Minnesota adventurer becomes first solo climber to summit Denali in January


Fourth time's a charm.

Grand Marais arctic adventurer Lonnie Dupre became the first person to reach the summit of the tallest peak in North America on a solo climb in the month of January.

Dupre reached the 20,320-foot tip of Alaska's Mount McKinley (also called Denali) shortly after 5 p.m. CDT Sunday, according to his official Facebook page. His team got a ping from a GPS tracker signaling his arrival at the summit.

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"Its been many years in making," Stevie Anna Plummer, project coordinator for Dupre, told Channel 2 News. "Lonnie just stuck to it. I'm extremely proud of him. He's never not completed an expedition and now he can add this one to the list."

But it's not over for Dupre yet; the 53 year old still has to get back down the mountain.

Plummer told Alaska Dispatch News that the descent is often the hardest part of the journey because climbers are "extremely fatigued" and need to be "extra careful with their footing."

Dupre started the climb on Dec. 18, 2014. This was the fourth year the Grand Marais adventurer attempted to climb to McKinley’s summit in January. Bad weather thwarted his previous attempts, according to Dupre’s website, OneWorldEndeavors.com.

Climbing the mountain isn’t easy – only a team of two Russians has reached the mountain’s summit in the month of January, the Duluth News Tribune says. In all, 16 climbers from nine expeditions have reached the summit in the winter – six climbers died on those expeditions, Dupre's website says.

The mountain is known to have unpredictable weather and vast crevasse fields, making it difficult to climb even in the summer. In the winter, wind speeds can exceed 100 mph and with only six hours of daylight, temperatures often plummet to minus 50 degrees or colder, his website says.

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