Photo: Dmitri von Klein/MONOVITA
Lonnie made it to 9,700ft today.
Eight feet of new snow on Denali had fallen in the last couple days and was burring Lonnie’s snow cave. He had to break down and build a new one about ten feet away at about 10pm last night.
Tired and spent from the night before, he awoke to a clear day on the mountain. Rejuvenated by the sight of the sun he made his way through the deep snow ending at 9,700ft where he ended the evening with lasagna and some much deserved rest.
Yesterday during the storm, a raven flew right by Lonnie. This raven he believes to be the same one he saw during last year’s climb at 12,000ft, on his solo climb in 2011 at 16,000ft on Denali and during his 3,200 mile navigation of Greenland. The raven made it’s way to Lonnie once again, renewing his strength and reminding him of his purpose. Once again Lonnie is ready to take on his challenge and not give up hope. Read below about the raven and its significance to Lonnie from his book Life on Ice: 25 Years of Arctic Exploration
“As often happens, my inspiration came in the form of nature. John and I were making camp one day when I heard a squawk from a nearby hill. I was scheduled for a radio call to Kelly, so I tramped up the hill to get better reception. The squawking grew louder. As I came over the crest, I saw a raven perched on a large rock. Ravens are revered and thought to possess mystical powers in many native cultures. In some, a raven is considered a sacred reincarnation of a great hunter or shaman. The raven appeared to be carrying something in its right claw as it made repeated short flights from one rock to another. As I approached, the raven made no effort to escape. Instead it flew closer, finally landing on the large rock I was leaning against. Now I could see that the bird’s right leg was bound to a thin, foot-long piece of driftwood by a wooly ball of musk-ox fur. It was obviously in pain. I approached slowly and spoke in low, soothing tones. Its neck feathers were all puffed out, black and shiny, as it stood awkwardly on its constricted leg and cawed at me. I kept talking, asking the raven’s permission to remove the musk ox wool and driftwood. I asked if, in return, the raven would give me the strength to find safe passage and complete my journey. The raven’s dark beady eyes met mine. It dipped its broad, wedged beak and picked up a pea-sized stone. I took it as an offering, a trade.
I picked up the raven and set it in my lap. With the scissors in my Swiss Army knife, I cut the wool and stick from its leg. The bird pecked at me as I worked. It took 20 minutes of careful effort to free the leg without injuring the bird. Then, with an upswing of my arms, I set the raven free. It made a tight circle and settled on a rock a few yards away. It stared at me, squawked again, took flight and disappeared over the hill. A feeling of renewal washed over me. Gone were my doubts and negative thoughts. My interaction with the raven linked me even more intimately to Greenland, to nature and to our purpose. I was ready to take up our challenge once again.”
Lonnie Dupre – Life on Ice: 25 Years of Arctic Exploration