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Lonnie Dupre ready for 2nd Solo try for Denali in Darkest Month

by Lorien Nettleton ~ December 22nd, 2011

Tuesday’s Snowstorm has delayed alpinist Lonnie Dupre’s ambition of undertaking a solo ascent of Mt. McKinley in the Month of January. Dupre, who is in Talkeetna and waiting for a weather window to open, will tackle North America’s tallest peak for a second time. To date, no climber has made it to McKinley’s summit alone in the month of January.

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Dupre had planned to start his conquest of Mt. McKinley on the shortest day of the year. With just 38 days to complete his quest, he will be using the same alpine-style approach as last year to allow for fast travel, should the weather be cooperative. He’ll carry all of his gear and supplies with him as he ascends, rather than make multiple trips up and down the mountain as is common in expedition-style climbing. Given that he’s carrying everything he needs, he says he’s lightened his cargo from last year.

Custom made gear, including skis custom made out of single-piece birch by the founder of North House Folk School, Mark Hanson

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Also made a custom snow saw to lighten up. Since Dupre shovels out trenches and stacks blocks for a shelter, rather than lying on his belly to tunnel a snow cave, he relies on good saws and shovels.

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His clothes and boots and ropes are lighter, and he says he was really able to save weight on food, cutting from 2.2 pounds of food a day to one and a third pounds of food a day.

He’s taking the same amount of fuel as last year, but says he has a more efficient stove. One of the hardest things to judge, he says, is how much fuel to bring.

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Once the weather window opens, Dupre will begin his journey up the mountain, alone. You can see regular updates about his progress on his website, lonniedupre dot com.

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