Monday, 20 May, 2019

Missing mountain climbers 'presumed deceased,' Alaska authorities say

Missing mountain climbers 'presumed deceased,' Alaska authorities say Missing mountain climbers 'presumed deceased,' Alaska authorities say
Patty Aguilar | 15 March, 2018, 21:02

Rescuers had to wait until Tuesday for the weather to clear to fly to Mendenhall Towers, a mountain that rises almost 7,000 feet (2,134 meters) over the Juneau Ice Field, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) north of Juneau.

Marc-Andre Leclerc, a 24-year-old from Squamish, B.C., and 34-year-old Ryan Johnson of Juneau hadn't been heard from since March 5 when they posted a photo from the top of a previous unclimbed route on the Mendenhall Towers, about 20 kilometres north of Juneau.

Two climbing ropes matching the description of Leclerc and Johnson's gear were seen in a crevasse midway down the Fourth Tower.

Chilliwack city councillor Sam Waddington knew Leclerc well and posted online about his adventurous friend, writing that Leclerc will leave behind a generation of climbers in awe of what he could do in the mountains.

Peters said they don't plan on a recovery operation because of the avalanche danger and other safety hazards.

Leclerc's father Serge posted on his public Facebook account late Tuesday night, updating friends and family prior to the news coming out.

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The Troopers dispatch stated that missing person files have been entered for the two men. The news was broken by both Leclerc's father and the Alaska State Troopers who coordinated the rescue attempt.

Alaska State Troopers say it's too unsafe to recover the remains of a well-known British Columbia rock climber and his companion who died on a mountain during a recent trek.

The search of possible descent routes continued but was called off on Sunday due to bad weather. He had scaled Mendenhall Towers multiple times and received an American Alpine Club grant earlier this year to climb the 13,832-foot (4,216-meter) Mount Hayes in the Alaska Range, according to the Juneau Empire newspaper.

There's been a large outpouring of support for the search.

Leclerc was considered a gifted climber. The fund is also meant to help Johnson's 2-1/2-year-old son, Milo, "who will be missing his father and father's support intensely". Johnson has scaled the Towers - which rise almost 7,000 feet over the Juneau Ice Field - multiple times and received a $3,000 American Alpine Club grant earlier this year to scale 13,832-foot Mt. Hayes in the Alaska Range.

The two climbers communicated with family members on Monday after reaching the top of the towers. John Irvine, Manager of Global Community Marketing at Arc'teryx (an outdoor equipment company that sponsors Leclerc), referred to Leclerc as a "prodigy". "But again, it's in a very humble way and in a way that doesn't profile him as a hero, but in a way that profiles his passion for being in the mountains".

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