The missing rock climbers in Alaska have been declared dead, according to the father of one of them.
Two men, Ryan Johnson, 34, and Marc-André Leclerc, 24, went missing at Mendenhall Towers. They were due back on March 7.
Serge Leclerc said in a Facebook post this week that the two missing climbers have been declared dead.
“To all of our friends near and far who have been supporting us and praying for Marc André I wanted you all to hear it from me first hand before it’s in the news. Sadly we have lost two really great climber and I lost a son I am very proud of,” he said.
“Thank you for the support during this difficult time. My heart is so broken…Part of me is gone with him… Our family appreciates all of your prayers and we would like to ask for a time of privacy as we come to grip with these devastating developments… Marc-André was an amazing, loving man and he has touched many lives in so many ways. He will be remembered and loved forever. I know he is with our Lord and I will be with him again one day.”
The last communication from the climbers was on March 5, when Leclerc sent a text message to his father saying he’d reached the summit at the towers, reported Global News.
Marc-Andre’s mother, Michelle, said that her son had been climbing since age 10 and was sponsored by popular outdoor outfitter Arcteryx.
Weather conditions greatly hindered the efforts with a snowstorm dropping two to three feet of snow in the area, reported the Juneau Empire.
Tuesday morning marked the first day the weather started to clear, allowing for aerial teams to circle the tower and try to spot the missing climbers.
Jackie Ebert, the operations section chief for Juneau Mountain Rescue, said that there were no conclusive findings from the flights, but that rescue teams would keep looking for them.
“All signs could point to a successful rescue at this point, so we’re just going to keep going as long as we’re able to go with the support of the Troopers,” Ebert said. “We’re going to go through our boxes and through our search plans and basically exhaust every resource that we have, especially for a search like this and the level of their abilities, we know that if anybody can do it, these guys can.”
Two GoFundMe fundraisers have been set up, one for Leclerc and one for Johnson. The money is meant for search efforts as well as, in the event of the climbers’ deaths, for Leclerc’s partner Brette Harrington and Johnson’s son.
A family member of Johnson appeared to confirm the death declarations, saying “As of Tuesday, March 13th SAR efforts have determined that Ryan and Marc are no longer with us.”