Weather limits Monday search to under an hour

Troopers now using National Guard helicopter for search

Responders walk to an Army National Guard helicopter on Monday, March 12, 2018 to search for two missing climbers at the Mendenhall Towers. (Juneau Mountain Rescue | Courtesy photo)

Monday marked the fifth day of the Alaska State Troopers’ search for two missing climbers at the Mendenhall Towers, and weather conditions continue to interfere with the effort.

 

AST spokesperson Megan Peters said Monday that bad weather caused search efforts to be limited to just under an hour Monday.

“They were able to launch today for a very short amount of time,” Peters said in an email. “They got to the south face and briefly searched but weather kept them away from the north face.”

Juneau resident George “Ryan” Johnson, 34, and British Columbia climber Marc-André Leclerc, 25, were supposed to return from their climb at the Towers on Wednesday, March 7. Both men are experienced climbers, and Johnson has climbed the Towers multiple times.

Troopers are employing the help of Juneau Mountain Rescue volunteers and an Army National Guard helicopter for the search. Small breaks in the weather allowed them to search the south face of the Towers on both Sunday and Monday, according to a Troopers dispatch.

There was a large snowstorm March 7, and weather has continued to impede the search. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter went up March 9 for a brief time, and since then, Troopers have been using the National Guard helicopter for the search.

Lt. Brian Dykens from the Coast Guard pointed out Monday that the Coast Guard helicopter does not have skis on it, but the National Guard helicopter does. Those skis make it easier for the helicopter to land on snow or ice, Dykens said. He said the Coast Guard is currently not assisting in the search.

Some of the men’s gear was located early on in the search, according to an AST dispatch, but nothing has been found since then.

 


 

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

 


 

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