In this 2012 photo provided by climber Lonnie Dupre, Dupre takes a selfie during a failed attempt to climb the summit of Alaska's Mount McKinley, the tallest peak in North America. Dupre's support team said Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, that the Minnesota adventurer has succeeded in his fourth attempt to become the first solo climber to reach the summit, citing a GPS tracking device. (AP Photo/Lonnie Dupre)

In this 2012 photo provided by climber Lonnie Dupre, Dupre takes a selfie during a failed attempt to climb the summit of Alaska's Mount McKinley, the tallest peak in North America. Dupre's support team said Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, that the Minnesota adventurer has succeeded in his fourth attempt to become the first solo climber to reach the summit, citing a GPS tracking device. (AP Photo/Lonnie Dupre)

Team: Climber 1st to solo summit Mount McKinley in January

  • By STEVE KARNOWSKI
  • Monday, January 12, 2015 10:29pm
  • News

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota adventurer has succeeded in becoming the first solo climber to reach the summit of Alaska’s Mount McKinley in the month of January, his support team said Monday, citing a GPS tracking device.

Lonnie Dupre, of Grand Marais, reached the 20,320-foot summit of North America’s tallest peak at 2:08 p.m. Alaska time Sunday, said project coordinator Stevie Plummer.

Dupre sent a text message saying “All OK, Doing Well,” through a SPOT GPS messenger device that showed it was sent from the same coordinates as McKinley’s summit.

Plummer then posted on the expedition website and on Dupre’s Facebook page a map generated by the SPOT system, which she said is “extremely accurate,” showing he had made it. She also said he sent a similar SPOT message about 3½ hours later showing he had successfully descended to his high camp at 17,200 feet.

“He spent 10 minutes on the summit, took some photos, then he realized exactly how high up he was and decided to head back down. I guess reality struck at that moment,” Plummer said while en route to Alaska to meet up with Dupre.

Plummer spoke with Dupre on Monday, shortly after the climber re-established satellite phone contact for the first time in nearly a week.

This was Dupre’s fourth attempt at a solo summit in January of Mount McKinley, also known as Mount Denali. The mountain’s notoriously treacherous winter weather forced him to turn back in 2013, 2012 and 2011.

Plummer said Dupre told her he left his camp at 17,200 feet for the final climb at 4 a.m. Sunday. She said the winds started whipping up, so he completed his descent back to camp in about 3½ hours instead of the normal nine.

Plummer had expected Dupre to rest Monday, but she said he called her from 14,200 feet while making his way to his camp for the night some 3,000 feet below, she said.

The mountain is in Denali National Park. Climbers are required to register with the National Park Service, which lets park officials keep an accurate list of summit attempts and successes, said park spokeswoman Maureen Gualtieri. Their list shows 16 people have summited McKinley in winter, but nobody solo in January, and six deaths have resulted from those attempts.

Gualtieri said Dupre would be added after he checks in with park officials at a ranger station. She said the park doesn’t require proof, but that Dupre’s GPS device appeared to be working properly and that she was confident they’ll recognize his feat once he comes off the mountain.

Weather permitting, Dupre’s support team expects to pick him up sometime this weekend.

More in News

Alaska Rep. David Eastman, a Republican from Wasilla, sits at his desk on the Alaska House floor in Juneau, Alaska, on March 5, 2020. Alaska lawmakers are discussing whether to sanction Eastman who is also a member of the Oath Keepers far-right paramilitary organization according to the Anchorage Daily News. Eastman, who is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, confirmed with the Associated Press, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, that he joined the Oath Keepers a little over 12 years ago, “along with 38,000 others who have committed to honoring oaths we have taken.” (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
State lawmaker could be sanctioned over Oath Keeper ties

Eastman was identified as a “life member” of the Oath Keepers last year

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
As cases surge, public health officials contemplate how to live with virus

Contact tracing and data collection will have to be reworked if COVID is here to stay

Upper Cook Inlet Exclusive Economic Zone can be seen on this map provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (Image via fisheries.noaa.gov)
Soldotna approves filing of EEZ lawsuit brief

The lawsuit seeks to reopen commercial salmon fishing in the Upper Cook Inlet Exclusive Economic Zone

University of Alaska Interim President Pat Pitney, bottom left, spoke to UA students in a virtual forum on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, and was joined by several UA administrators including UA Southeast President Karen Carey, bottom left, and UA Anchorage Vice Chancellor Bruce Schultz, top left. At top right, an American Sign Language professional provides translation services. (Screenshot)
UA President: University has turned a corner on funding

System sees modest increase in budget for first time in years

Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer; Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna; Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak and Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, spoke to reporters Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, immediately following Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s State of the State address. Members of the Senate Republican leadership said they appreciated the governor’s optimism, and hoped it signaled a better relationship between the administration and the Legislature. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Lawmakers welcome tone change in governor’s address

With caveats on financials, legislators optimistic about working together

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID deaths, hospitalizations climb statewide

The total number of statewide COVID deaths is nearly equivalent to the population of Funny River.

A fisher holds a reel on the Kenai River near Soldotna on June 30, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Restrictions on sport fishing announced

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced summer sport fishing regulations Wednesday

Community agencies administer social services to those in need during the Project Homeless Connect event Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘It’s nice to be able to help folks’

Project Homeless Connect offers services, supplies to those experiencing housing instability

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce attends the March 2, 2021, borough assembly meeting at the Betty J. Glick Assembly Chambers at the Borough Administration Building in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Former talk-show host to manage Pierce gubernatorial campaign

Jake Thompson is a former host of KSRM’s Tall, Dark and Handsome Show and Sound-off talk-show

Most Read