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.
In January 2011, Dupre made his first attempt. He made a fast ascent to 17,200 feet only to be thwarted there by bad weather, just eight hours travel shy of the summit. Dupre huddled in a snow cave for seven days waiting for a window of stable weather to go to the summit. That day never came. He is going back for another try in January 2012.
I have just under a month to get ready for another attempt at soloing Denali this winter. I am now on my way to Colorado for 2.5 weeks to ascend some 14,000-foot peaks to work on climbing techniques and acclimatize to altitude. From there, I fly to Alaska around December 14th then to Denali’s base to start the climb on December 21st.
So far most of the climbing gear and equipment has been acquired less a few key items that are being modified or made. Good friend and ski maker Mark Hansen made the skis I will be using from base camp at 7200 feet to 11,200 feet to my specifications from local Minnesota birch. They will be light, long for spanning crevasse bridges and boot width wide for floatation.
Food rations were packed last week consisting of about 1.25 lbs of freeze dried per day. Breakfast will consist of my hometown whole food store’s granola mixed with goat’s milk. Lunch will be a smorgasbord of chocolate, rye cracker, halva (sesame butter and honey), pecans, and homemade pemmican (cooked bacon mixed with dried cranberries mixed together via a food processor). Dinners will be Mountain House Freeze Dried food in vacuumed packed bags that you can just add boiling water to and stir…no pots necessary.
Like last year I will not take a tent. The winds on Denali are just too much for even the best mountaineering tent. I will use a modified snow trench that will be warmer, safer and quieter when the winds are blowing 100mph. For safety, snow trenches can be re-used and a place to store supplies for the decent.
Here are some links to the most recent news on the upcoming expedition: