Showing posts with label Lonnie Dupre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lonnie Dupre. Show all posts

Winter Climbs 2017: Messner Visits Txikon in Base Camp on Everest

The winter climbing season continues unabated in the Himalaya and elsewhere. The days are now ticking away rapidly, and with just two weeks to go in the season, the climbers on Everest are beginning to eye the finish line with the hopes of making one last summit bid before spring actually arrives. Meanwhile, in Alaska, another expedition is about to truly get underway.

Alex Txikon and his team have been on Everest since early January now, and have had all attempts to summit the mountain turned back due to bad weather. The team has seen its share of bad luck as well, with a couple of members being sent home after suffering injuries. In fact, the entire squad was recalled to Kathmandu a few weeks back, but after spending eight days in the Nepali capital, they returned to Base Camp last week to begin preparing for another summit push once again. They spent most of that time rebuilding the route through the Khumbu Icefall, but did manage to climb up to Camp 1 before going back down to BC.

It has been a very long and difficult season to say the least, and Alex and company are probably more than ready to wrap up this challenge and head home. If they have been feeling dejected in any way, it hasn't come through in their dispatches however, and the Spaniard has always maintained an optimistic demeanor, even when things looked like they were at their worst. Still, today he received a major shot to his morale when legendary alpinist Reinhold Messner paid them a visit in Base Camp. Just judging from his dispatch it is clear how excited Alex was to meet his idol, and it may just be the shot in the arm he needed to finally get him up the mountain.


There is not indication of when the next (and likely last) summit push will begin, but with two weeks to go in the winter, time is definitely starting to run short.

Meanwhile, up in Alaska, Lonnie Dupre and his climbing partner Pascale Marceau are en route to Mt. Carpe, a 12,552-foot (3825 meter) peak located near Denali. The duo flew into their starting point on Friday and skied 8 hours pulling heavy sleds to make their first camp at Wonder Lake. Yesterday, they reached Turtle Hill after another long day, and are now about 15 miles from where they will set up Base Camp.

One of the major challenges of this expedition is the remoteness of the mountain, with the unpredictable nature of the Alaskan winter also making things tough. But, if all goes as expected, they should be on the mountain later today, and will begin the climb tomorrow, weather permitting of course.

That's it for now. We'll continue to keep an eye on these expeditions moving forward. It won't be long until the curtain falls on another winter climbing season.

Winter Climbs 2017: Work Continues on Everest, Lonnie Dupre Launches Winter Ascent in Alaska

Now that the end of February is upon us, there are roughly three weeks left in the winter season, and climbers looking to complete an ascent during the coldest months of the year can hear the clock ticking. But, three weeks is plenty of time, and a lot can be accomplished over that period.

On Everest, Alex Txikon and his team have now completed a second day of work on the Khumbu Icefall. Alex and company have been working to restore the route through the icefall, which was disrupted while they spent eight days in Kathmandu. Yesterday, they worked at 5800 meters (19,028 ft), and seemed very pleased with their progress. Soon, they'll have regained access to the rest of the mountain, and will be watching the forecast for opportunities to launch a summit bid.

Meanwhile, Lonnie Dupre is back in Alaska and preparing to begin another winter expedition of his own. You may recall that he originally had planned to climb Mt. Hunter solo this year but was beaten back by the incredibly tough conditions that he found there. Now, he's launched an attempt to summit the 3825 meter (12,552 ft) Mt. Carpe instead, and this time he's not going it alone.

Carpe sits near Denali, the highest mountain in North America and a place that Lonnie is very familar with. In 2015 he made a solo summit of that peak during the winter, become the first to top out alone in the month of January. This time out, Dupre will be joined by Pascale Marceau, a Canadian climber with lots of experience climbing in the Canadian Rockies, where the duo have been training for the past two months.

The expedition is expected to begin on Thursday of this week, and will proceed as the weather permits. Lonnie and Pascale are expecting brutal temperatures, high winds, and possibly heavy snow while they attempt their winter summit. But before they can ever begin to climb, they must first fly into the town of Kantishna, located at the end of the Denali Park Road, then ski to the Muldrow Glacier via Wonder Lake, Turtle Hill, and McGonagall Pass. That's the same route taken by the team that completed the first ascent of Carpe back in 1913.

It goes without saying that I'll be keeping an eye on both of these expeditions as they develop over the next few days. I'll be leaving town for awhile starting next Tuesday, so I may not be able to update the final status on either of the teams, but hopefully we'll have an idea of their progress before that happens.


Video: Talking Tents with Explorer/Mountaineer Lonnie Dupre

Want to know what to look for in a tent when embarking on an extreme expedition? Who better to ask than a guy like Lonnie Dupre, who managed to make a solo summit of Denali last January. In this video Lonnie sits down with Petra Hilleberg to talk about the tents he uses on his various adventures, and what he looks for in a shelter in extreme locations.

Winter Climbs 2017: Climbers in Base Camps and Moving Up

Now that the holidays have come and gone, I've managed to move to a new house, and the Winter Outdoor Retailer Show is behind us, we can finally return to some sense of normalcy around here. To do that, we'll get things started with an update from the major winter climbs that are now taking place in various parts of the world, beginning on Everest where Alex Txikon and his team are making solid progress.

Last week, the small group of climbers, support staff, and documentarians arrived in Base Camp on Everest, and immediately went to work establishing a base of operations there. It did't take them long to get ready however, and within a few days they were already moving up the mountain to begin their acclimatization efforts. The team then spent four days building a route through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall, before they were then presented with favorable weather conditions that allowed them to move up further.

Taking advantage of these good conditions, the climbers moved through the Icefall and up to 5870 meters (19,258 ft), where they spent the night at a provisional location. The following morning, they continued up to 6050 meters (19,849 ft), where they established Camp 1. Since then, they have climbed a bit higher as they scout the route, install ropes, and work to reach Camp 2 further up the slopes.

Reportedly, the climbing is even more difficult and demanding than they had thought, but things are proceeding according to plan. They should return to BC for rest shortly, but are continuing to try to make progress while the weather cooperates. For now, they are happy with how things are going, and the idea of a winter ascent of Everest remains a very high possibility.


Meanwhile, Elisabeth Revol is now in Base Camp on Manaslu too, where she reports heavy snow making progress very difficult. In fact, she says that it has snowed there everyday since the start of January, with 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) of accumulation over that time. Despite that however, she says that everything is going well and as expected on a winter expedition to the Himalaya. There is now indication yet of how much progress they are making in moving up the mountain however.

Finally, the last time we checked in on Lonnie Dupre he was just arriving on Mt. Hunter in Alaska in preparation for a solo winter ascent of that difficult peak. In the brief time I was away, he has already called off that attempt however. It seems that Lonnie made two attempts on the summit, both of which were thwarted by conditions, before taking a nasty fall. That was enough to convince him that it was time to pull the plug and consider some other projects instead. The polar explorer and mountaineer is currently in Canmore, Alberta where he is regrouping, considering what he could do differently, and preparing for some other adventures. Hunter won't be climbed during the winter this season it would seem.

You may recall that Lonnie made a solo ascent of Denali in January a few years back, going up that mountain in alpine style. During that expedition he eschewed the use of tents and used snow caves instead. He had hoped to make a similar approach to Hunter, which isn't as tall as Denali, but is considered more technical. Unfortunately, the mountain was able to win this round, but something tells me Dupre may be back to give it another go in the future. For now though, one of the winter expeditions that we were watching closely is already over.

More updates to come as the remaining teams make progress.

Video: Lonnie Dupre Approches Base Camp on Mt. Hunter

One of the winter climbs that we'll be following closely in the days ahead is Lonnie Dupre's attempt to summit Mt. Hunter in Alaska. Yesterday, he arrived in Base Camp, having been delivered there by bush plane. He also posted this video of the approach so you can get an idea of what he'll be facing in the days ahead. Hunter is a technically difficult mountain to climb, and as you can see there is plenty of snow to contend with too. This isn't going to be easy, but that's why he's doing it. More updates to come soon.

Lonnie Dupre Headed Back to Alaska for Winter Climb of Mt. Hunter

Polar explorer and mountaineer Lonnie Dupre has announced his next expedition, and it will once again take him to the extremes of Alaska during the winter. Dupre famously climbed Denali – the tallest peak in Norther America at 6190 meters (20,310 ft) – solo and in January in 2015, and now will head back to Denali National Park to climb yet another difficult mountain.

In January, Dupre will travel to the Alaska Range to attempt to scale Mt. Hunter, perhaps the most technical of all the peaks within the national park, and one of the toughest in North America. The 4441-meter (14,573-foot) mountain is known for its very steep slopes and heavily corniced ridges, which can make an ascent at any time of the year treacherous. In winter, climbers also face harsh weather conditions as well, including heavy snow, high winds, and subzero temperatures.

Those conditions are nothing new for Dupre however, who has traveled in many of the extreme locations of out planet during the winter. His experience on Denali (it took him several attempts to complete that climb) will pay off here as well, although he'll be facing even more difficult climbing conditions, although the Mt. Hunter isn't nearly as tall.

Dupre has dubbed this expedition "Cold Hunter One," and he aims to head toward the mountain in the first week of January. From there, he'll begin making the ascent in alpine style, carrying all of his gear and supplies with him as he goes. Of the expedition he says: “This project is the culmination of all my years of experience wrapped into one challenge, where every ounce of food, fuel, gear and clothing matters.” He goes on to add, “All calculations are based on the absolute minimum my body needs to survive. I’ve allowed 4 days for storms; weather will be a leading factor to the success of the climb."

We can add this expedition to our list of major winter climbs this year, along with the just announced attempt by Alex Txikon on Everest without bottled oxygen. Both should be interesting to watch unfold.