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The Alpinist

This collection is about great Canadian alpinist and rock climber Marc-André Leclerc and his climbing partner Ryan Johnson whom we lost in Alaska.

On the 5th of March 2018, Marc-André Leclerc and Ryan Johnson completed a new route on the north face of the Main Tower of the Mendenhall Towers, Alaska. It was previously unclimbed and the pair had texted friends and partners of their topping out as well as posting views from the peak on Instagram.

Their descent route started down the East ridge and then required them to rappel down the fourth tower. After friends and family realized they hadn’t made contact by the evening of the 7th when they were expected, they contacted local search and rescue teams who started a search on the 8th. They were stopped from serious efforts using helicopters until the weather cleared on the 13th.

Two teams of helicopters located what looked like the orange climbing rope the pair had been using. It was buried underneath snow and ice in a gulley crevasse part of the way down the fourth tower. Apparently, an avalanche overtook them.

One helicopter also used a Recco system. This is a piece of gear is a harmonic radar system that can pick up Recco tags built into outdoor gear, as well as metal and electronics. According to the scans made, the climbing partner’s bodies were buried 15 feet under snow at the position of the rope.

The bodies are essentially unrecoverable as a team would have to climb into their position and dig into now hard and compacted snow which is most likely now ice. This digging would move snow and would be very likely to cause an avalanche at their position.

Their bodies may be recovered years in the future if there is significant thawing. Marc-André died on his birthday at 25 years old and Ryan was 34. Marc-André Leclerc and Ryan Johnson are now part of the mountain.

The collection is all about remembering them and it consists of 27 pieces of artwork.


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