Another American Climber's Body Found in China


June 8, 2009, Boulder, CO — A second body has been found on Mount Edgar (6818 meters/22,368 feet), China, and is believed to be Wade Johnson, 24, of Boulder, CO. “This is a very sad day. Wade had a big life in front of him. 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,” says Robb Shurr, spokesperson for the search effort. Wade, originally from Arden Hills, MN, was the photographer and film maker on the expedition. The body of Jonny Copp, 35, of Boulder, CO was positively identified yesterday. The search continues for the third climber, Micah Dash, 32, also from Boulder, CO. The first team of American climbers, Eric Decaria and Nick Martino, should arrive in base camp today to coordinate search efforts with the Chinese teams already in place. A second team of American climbers, Peter Takeda and Steven Su, have arrived in China and are also heading to basecamp. “We’d like to again thank the Chinese teams of searchers for their amazing efforts. They are working in very difficult conditions and doing a great job,” says Shurr.

Statement from Bruce and Susan Johnson, Parents of Wade Johnson

As parents, we are devastated by the loss of our son Wade. Our grief is profound as the reality of his loss sweeps over us. Yet he was a boundless joy for us as his parents. We are comforted by the fact that Wade lived and died doing the things that he loved. It has been transformative to experience the out pouring of support and love from literally all corners of the world. Every request for assistance from friends, colleagues, business associates, and government officials from both the U.S. and Chinese was granted. We are amazed by the number of people Wade touched in his too short life. But the reciprocal is true – many wonderful people touched and formed him into the summit-seeker that he was. Key among those who shaped Wade was his older sister, Kara, who influenced him in countless ways to become the well rounded man he was. Wade’s life may have been short, but it was a life that was lived to the fullest. It was filled with fun, adventure, excitement and love. Some say that the loss of a child is the worst thing that can happen to parents. But Wade’s death was not the worst thing that could happen. The worst thing would have been if he died because of anger or hurt. He died as all should live – with joy, purpose and meaning. Our hearts go out to the friends and families of Micah Dash and Jonny Copp. We want to specially thank Senator Amy Klobuchar and her staff, Terry Carlson, Robb Shurr and the wonderful people at Sender Films. As Wade’s parents, we were already prepared to pass Wade on to the people who were to be foremost in his future, his best friend Greg Larsen and his soul-mate and true love, Erin Addison. Their loss is the greatest.

For the media in general: As a family, we would prefer not to meet with or be interviewed by reporters at this time. We are sure that you can understand that this is an unusually challenging time for us given the complicated nature of the circumstances surrounding Wade’s death.

—Bruce and Susan Johnson

A blog with up-to-date information and a fund to help assist in search and rescue efforts have been set up at We ask that you are respectful of 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.


Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Jonny CoppJonny 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.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Micah DashMicah 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.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Wade Bruce JohnsonWade 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.

Comment on this story