JUNEAU, Alaska (NEWS 1130) – The family of missing British Columbia rock climber Marc-Andre Leclerc is reporting on social media that Leclerc and his climbing companion have died while attempting a new route on a mountain in Alaska.
Serge Leclerc posted the message on his public Facebook page late Tuesday night but offered no details.
He says two great climbers have been lost and he lost a son he is really proud of.
Twenty-four-year-old Marc-Andre Leclerc of Squamish and his 34-year-old climbing companion Ryan Johnson of Juneau hadn’t been heard from since March 5 when they posted a photo from the top of the Mendenhall Towers, about 20 kilometres north of Juneau.
Over the weekend, some of their belongings were recovered, but poor weather hampered search efforts when the men were reported overdue later that week but crews were able to search the north face of the mountain on Tuesday.
Search and rescue members report finding an “intact anchor rope” at the top of an ice shoot on the Mendenhall Towers.
“The ropes match the description of the gear carried by Johnson and Leclerc,” an update from March 13th on the Alaska Department of Public Safety’s page reads. “Due to the circumstances, Johnson and Leclerc are presumed deceased. Due to continuing significant avalanche danger and safety hazards, recovery efforts are not feasible at this time.”
Outside magazine has called Leclerc “one of the best young alpinists in the world,” and his biography on sponsor Arc’Teryx’s website says he completed several ascents in Canada and Patagonia. His biography described him as loving adventure, big mountains, and the challenges of winter climbing.