Yesterday Danial Doty with Talkeetna Air Taxi happened to fly over Lonnie and captured this wonderful image of him and his sled traveling up to 11,200ft.
Today Lonnie will be taxing half of his gear up to the 12,300ft camp. He will then return to the 11,200ft camp tonight and then carrying the remainder of his gear back up to 12,300ft tomorrow.
We received coordinates at about 2pm today with Lonnie’s location at 12,300ft where he will also be collecting rock samples. These samples are for scientist Dragos Zaharescu from the Biosphere 2 project at the University of Arizona.
Dupre is partnering with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation to collect microbe samples; helping to gain unique insights into the functioning of extreme environments.
“The goal of the data collection is to help scientists understand how nutrient cycling is affected by climate change. Basically, this means we can begin to understand how climate change will affect the production of living matter in extreme environments.” -Lonnie Dupre
Knowledge of this process is also likely to reveal vital clues about the evolution of microbes-rock interaction in these extreme boundary environments and its potential response to alterations in the environmental equilibrium such as climate change.
We will be in correspondence with Lonnie at some point tomorrow evening when he returns to his 12,300ft camp and will then update with details.
UPDATE: Lonnie left a voice message for us at 6pm.
Lonnie made the long haul from 9,600ft to 11,200ft today. Weather included variable winds and limited visibility. None the less he pushed onward. It might have been something to do with spending the last 36 hours stuck inside a snow cave. On the good side, Dupre said he was able to fit in a whopping 15 hours of sleep within that time. Well rested, he started packing up at about 6:30am for his next camp.
Lonnie’s is now tucked away in a new snow cave cooking up a little Mountain House meal.
Tomorrow, with promising weather Lonnie will most likely be moving on.
Right now it’s about -40 degrees outside on the mountain. Lonnie said he can keep his snow cave heated to about 30 degrees and claims it is warm enough for him. Traveling during the day he keeps warm by moving constantly. He only rests and takes his pack off once a day. That’s usually just to get more bamboo wands out of his sled for flagging.
He remains in good spirits and appreciates everyone sending prayers and well wishes his way. Until tomorrow… Upward!
Due to poor visibility on Denali, Lonnie will be catching a little R&R today.
He will remain at 9,600ft in his snow cave, which is just large enough to sit up in. He plans on taking a long nap until about 3pm today, writing in his journal and then having bacon and cranberry pemican for dinner.
Lonnie is using an MSR stove(shown above). He has trusted MSR stoves for many of his Polar and Denali expeditions. A reliable stove is a must, and would be a life and death situation if it were to break. It’s used for cooking and most importantly melting snow for drinking water. It burns 20oz of white gas for approximately 126 minutes and weighs only 14oz. Lonnie said he is very happy with how it has been functioning on Denali.
Tomorrow, Dupre will be heading up to the 11,200ft camp as long as the weather clears enough for him to see at least 100ft ahead. We’ll keep you posted on his progress tomorrow. Upward!
High Mountains and Low Valleys Posted by Trinity on Friday, December 23, 2011Imagine hiking uphill over several false peaks of boulderfields in 90+ degree weather with no breeze and in direct sunlight. It's tough work. Now imagine being constantly swarmed with large, biting horseflies. This was our first day on the trail into Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo. The three of us were absolutely miserable - we were brushing handfuls of horseflies off our arms, nausious from the heat, and cussing the world. We couldn't even take a worthwhile break because we'd have to drape ourselves in our hot, clammy rain gear for horsefly protection. However, with extreme lows also come extreme highs because we woke up to this the following morning:
Lonnie spent Christmas day cuddled in his snow cave, Christmas tree and all(shown above).
The weather wasn’t horrible, but not optimal for travel with the limited visibility. He decided to take the chance at having a little down time and preparing for his next push up to 9,500 feet on the upper Kahiltna where he hopes to be at by tomorrow evening. He continues to probe every step of the way on the upper Kahiltna followed by leaving his bamboo wands as markers.
When we received the call he was cooking chicken noodle soup and having tea. Then there’s chocolate for dinner, of course.
Dupre was in great spirit and wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. He also left an audio update for everyone below:
We just received a call via satellite phone from Lonnie. His spirits remain high as he progresses up the Kahiltna Glacier. He encountered crevasses, but his skis worked well spanning them and/or maneuvered around them.
Lonnie said outside of sore feet from traveling he’s feeling great. He mentioned that the surface travel weather is good over the glacier.
According to forecast, the weather will remain stable over next few days or so. He will be phoning in sometime around 7:30pm Alaska time tomorrow. We’ll post news as soon as we receive it.
He’s now enjoying some lasagna inside his snow cave and wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and to all a good night…
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