The following is a press release by Arc’teryx about the events surrounding Marc-Andre Leclerc and Ryan Johnson in Alaska.
Arc’teryx Equipment is deeply saddened to learn that the search in Juneau’s Mendenhall icefield for missing Arc’teryx athlete Marc-Andre Leclerc, and his climbing partner George (Ryan) Johnson, was officially called off today by the Alaska State Troopers.
“It was an emotional decision to make for all concerned,” said fellow athlete and Association of Canadian Mountain Guides member Paul McSorley, who helped with the search alongside Marc-Andre’s family and partner Brette Harrington.
“The Juneau Mountain Rescue team are volunteers and many are close friends with Ryan and knew Marc-Andre. We are all so grateful for their tireless dedication and determination to uncover what happened. I know this has been of great support to both families and friends looking for answers.”
The pair summited the Mendenhall Tower on Monday, March 5 and were expected back by nightfall on Wed., March 7. Both men were familiar with the route and prepared appropriately for the conditions. When they didn’t return, extensive search and rescue efforts were deployed, but sadly were called off today after search teams discovered two ropes in the run out zone of the fourth gully, matching the description of the gear carried by the climbers. “Significant avalanche dangers in the area are hindering a recovery at this time,” said Alaska State Troopers.
Leclerc, 25, is considered one of Canada’s most accomplished rock climbers and alpinists. The British Columbia-born climber’s legacy derives from his passion for the reverence of the mountains. Marc-Andre’s enthusiasm to try new things and gain inspiration from challenges motivated him. His keenness to share his love of the mountains with those around him when presenting one of his stories or films was palpable, and his passion contagious.
We will remember him for his kind and loving nature, his broad warm smile, and his infectious inspiration. He leaves a big hole in our team, our community, and our hearts. We will miss him dearly.
“Marc-Andre was one of the most humble, inspiring and talented athletes I have had the privilege of working with in my career. He downplayed his accomplishments, but he was a master of his craft at a young age. His drive and constant motivation to explore the mountains was infectious to everyone around him including myself,” said Justin Sweeny, Arc’teryx Sports Marketing Manager.
Our deepest sympathies go out to both Marc-Andre and Ryan’s families, including Marc-Andre’s partner and fellow climber Brette Harrington. We also offer our sincere gratitude to all of those who helped with the search including Juneau Mountain Rescue, the Alaska Army National Guard, Alaska State Troopers, and the US Coast Guard; as well as the climbing community of Juneau, for their support during this sad time.
You can find GoFundMe pages for Leclerc here and Johnson here. Below is an Instagram post by Alex Honnold about Leclerc with a photo of Leclerc soloing the Corkscrew Route on Cerro Torre, scroll right to see it.
Super sad to hear about the passing of young Canadian alpinist Marc-Andre Leclerc. He and his partner Ryan Johnson had been overdue since last week after climbing a route outside of Juneau Alaska. Marc was a huge inspiration to me personally despite being such a young alpinist – he embodied the perfect blend of talent, psyche and humility. A true climber’s climber who had a deep love of adventuring in the mountains. These pics are from when he passed @colinhaley1 and me on his approach up to Cerro Torre before a mind blowing solo of the Corkscrew the next day. In the second photo you can just make out the tiny black dot in the center of the frame – that’s Marc-Andre sending the gnar on a truly epic, Patagonia scale. I couldn’t believe that he felt comfortable in such enormous mountains. But it seemed like he was just out having a good time. My sincere condolences to family and loved ones. Marc was a gem.