The climbing community is mourning the tragic loss of world-class alpinists Marc-André Leclerc and George “Ryan” Johnson, who are believed to have died on a climb outside Juneau, Alaska.
The pair were summiting a new route on the Mendenhall Towers on March 5 and were expected to return two days later. When they didn’t, Juneau Mountain Rescue and Alaska State Troopers deployed an extensive search and rescue effort.
Leclerc, 25, of British Columbia, is considered one of Canada’s most accomplished climbers. According to his Arc’teryx sponsor page, his feats included a number of first ascents in Patagonia and Canada, including on Cerro Torre and Slesse Mountain, respectively.
Johnson, 34, of Juneau, Alaska, was familiar with the Mendenhall Towers and climbs all over the world. He was one of this year’s recipients of The American Alpine Club Cutting Edge Grant to travel to the Alaska Range to Attempt the East Face of Mt. Hayes. He attempted the line in 2013, but weather and illness shut down the expedition.