It is not the news anyone was hoping for, but what many had begun to fear was coming.
The father of missing Squamish climber Marc-André Leclerc, 24, announced early Wednesday that his son and climbing partner Ryan Johnson are dead.
“To all of our friends near and far who have been supporting us and praying for Marc André, I wanted you all to hear it from me firsthand before it’s in the news,” reads the post on a GoFundMe page started to garner funds to help in the search.
“Sadly we have lost two really great climbers and I lost a son I am very proud of. Thank you for the support during this difficult time. My heart is so broken. Part of me is gone with him.”
It has been one week since the two men were reported missing after they failed to return from a climb in the Alaskan Mendenhall Ice Field.
The pair were dropped off by a chartered helicopter near the Mendenhall Towers on March 4, and were last in touch with friends after summiting the towers the following day.
They planned to go back to Juneau on skis, but didn’t return as expected last Wednesday night after a snowstorm hit the area.
Both men were experienced climbers. Johnson, 34, is from Juneau while Leclerc was born and raised in B.C. and most recently lived in Squamish.
“Marc-André was an amazing, loving man and he has touched many lives in so many ways. He will be remembered and loved forever. I know he is with our Lord and I will be with him again one day,” the GoFundMe post from Marc’s father continues.
At home, the Squamish climbing community has rallied to support Leclerc and his family.
The online fundraiser was launched on Sunday to help support the family with rescue efforts and raised close to $40,000 in just three days.
Any money raised for Leclerc will now go to his family and his partner Brette, according to organizers of the campaign.
A second GoFundMe campaign to support Johnson and his two-year-old son has raised more than $31,000 as of Wednesday morning.
The Chief will update this story as soon as we have more information.