Lonnie Dupre has abandoned his attempt of making the first January solo ascent of Denali. The veteran adventurer from Minnesota spent the weekend making his way down to base camp after 18 days on the mountain. In an audio update posted on his website, Dupre says he spent 7 days pinned in a snow cave by high winds at 14 thousand 200 feet, and decided to abandon the climb after getting a daunting weather forecast Friday.
Dupre reports winds gusted in excess of 90 miles an hour above 17 thousand feet, and to around 80 where he was at 14 thousand and below. Down climbing Saturday was harrowing. Dupre says he was buffeted by 60 to 80 mile an hour winds, and nearly fell to his death on a section of the route known as Squirrel Hill.
Dupre says he was forced to face the hill and slowly down climb using crampons and ice axes to keep from being blown off the icy surface again. Dupre worked his way down toward his 72 hundred foot base camp on the Kahiltna Galacier yesterday. He hopes to be picked up by plane and flown back to Talkeetna before more bad weather moves in.
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