After 19 days on North America's highest mountain, Grand Marais adventurer Lonnie Dupre has called off his third consecutive attempt to become the first person to reach the peak of Alaska's Mount McKinley alone in January, the Duluth News Tribune reports. Several factors, including dangerous weather conditions and dwindling supplies, forced the Minnesota-native to begin his way down the mountain on Sunday.
Dupre reached 17,200 feet on Friday -- the same level on his first record attempt in 2011. He hoped to summit the 20,320-foot peak on Sunday, but extremely hard snow made it impossible to build a safe snow cave and get some much needed rest on Saturday.
"It was virtually a life-or-death decision for Dupre," according to his One World Endeavors website on Sunday. "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 50 mph winds and cold temperatures would translate into a windchill 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."
“These storms on Denali can last a long time and a climber should never be caught with less then three days of food and eight days of fuel at any point," Dupre wrote.
Dupre’s journey up Mount McKinley was part of a documentary called “Cold Love,” to bring attention to Alaska’s vanishing glaciers. He was also able to conduct research and gather microbe samples for climate change research.