After three failed attempts, mountaineer Lonnie Dupre has solo summited the 20,237-foot Denali, North America’s highest peak, making him the first person ever to do so in the month of January, according to his expedition company, One World Endeavors.
On January 11, One World Endeavors announced the feat on its Facebook page, saying Dupre reached the summit at about 5 p.m. Central Time. The mountain is seldom climbed in winter, when days are short and storms are fierce. Winds over 100 mph and temperatures lower than -50 degrees Fahrenheit are common. Bad weather foiled Dupre’s three previous attempts, in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Dupre is a Minnesota-based adventurer and a 25-year veteran of Arctic exploration. In 2001, he became the first person to circumnavigate Greenland by nonmotorized transport, relying on a dogsled and kayak. He also completed a dogsled expedition through the Northwest Passage in 1991–1992, during which he covered 3,000 miles.
Dupre carried 165 pounds of supplies on a five-foot-long sled through the lower elevations; he switched to backpacking supplies higher up. He marked the route with 175 bamboo wands to make his descent safer, according to the Duluth News Tribune. Dupre has already begun his descent, according to One World Endeavors. His last Spot GPS position put him safely at 17,200 feet.
Of the 16 people who have summited Denali in winter, six died during the undertaking. Four of those climbs were attempted solo, but none were completed in January. A pair of Russian climbers summited in January 1998.