American Climber's Body Identified in China

June 7, 2009, Boulder, CO — The body found in avalanche debris at 4000 meters on Mount Edgar (6818 meters/22,368 feet), China, has been positively identified as Jonathan “Jonny” Copp, age 35 of Boulder, CO.

“Our deepest condolences and love go to all of Jonny’s family and friends—and that list of people is so long. He will be sorely missed, but we celebrate his inspiring and amazing life,” says Robb Shurr, spokesperson for the search effort.

Jonny was one of three American climbers on the expedition. The search continues for the other two, Micah Dash (age 32), and Wade Johnson (age 24).

The first team of American climbers, Eric Decaria and Nick Martino, have landed in China and should arrive in base camp Monday to coordinate search efforts with the Chinese team already in place. A second team of American climbers, Peter Takeda and Steven Su, are en route to China.

“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,” says Shurr.

A blog with up-to-date information and a fund to help assist in search and rescue efforts have been set up at


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Jonny Copp
Jonny Copp was born into a life of adventure to Phyllis and John Copp in Singapore in 1974. When Jonny was an infant, the family traveled the world together in a truck with a pop-up camper. After the family settled in Fullerton, CA, Jonny could often be found with friends exploring the desert around Joshua Tree National Park. It was there that he first discovered the joy of rock climbing and spending time with friends outdoors – climbing at first with an electrician’s harness and a nylon towrope from his dad’s garage. Over the years he sharpened his skills as a climber and became one of the best in the world. He was a sponsored climber for many well respected companies and in 2008, he was chosen as an ambassador for Patagonia (the company). He excelled in all types of climbing and was known worldwide for his cutting edge first ascents the steepest walls and mountains around the world, including an unheard of trifecta in Pakistan’s Trango Valley with Mike Pennings and a first ascent on Patagonia’s Poincenot with Dylan Taylor. Jonny inspired people in so many ways beyond his climbing. His award-winning photography, writing and film footage have been featured in magazines, books and movies -- leaving the rest of us with rare impressions of life on alpine walls.

In 2005, Jonny founded the internationally acclaimed Adventure Film Festival, based in Boulder CO, where he and long time friend Mark Reiner created a global platform of exposure for adventure filmmakers, with shows in Boulder, across the U.S. and on three other continents. Jonny graduated in 1997 with a B.S. in Geography from the University of Colorado.

Jonny believed that the summit meant something, but that ascent style was everything. He’s been the recipient of many grants to fund explorations and pursued climbing in the same manner that he lived the rest of his life—with vigor and passion. He was a hero and a cornerstone in the climbing community, inspiring people daily. Jonny was known for engaging with everyone he encountered—greeting all he knew with a ready smile and a hug. He was the embodiment of the Golden Rule, a larger-than-life legend and will be deeply missed.

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Micah Dash
Micah Dash, 32, was born to Anita and Eric Dash of Lancaster, California. His passion for the outdoors began with his involvement as a competitive ski racer and he cut his teeth in the mountains backpacking with his father in the Sierras of California. After high school Micah moved to Leadville, Colorado where he started technical climbing and courses in guiding skills at Colorado Mountain College’s Outdoor Leadership Program. This led to a job instructing for Pacific Crest Outward Bound of the Sierras and then to a position with the prestigious Yosemite Search and Rescue team, during which time he developed world class climbing skills. He took these skills abroad to the great mountain ranges of the world, where he completed major expeditions, all while finishing a B.A. in History at University of Colorado at Boulder, CO. As a professional athlete for Mountain Hardwear, his cutting edge ascents around the world include: Pakistan’s Cat’s Ear Spire with Eric Decaria; the first ascent of the Shaffat Fortress in Kashmir, India with Jonny Copp; a free ascent of El Cap with Matt Segal, and the first free ascent of Nalumasortoq in Greenland with Thad Friday.

Micah’s uncompromising passion for his family and friends is matched only by his love for climbing. His indomitable spirit for adventure and amazing perseverance have molded his careers as a professional climber and inspirational speaker. Micah is born showman -- equally comfortable holding court in front of thousands at mountain festivals as he is with a few friends around a campfire. His renowned self-deprecating sense of humor and constant comic relief are well known, even in the face of life threatening situations. He has referred to himself as the Woody Allen of alpine climbing, and once said of an uncomfortable bivouac on a wall, “I’ve worn yarmakas bigger than this bivy ledge.” Micah would gladly give the shirt off his back to his friends and family, as well as eat all the carrots in their fridge without asking. He is deeply loved and his powerful personality is an inspiration to so many around the world.

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Wade Bruce Johnson
Wade Johnson, 24, of Arden Hills, Minnesota, son of Susan and Bruce Johnson attended St. Paul Academy where he nurtured his intellect and sense of adventure. He participated in the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and the American Alpine Institute during his years at Carleton College. He spent a semester abroad in Australia, and six weeks exploring the South Island of New Zealand. His enthusiasm for hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering, and snowboarding is unbounded. At Carleton, he honed his skills and produced his first rock climbing video, earning a minor in film studies. While waiting to start graduate school, Wade applied for a filmmaking internship with Sender Films, in Boulder, CO. In February 2008, he was made Associate Producer and became an invaluable part of the crew, filming and editing day and night. With Sender Films, Wade accompanied Jonny Copp on filming expeditions to the Black Canyon of Colorado, the peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park, Mt. Alberta in the Canadian Rockies, and, most recently, to Western China.

Beyond his passion for the mountains, Wade flourishes in many realms. He is an accomplished classical and jazz pianist and talented ceramic artist. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Carleton in 2007 and is scheduled to begin a Ph.D. chemistry program at the University of Washington this fall. In November, he helped supervise a film project about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Wade was very moved by the plight of people living in New Orleans, and hopes to use his knowledge of film and chemistry to make a positive impact. Most importantly, Wade has a great sense of humor, a profound compassion for others, cares deeply for his friends, and has made a lasting impression on all of those fortunate enough to know him. His two best friends are Erin Addison, the woman he cherishes, and Greg Larsen, his life-long friend.

Please do not contact friends and family at this time due to the sensitive nature of the situation. No other information is currently available. As soon as more information becomes available it will be shared.

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