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Alone at the Top

Alone at the Top

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Climbing Denali in the Dead of Winter

Author Lonnie Dupre, Author Pam Louwagie

Minnesota Historical Society Press (May 1, 2018)

The dramatic story of one man’s ascent of North America’s highest peak under the harshest conditions—and the climb that nearly killed him.


What goes through your mind when you’re dropped alone in the middle of the Alaska Range, the cold and darkness surrounding you without another human being for miles? Arctic explorer Lonnie Dupre had made a career out of working in teams to survive in extreme conditions and places most humans wouldn’t dare to tread. In 2010, looking for a new personal and professional challenge, Dupre decided he needed to summit Denali, the continent’s tallest peak—and he needed to do it alone and in the depths of the darkest, coldest conditions on the mountain.

Dupre was on his fourth attempt in five years in late December 2014 when a surprise storm caught him at 11,200 feet. Forced to live for almost five full days with little food and water, Dupre was in the most dangerous situation of his life.

Alone at the Top offers a mountaineer’s firsthand perspective during life-and-death decision making on the mountain. Dupre takes readers along with him as he struggles to keep his mind and body in shape while facing incredible hardships. He applies the lessons learned on the mountain to everyday life.

Author information

Lonnie Dupre has spent most of his adult life either traveling in the Arctic or planning his next trip there. Dupre’s significant achievements include the world’s first circumnavigation of Greenland and a summer expedition to the North Pole. During his travels over the Arctic’s disappearing ice, Dupre has participated in both scientific research and cultural exchanges, working with and gathering data for organizations such as the National Geographic Society, Greenpeace, the Explorers Club, the National Snow and Ice Data Center, and the U.S. Department of Atmospheric Sciences. His findings have been called “the Holy Grail of global warming data.” He lives on the shores of Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minnesota.
Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

Pam Louwagie is an award-winning reporter at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She has covered breaking news, trends, investigations, and in-depth features for more than 20 years, including at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Louwagie is an avid runner, backpacker, and hiker. She has trekked in remote places including under the jagged peaks of the Nepal Himalaya and among the giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands. She lives in Minneapolis.
Follow her on Twitter.

Reviews and news

Star Tribune Excerpt


FM107 Lori & Julia (10/30/18)

Advance Praise:

“Among the small subset of climbers who have survived Denali in winter, Lonnie Dupre is the exemplar of tenacity. It’s not just that he soloed North America’s highest and coldest alp in January at age fifty-three, but as described in this inspirational book, he came back repeatedly, four winters in a row, failure after failure, until he finally summited.”
Jon Waterman, author of In the Shadow of Denali and High Alaska

“Lonnie’s vivid account in Alone at the Top threw me back to my ascent of North America’s magnificent giant. . . . This powerful story brings the reader along on each labored step and racing thought. Determined and tenacious, yet willing to learn and adjust well-laid plans—Lonnie offers lessons for us all.”
Ann Bancroft, first woman to reach both the North and South Poles, and author of No Horizon Is So Far

Alone at the Top speaks to Lonnie Dupre’s persistence and lifelong commitment to expeditions and adventure. I was very relieved when Lonnie completed his epic climb of Denali.”
Will Steger, arctic explorer and author of North to the Pole

Alone at the Top is an amazing account by a man driven by determination and grit to make a solo ascent of Denali in winter. After three failed attempts, Lonnie Dupre finally reached his goal by standing on the summit of North America’s highest peak on January 11, 2015, illuminated by the feeble afternoon winter sun. One can learn many great lessons from Dupre about setting a goal, never giving up, and knowing that being uncomfortable is the price you pay for the sake of success.”
Ed Viesturs, author of No Shortcuts to the Top

  • This title is also available at your favorite e-book vendor.
  • 208 pages
  • 20 B&W Photos, 2 Maps
  • 5.5x8.5 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681340821

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