Rescuers hope for better weather in Alaska search for B.C. climber

By The Canadian Press
March 13, 2018 - 10:55am

JUNEAU, Alaska — A highly trained rescue group based in southwest Alaska says its members are ready to join the search for a missing British Columbia man and his climbing companion if the weather is suitable today.

Members of Juneau Mountain Rescue flew in an Alaska Army National Guard helicopter on Monday during a brief break in the weather over the Mendenhall icefield, about 20 kilometres north of Juneau.

A post on the rescue group's website says crews only had a short time over the Mendenhall Towers before the weather closed in, and there was no sign of 24-year-old Marc-Andre Leclerc his 34-year-old climbing partner Ryan Johnson.

But rescuers say they are looking forward to a more promising forecast and they hope to get a better look at the north face of the main tower, which Leclerc and Johnson scaled March 5.

The pair posted a photo and several social media messages from the top, but haven't been heard from since, and foul weather has complicated search efforts since last week.

Leclerc, from Squamish, is considered a gifted climber and a post on the online version of Alpinist Magazine says over the last few years he has astounded climbing communities around the world with feats including the first solo ascents of two challenging peaks in South America.

The Canadian Press

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