Explorer Lonnie Dupre has raised awareness of the fragility of the world’s frozen places and drawn attention to the effects of global warming.
For Lonnie Dupre, global warming is not just a theory ─ it is an immediate threat to the Arctic region that he loves passionately. Over the past 25 years, the American has travelled more than 24,000 km through the high Arctic and polar region by means of dog team, ski and kayak, observing at close quarters the damaging impact of the melting ice cap. He has seen, for example, how more open water and less ice means polar bears have greater difficulty trapping seals, which normally constitute 90 per cent of their diet, during a smaller hunting window.
If only one person’s mind was turned around about global warming, that’s fine.
In May 2005, Dupre set out with fellow explorer Eric Larsen to attempt the first unsupported summer crossing of the Arctic Ocean. His initial Rolex-supported One World Expedition was aborted due to unseasonal climate conditions, but he and Larsen became the first team to reach the North Pole in summer the following year, and in doing so, alerted 70 million people worldwide to the dangers posed by climate change.
Dupre’s appetite for adventure and exploration knows no bounds. In 2009, he set out on another expedition to the North Pole as part of the Peary-Henson Centennial Expedition, and he became the first person to climb solo, in January 2015, North America’s highest mountain peak, Mt Denali (Mount McKinley) in the Alaska Range. Dupre has captured the experiences of his expeditions – each is undertaken in collaboration with scientific centres and universities – in his book Life on Ice: 25 Years of Arctic Exploration (2012), and in an adventure film, Cold Love (2014).
Distance of Dupre’s 2006 trek across the Arctic Ocean via the North Pole
Height of Mt Denali, North America’s highest mountain peak, which Dupre scaled solo in January 2015
Distance of Dupre’s 2006 trek across the Arctic Ocean to the North Pole