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UPDATE: On 3/13/2018, weather cleared and search assets were able to be deployed. The chartered Coastal helicopter, with Juneau Mountain Rescue members on board, was able to reach the north face of the Mendenhall Towers. An intact anchor rope was seen at the top of an ice shoot on the 4th Tower. Two climbing ropes were also seen in a crevasse midway down the 4th Tower. The ropes match the description of the gear carried by Johnson and Leclerc. 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. Next of kin for Johnson and Leclerc have been notified. Missing person files have been entered into the missing persons clearing house for both Johnson and Leclerc.
The Alaska State Troopers would like to thank our search and rescue partners along with businesses and member of the community that donated food and supplies to support the volunteer search personnel.
UPDATE: On 03/09/2018, a brief weather window allowed the launch of a USCG helicopter with Juneau Mountain Rescue personnel on board. However, they were forced to turn back a short time later due to deteriorating conditions and were not able to reach the search area. On 03/10/2018 the Army National Guard Helicopter was not able to launch from Juneau due to poor weather conditions. On 03/11/2018 the National Guard Helicopter was able to launch from Juneau during a weather window and was able to do an aerial search of the South face of the Mendenhall Towers with Juneau Mountain Rescue personnel on board before having to return due to weather conditions. No additional clues were located.
On 3/12/2018, if a weather window presents itself, the Army National Guard helicopter will attempt to reach the North Side of the Mendenhall Towers.
On 3/7/18, at about 1006 hours, Juneau based Alaska State Troopers were notified that 34 year old George "Ryan" Johnson of Juneau and Marc-Andre Leclerc, 25 of British Columbia, had not returned from climbing the Mendenhall Towers, which are located in the Mendenhall Ice Field in Juneau. Both are reported to be experienced climbers and were dropped off near the towers on 3/4/18. The pair were last in communication with family/friends on 3/5/18 after climbing to the top of the Towers. They climbers were supposed to hike/ski back to Juneau via the West Mendenhall Glacier Trail with a return time of no later than Wednesday evening (3/7/18). There was a significant snow storm in the Juneau area on 3/7/18 and neither individual is reportedly equipped with an SAT phone or emergency beacon. A chartered Coastal Helicopter with Juneau Mountain Rescue personnel and the U.S. Coast Guard are assisting with the search. Some of the men's gear has been located. Search efforts are ongoing. The next of kin for both men have been appraised of the situation.
Posted on 3/8/2018 2:26:42 PM by DPS\mapeters