Climber Lonnie Dupre retreated from Denali on Sunday after Arctic temperatures shut down his attempt to make a winter summit of North America's tallest mountain for the third year in a row. Dupre, 51, had spent Saturday, his 19th day on the mountain, in a snowcave at 17,200 feet, contending with temperatures as low as -35 degrees Fahrenheit, before informing his support team that he would be abandoning the attempt.
A press release from Dupre's support team explained the decision:
It was virtually a life-or-death decision for Dupre. Even if he had made the summit today, which would have meant a 12-hour or more travel day between 17,200 and the summit and back, he knew he would not have had the energy or means to survive back at the 17,200 camp. Monday’s predicted 50mph winds and cold temperatures would translate into a wind chill of -50 degrees F. Combined with an unfavorable long-term forecast and dwindling food and fuel supplies, Dupre knew his chance of survival would be minimal.
No one has ever summited Denali solo in the dead of winter, defined as December and January.