Fest line-up. The Detroit Lakes Library will be sponsoring his visit. He will speak at 7 p.m. in the Historic Holmes Theatre.
Shortly after 9 p.m. on Sunday, Plummer received a SPOT GPS transmission from Dupre saying that he had descended from the summit and was in his camp at 17,200 feet. Plummer received no further information.
This is Dupre’s fourth attempt to reach the summit of Mount McKinley, also called Denali. He failed in previous attempts to reach the summit in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and did not attempt the summit last winter.
Only nine expeditions, totaling 16 people, have ever reached the Denali summit in winter, and six deaths occurred during those climbs. Of these previous winter expeditions, four were solo, but none was in January, the darkest and coldest time of the year on the mountain.
“Talk about sticking with it and never saying ‘no,’” said Tom Suprenant, a friend of Dupre’s from Grand Marais on Sunday evening.
Suprenant and Buck Benson of Grand Marais reached the summit of McKinley during the summer of 2010.
“I’m excited for Lonnie and relieved,” Benson said at about 8 p.m. Sunday.
In the summer 2010 climb, Benson said it took him, Suprenant and Dupre 18 hours to go from camp at 17,200 feet to the summit and back to 17,200.
“We’re really excited,” Plummer said.
With winter winds regularly exceeding 100 miles per hour, temperatures dropping below 60 degrees below zero, and just six hours of sunlight each day, January is a formidable time on Mount McKinley.