Monday, June 8, 2009

search continues

Micah Dash in 2007. Photo by Jonny Copp/Mountain Hardware

The body of a second American climber has been recovered in avalanche debris on a remote peak in southwest China, while the search continued today for Lancaster native Micah Dash, according to a spokesman in Colorado.

Chinese rescuers earlier today found the body of Wade Johnson, 24, a Minnesota native based in Boulder, who was photographer and film maker for the expedition.

"This is a very sad day. Wade had a big life in front of him," said Robb Shurr, a spokesman for the search effort. "His family and friends have been very strong during this difficult process of waiting and hoping. Our deepest sympathies go out to the Johnson family and all of the many people that had the opportunity to know and love Wade."

The body of Jonathan "Jonny" Copp, 35, was found Saturday and positively identified Sunday. Copp grew up in Fullerton and learned to climb at Tahquitz Rock above Idyllwild and in Joshua Tree National Park.

The search for Dash, 32, continued today on Mount Edgar, a subsidiary peak of Gongga in Sichuan Province. Dash is a 1995 graduate of Quartz Hill High School, his father told the Antelope Valley Press.

Copp, Dash and Johnson were all based in Boulder, where Shurr and others were soliciting donations and coordinating search efforts with Chinese authorities.

"We are deeply grateful to the Chinese climbers and rescue workers who have been doing everything possible on the ground to carry out the search," Shurr said.

Other American climbers have flown to China to join the search.

Copp, Dash and Johnson were last heard from May 20. They had been scheduled to fly out of Chengdu, Sichuan's capital, but did not show up for the flight.

Johnson was a photographer, film editor and producer with Sender Films, a maker of climbing and adventure films based in Boulder.

Sender Films states on its Web site that "Copp and Dash are highly experienced alpinists and professional climbers" who went to Mount Edgar after receiving a Mugs Stump Award grant for their current expedition from the American Alpine Club.

Copp and Dash had teamed on prior expeditions, including the first ascent of the Shafat Fortress in Kashmir, India. Copp's photo of Dash is on the summit ridge in August 2007.

Tributes to Copp, Dash and Johnson have been posted here.


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