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 State Troopers logo.
Kenai man dead after weekend collision

The crash took place at the intersection of Treasure Chest Street and the Kenai Spur Highway

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Alexis Alamillo, of Anchorage, carries a sockeye salmon caught in a dipnet from the mouth of the Kenai River on Wednesday.
Kenai River dipnetting now open 24 hours a day

The liberalization of fishing regulation was effective starting Thursday evening

A drone rises into the air while kicking up dust, departing on a test flight for the use of beyond visual line of sight drone aircraft, at Furie Operating Alaska’s central processing facility in Nikiski, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Drone test flight operates beyond visual line of sight between Nikiski and a Cook Inlet platform

The drone could perform deliveries to and from Cook Inlet platforms

A map of Lower Skilak Campground shows the areas that will be closed in July and August 2024. (Graphic provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Areas of Lower Skilak Campground to close for repair starting Monday

The East Loop will be closed — projected to be reopened at noon on Aug. 4

Kenai Courthouse is photographed on Feb. 26, 2019, in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Sterling resident sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexual abuse of minors

Additionally, Crane will face 15 years of supervised probation as well as sex offender registration and treatment

Shrubs grow outside of the Kenai Courthouse on Monday, July 3, 2023 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Former Soldotna police officer acquitted of 2023 assault allegations

He was found not guilty following a five-day trial in late June

A parade of cars and trucks flying flags in support of former President Donald Trump proceed down the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai, Alaska, on Sunday, July 14, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Residents caravan across central peninsula in support of Trump

The parade came a day after an attempted assassination of the former president

Drummers perform during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, July 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenaitze tribe celebrates 10 years of ‘far-fetched dream’ at wellness center

Community members recognized the work done at the Dena’ina Wellness Center over the past decade

Most Read