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Rescuers find body of US climber, continue search 2 other teammates
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08:40, June 08, 2009

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The head of China's national climbing team joined other professionals in the search for two missing US mountain climbers yesterday after the body of a famous mountaineer was found on Mount Edger Saturday morning.

Jonathan Copp, 35, a well-known climber, and his two teammates, Wade Johnson and Micah Dash, were scheduled to begin their climb on April 30 and return around May 28, according to their plan submitted to local authorities in Sichuan province as part of a safe climbing registration.

Experts feared the three might have encountered an avalanche while climbing Mount Edger, 6,400 meters above sea level in Luding county of Sichuan.

Friends reported them missing to the US consulate in Chengdu on June 4. A rescue operation by local government was started immediately, said Lin Li, secretary general of Sichuan Mountaineering Association.

"(Copp's) body was found on an ice sheet of the mountain at an elevation of 4,000 meters around 10 am Saturday. And his passport number reads he is the 35-year-old Jonathan," said Lin, adding they have taken photos of the dead to send to his relatives for procedural confirmation.

Copp, a multi-award winner and a climbing ambassador to a number of organizations and companies including ESPN, had climbed serious, first ascents in Argentina, Pakistan, Chile, Alaska, the Himalayas and the Yukon.

According to an entry published on his blog entitled "buried by multiple avalanches", he and other three climbers survived avalanches in Sept 2007 by desperately taking shelter in a crevasse for four days while climbing the 6,843 m Nanda Kot.

According to Lin, the association dispatched five local mountain climbing trainers to help in the rescue after it received the report of the missing climbers.

"The head of China's national climbing team, Wang Yongfeng, professional rescuers from the US and trainers from our association joined the rescue," Lin told China Daily yesterday.

"Rather than blindly sweeping the whole mountain, rescue work is focused on the route which the mountaineers submitted to authorities in the climbing plan," said Lin.

However, extreme weather has been against the search.

Lin said heavy fog cut visibility to as little as 30 meters while flying rocks also made rescue difficult.

Source: China Daily



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