Denali, aka Mount McKinley, in Alaska, is North America’s highest mountain at 20,320 feet.
Only nine expeditions totaling 16 people have ever reached the summit of Denali in winter. Six deaths resulted from those climbs. Only one team (comprised of three Russian climbers) has ever made the summit in January...the dead of winter. Of those nine original expeditions, four were solo, but none of those individuals have been in January, the darkest and coldest time.
In January 2011 was Lonnie Dupre's first attempt at Denali in the winter time. He made a fast ascent to 17,200 feet only to be thwarted there by bad weather, just 8 hours travel shy of the summit. Huddled in a snow cave for 7 days, Lonnie waited for a window of stable weather to go to the summit. That day never came. He is now back on Denali giving it another go in hopes of becoming the first person to solo summit in January.
Talkeetna Air Taxi is the charter company flying us to the base of Denali on the Kahiltna glacier when the weather permits. Today we met with our captain Danielle and her two co-pilots Rivet & Rudder(dogs). We spent the day weighing gear, sorting fuel, working on cameras and then Stevie got a 101 on weather forecasting from Danielle. Bit by bit we’re getting there. Weather willing we’ll be taking off soon… keep your fingers crossed!
A stray dog stole one of my shoes and a tall chilena stole my pants. At this rate I'll be naked by Christmas. This is my story.Since we spend all our non-hiking time in flip flops, I didn't notice my shoe went missing from under the side of our tent until we were packing up to leave Cochrane. We then found out stray dogs steal shoes and other items with some frequency at Carmen's house (Don Rial's daughter- we camped in her yard). This was unfortunate for several reasons:
On the walk to the general store, a stray dog started following me, which I ignored (because otherwise they keep following you in hopes your love will translate into food). I sat down next to the general store to read while waiting for it to open. The dog sat next to me and started to put the moves on me like a teenage boy in a movie theater. He put a front paw on my leg, then the other, and soon enough he was on his back lying in my lap. I kept ignoring him, trying not succumb to his cuteness. Awhile later, he got bored and moved on. Could this have been the culprit?
Lonnie Dupre Partners with ASC to Conduct Research While Attempting First- Ever January Solo of Denali
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation partners with legendary explorer to collect microbe samples; helping gain unique insights into the functioning of extreme environments.
Bozeman, MT Dec. 5, 2011 – Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation is pleased to announce renowned polar explorer and climber, Lonnie Dupre will conduct scientific research as he attempts the first solo climb of Denali in the month of January. Throughout the journey, Lonnie will collect microbe samples for researcher Dragos Zaharescu from the Biosphere 2 project at the University of Arizona. These samples will help researchers to understand key aspects of how extreme environments will respond to a rapidly changing climate.
“This represents a tremendous opportunity to get valuable data from an extremely remote and difficult to reach area,” said Gregg Trienish, Founder of ASC, who was named 2008 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year for “Across the Andes,” the first recorded trek of the 7800-mile spine of the Andes.
The goal of this research is to quantify the biotransformation of primary bedrock in the upper limits of the mountain biome. Knowledge of this process is likely to reveal vital clues about the evolution of microbes-rock interaction in these environments, and could ultimately lead to the conservation of extreme environments around the world.
Posted by Sarah on Saturday, December 03, 2011Disclaimer: We are unable to upload any photos at this time. Hopefully Chile Chico will provide somewhat better internet service, so for now read away!
Words cannot explain what we experienced in this last 11 day leg, but I will go ahead and give it a shot. When leaving the super small town of Villa O'Higgins, we were carrying our most unappealing food supply yet (thanks to limited options) but were in high spirits as we were about to embark on a stellar off-road hike through the mountains on an old horse trail. Little did we know that by trail, they meant a barely visible obstacle course sometimes designated by cairns - or horse skulls, bull skulls, tin cans, kettles, or shoes in lieu of cairns - that may or may not cross rivers nearly every 10 minutes. It rained, hailed and snowed. A lot. We went from stuffed to starved to stuffed again. We fell in mud, slid down cliffs, and ran through rivers. We experienced the solitary "paisano" culture first hand - food included. Our bodies are bruised, cut, blistered and sore. We were exhaustingly challenged with nasty weather and rough terrain but equally rewarded with the most stunning views and vibrant sunsets. Here is the short list:
Read the Landmark Notes blog: