So long friends

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Last Friday (6/5) emails started flying and message boards buzzing with the news of three climbers lost on an expedition to a remote part of China after missing their flight home on the 3rd. Saturday I learned that Jonny Copp's body was found amongst avalanche debris, with a public announcement coming on Sunday. On Monday fellow photographer and videographer Wade Johnson's body was found. Up to that point I retained hope that Wade and the third climber, Micah Dash, were hunkered down further up the mountain, possibly injured and stranded but largely OK. The discovery of Wade stole that positive energy away from me. Today, Wednesday, there is still no sign of Micah. A team of four U.S. climbers is now on the mountain continuing the search for our missing friend, and word is that the weather is bad and the search will likely end soon. It's a sad day. A sad week, really. I didn't have what certainly would have been the great pleasure of meeting Jonny or Wade, but knew Micah, both from my few encounters with him in camp or at the cliffs and though close friends who knew him well. I am deeply saddened by his loss, and even more so that he may never come home from Mt. Edgar. As climbers we all take well calculated risks. But no amount of calculating will always protect from an indiscriminate Mother Nature, especially when traveling at the cutting edge of our sport, as Micah and Jonny did. I would love to believe that Micah, Jonny and Wade were at least taken while living an experience that all of us as climbers mostly dream of -- big, radical first ascents -- and doing what they loved. It doesn't help me rationalize the loss, however. I've enjoyed following Micah and Jonny's adventures and will miss that greatly. As many have said, and unfortunately I am afraid will continue to say, it is often the brightest stars which burn out the fastest. This is without question a truth here. They will each be missed for a very long time.

For more information on this tragic accident, or to donate to the search effort, please visit

Photo: Micah Dash climbing in the Utah Hills by Eric Horst, late March 2009, about a month before leaving for China.


Ned said...

Sorry to hear about this man.