DULUTH, Minn. -- Lonnie Dupre of Grand Marais, Minn., knows full well what he's getting into. In the next few weeks, he hopes to become the first person on Earth to reach the summit of Alaska's Denali on a solo expedition in January.
The mountain is so cold, its winds so ferocious and the daylight so skimpy in January, that the odds of success are small. Only nine expeditions totaling 16 people have reached the summit of Denali in winter. Six people have died on winter attempts.
Only one team has reached the mountain's 20,320-foot summit in January. Two Russians in a three-person party reached the peak on Jan. 16, 1998.Dupre, 49, is not short on cold-weather expedition experience. He has twice skied to the North Pole from northern Canada. He has circumnavigated Greenland by kayak and dogsled. This past June, he and two other Grand Marais men reached the summit of Denali in his only major climbing expedition.