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‘We’re hopeful’: Family and friends of missing B.C. climber in Alaska

Marc-Andre Leclerc and his  climbing partner have been missing since Monday.
Marc-Andre Leclerc and his climbing partner have been missing since Monday. Instagram/@mdre92

The family of an experienced B.C. climber is hopeful the 25-year-old is safe despite not having heard from him since March 5.

Marc-Andre Leclerc and his climbing partner Ryan Johnson went on a climbing trip to Alaska. The pair were dropped off near the Mendenhall Towers and made it to the summit the following day.

Leclerc’s dad told a family friend he had received a text from his son on Monday letting him know they had reached the summit, but that was the last time his family heard from him.

His mother, Michelle Kuipers, says the family has gone down to Juneau, Alaska, and are working with the state troopers to help with the search efforts.

“They got a weather break this morning, which was unexpected, and they were able to deploy a helicopter out to the search area,” Leclerc’s mom told Global News on Sunday.

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She said Leclerc is a professional mountain climber who has travelled all over the world climbing.

Klassen says Leclerc has been climbing for years.
Klassen says Leclerc has been climbing for years. Instagram/@mdre92

“I think probably Marc-Andre is one of the most experienced people on the planet to go climbing mountains in any area,” said Leclerc’s mom. “He’s a careful and thoughtful professional. He does not take unnecessary risks.”

She said this was Leclerc’s first time in Alaska, but that his climbing partner Johnson was a local who was very experienced climbing in that area.

“We’re very hopeful,” said Treya Klassen, who’s a friend of the family. “They’re both really, really experienced climbers. They’ve been climbing their whole lives.”

Leclerc photographed during one of his climbs.
Leclerc photographed during one of his climbs. Instagram/ Tom Livingstone via @mdre92

Klassen created a GoFundMe page to help the family with any expenses. She said Leclerc’s dad was having issues getting to Alaska but that they were able to eventually cross the border.

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“Whatever they need to deal with this, it’s going to be a costly endeavour for the family,” she said.

Search crews found the pair’s gear but no sign of the missing men. Klassen said weather has also been a factor in the search.

“There’s been a break in the weather right now so there are helicopters going up, there are a bunch of climbers there and a bunch of very experienced alpinists so hopefully they’ll find them.”

She said Leclerc’s father called her on Friday and asked her to pray for his son.