Adventurer poised to try record climb
GRAND MARAIS — Adventurer Lonnie Dupre of Grand Marais made it on to Alaska's Mount McKinley on Thursday.
After waiting out some weather, Dupre flew 60 miles from Talkeetna, Alaska, to an elevation of 7,200 feet at a base camp on North America's highest mountain. It's where he'll begin his second bid to become the first solo climber to reach the summit of McKinley in January.
More than a foot of snow fell on the area Tuesday and Wednesday, preventing an earlier arrival on the mountain.
Dmitri von Klein, a member of Dupre's support crew, said the weather probably will keep Dupre hunkered down at base camp until Saturday. "Everything is good so far," he said of Thursday's trip. "We got him settled in." He took off about 4 p.m. Minnesota time.
The crew offers updates on Dupre's progress through a Web site, www.lonniedupre.com.
His online journal Thursday night read: "We'll be in touch with Lonnie at least once a day throughout this entire expedition and will keep you all posted with all the information we get. He'll also be leaving audio updates from the mountain so be sure to check in frequently. Lonnie left with high hopes, good spirit and a clear mind. We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers for a safe return. Onward!"
Last winter, bad weather didn't allow Dupre, 50, to fly onto McKinley for nearly two weeks after his planned start date. He spent 22 days alone on McKinley. The climb ended after a storm pinned him down at 17,200 feet for several days.
Dupre decided to start this winter's climb early in hope of avoiding some of the bad weather and to make the summit attempt with a full moon Jan. 9.
He figures that with ideal conditions it will take 14 days to reach the summit from base camp. He will start off carrying and dragging about 130 pounds of gear and food, some of which he will cache in snow caves he will make and use as shelter during the climb.