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Duo to attempt first-ever winter ascent of Yukon’s Mount Lucania

They’re calling it a frigid first, and it’s hard to imagine a better name for an expedition that will see two Canadians attempt the first winter ascent of Mount Lucania, Canada’s third-highest peak at 5,226 metres.

Lonnie Dupre and Pascale Marceau plan to depart on their Lucania — A Frigid First expedition from Whitehorse this week, weather permitting, heading first to Yukon’s Burwash Landing airport. From there, they’ll be flown to icefields near Mount Lucania in the northwest corner of Kluane National Park and Reserve, and then will ski to the base of the peak before beginning their ascent.

Storms and poor weather on and around the mountain delayed the duo’s original departure date of Jan. 12. “It’s always a tough decision, but there was no sense in flying in only to be grounded in our tent for a few days,” said Marceau. “It would have been a poor way to start — depleting our supplies and wearing ourselves down. We believe we have a real chance of success with this and want to put all the chips on our side.”

Marceau said she and Dupre are looking forward to leaving all the organizational details behind and finally hitting the trail. “The only thing we are really worried about is having good visibility, which would mean not having to route-find in blowing snow,” she said. “We can deal with cold, altitude and deep snow, but we need visibility to move forward. Of course, we also think about things like whether we’re fit enough, if we’ve made good decisions about our gear and if the avalanche risk is going to be manageable, but the reality is we do feel ready and need to trust our decisions and experience.”

To learn more about Marceau and Dupre’s expedition, which is funded in part by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, read Marceau’s take on why they’re attempting to climb Mount Lucania and what awaits them there.

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