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Search Begins for Leclerc and Johnson Missing in Alaska (Update)

Marc-Andre Leclerc and Ryan Johnson are currently missing and overdue from climbing a route up the Mendenhall Towers in Alaska.

Update March 11 8 p.m. EST: The search on March 11 did not result in anything new. The team is forming a plan for March 12. Hopefully the weather and conditions hold. Both families are in Alaska along with a number of friends. The search and rescue teams are working hard, a big thanks to everyone up there from everyone here.

Update March 11 at 3 a.m. EST:

Update March 11 at 9:30 a.m. EST: Donate money here to help friends and family during this time.

Update March 11 at 9 a.m. EST: Juneau Mountain Rescue (JMR) continues to work with the Alaska State Troopers on the search for missing climbers Marc-Andre Leclerc and Ryan Johnson. Current weather conditions are severely hampering efforts to re-fly the area. On Thursday, March 8, the day the search began, four helicopter flights with search teams on board were deployed. Passes were made of the climbers’ planned Mendenhall Glacier exit route, along with their probable ascent and descent routes on the Mendenhall Towers. Both FLIR and RECCO were used to survey the area. The climber’s cache of gear that was not needed for the climb, which included skis, poles and a backpack, was located during those efforts, but deteriorating weather conditions limited further access. The United States Coast Guard and JMR attempted to access the area again Friday, March 9, but were turned around by foul weather. JMR crews spent Saturday, March 10 on weather hold at the Alaska Army National Guard aviation operations facility where the Guard flight crew has a helicopter prepared to fly when conditions allow. During the weather hold JMR has continued to work with friends and family of both climbers to establish a timeline of the climber’s activities. The National Weather Service has consistently provided weather status and forecast support for the search. All teams continue to look for the first available weather window to get back into the field.

Update March 10 at 8 a.m. EST: Bad weather and winter conditions have hampered search and rescue operations. Juneau Mountain Rescue is updating their Facebook with information here. Friends and family are travelling to Juneau to offer support. We’ll update if there is any news from Juneau today.

Expected back Wednesday, they were last heard from on Monday from the top of the Towers.

Leclerc posted the below image on Instagram from their climb, as there is cell service from the top of the mountains.

Rare live update here… that is Mt Fairweather in the distance.

A post shared by Marc-Andre Leclerc (@mdre92) on

“Troopers, Juneau Mountain Rescue and the U.S. Coast Guard personnel are searching for 34-year-old Juneau resident George ‘Ryan’ Johnson and Marc-Andre Leclerc of British Columbia,” notes a story in the Juneau Empire here.

“When Johnson and Leclerc weren’t back by 10:06 p.m. Wednesday, friends or family of the men contacted Troopers.”

Johnson had visited the Towers before and climbed a number of routes in the area.

“Johnson and Leclerc were supposed to hike and ski back to town via the West Mendenhall Glacier Trail, according to the dispatch. There was a snowstorm Wednesday, and neither man has a satellite phone or emergency beacon, according to the dispatch.

“Some of the men’s gear has been located, according to the dispatch. JMR and Coast Guard personnel are using a pair of Coast Guard MH-60 helicopters, and as of 3 p.m.

“Thursday, the search was ongoing. Coast Guard Lt. Brian Dykens said late Thursday that one helicopter was diverted from a patrol to assist, and a second helicopter was deployed from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka.”

Local Alaska climber Jacek Maselko said there are a number of objective hazards on the Towers. “We’re just hoping for the best,” Maselko said

This is a developing story.