Colorado Climbers Late Home from China


Jonny Copp and Micah Dash hoped to climb a new route on E Gongga, also known as Mt. Edgar, a stupendous 6,618-meter peak. It is not known which face they planned to climb. Photo courtesy of Tamotsu Nakamura.

Three Boulder, Colorado climbers—Jonathan Copp (age 35), Micah Dash (age 30), and Wade Johnson (age 24)—are overdue, having missed their flight on June 3 from Chengdu, China.

The three traveled to Mount Edgar (6818 meters/22,368 feet) on the Minya Konka massif, Western Sichuan Province, China. They embarked from base camp on May 20, 2009. There hasn’t been any contact with the climbers since.

Copp and Dash are highly experienced alpinists and professional climbers who have many years experience tackling big unclimbed mountains around the world. Dash received the Lyman Spitzer Cutting Edge Award from the American Alpine Club for this expedition in 2008, but had to delay the climb until now due to political unrest in the region. Copp and Dash received a Mugs Stump Award for the expedition in early 2009. Johnson (a photographer with Sender Films) was accompanying Dash and Copp to base camp and did not intend to attempt the climb to the summit.

On June 4, 2009, a small party of experienced climbers, organized through the Sichuan Mountaineering Association, arrived in base camp and are preparing to continue up to the advanced base camp to gather information. Search efforts are being professionally coordinated by friends and colleagues in Boulder and more climbers from China and the US are being deployed to the area. Developing information will be shared as soon as it is available.

“We’re taking all the necessary steps to gather information about the climbers’ whereabouts and haven’t identified any complications beyond their lateness. Although we’re concerned, in alpine climbing it’s not unusual to for climbers to be delayed or out of contact for this long. We are still hopeful,” says Robb Shurr, spokesperson for the search effort.

A fund to help assist in rescue efforts has been set up at AdventureFilm.org. The blog at AdventureFilm.org is also making frequent and informative updates on the search.

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

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