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Lonnie Dupre

Grand Marais climber experiences small earthquake on Denali

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Lonnie Dupre remained camped in a snow trench at 17,200 feet on Alaska's Denali as he waited out high winds Sunday night. Dupre, of Grand Marais, is attempting to become the first solo climber to reach the summit of North America's highest peak in January.

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Dupre said in his audio update on his website Sunday morning that he felt a large tremor during the night and suspected it was a crevasse opening or possibly a small earthquake. He was right on the second hunch. The tremor was caused by an earthquake of 5.4 magnitude that occurred in the Denali area, according to Tom Suprenant, Dupre's expedition manager based in Talkeetna, Alaska.

Dupre called it a "scary experience."

A low-pressure system is moving toward Denali from the south and is expected to cause high winds for the next few days, Suprenant noted in a Web update Sunday evening.

In the update, Suprenant quoted the owner of Talkeetna Air Service, who monitors weather conditions closely, as saying, "The low to the south is moving north and will seriously affect the (weather) on the mountain over the next few days. Lonnie should know there could be over 100 mile per hour winds lashing the mountain starting tomorrow (Monday). He will most likely have to stay where he is for a while and may need to secure his position."

Dupre said in his audio update Sunday that he has plenty of food and fuel but is running a bit short of battery power for communication with his base camp.

Dupre estimated winds overnight from Saturday into Sunday at 50 to 70 mph.

Sunday marked the 17th day of his climb, which began Jan. 7 at 7,200 feet of elevation.

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