Lonnie Dupre abandons Mt. McKinley
Lonnie Dupre slogged his way down the haunches of Alaska's Mt. McKinley on Tuesday after six nights in a cold, cramped, and increasingly rancid snow cave in 17,200 feet.
His reward: another snow cave.
When the Grand Marais man woke up yesterday, he took a look at himself and his surroundings and said, more or less, screw this. His goal of climbing North America's highest peak in January will have to wait.
This tiny snow cave at 14,000 feet looked like luxury compared to Dupre's shelter at 17,200 feet.
"There's an old saying that you don't f*** with mother nature," expedition manager Tom Suprenant said online from his station in Talkeetna, Alaska. "I think Lonnie knows and respects that power more than ever."
It was 50 degrees below zero up there beneath the mountain's summit, with winds howling at 100 mph--he couldn't even get outside for a pee. There was 50 percent less oxygen in the air compared to sea level. He was even rattled around by a 5.4 magnitude earthquake.
Dupre's "sled" is really a ladder that he drags, carrying his backpack.
Dupre, who keeps in touch with Suprenant daily by radio, worked his way down to 10,000 feet and bedded down in a cave he'd dug on the way up. Today he plans on marching out to base camp.
Mt. McKinley has yet to be climbed in January.
"He did have some issues with his sled trying to kill him by pulling him downslope a couple of times," Suprenant wrote. Otherwise, "he's in good spirits."
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