June 5, 2009

Make Your Own Legends.

Update: The Spot Climbing Gym is hosting a fundraiser this next Tuesday 6/16 from 5-8pm. Check out the kajillions of generous donations, and if in Boulder, come honor Jonny Copp, Micah Dash and Wade Johnson. Free entrance with donation to the fund, silent auction and beer from Avery. elephantjournal.com is honored to donate a $400 ad to the silent auction.

Update: we got added to Search spokesman Robb Shurr’s PR update list, so will passalong any updates we get. Also, via Wend, a tribute to Jonny, Micah and Wade w/this great Sharp End video:

Micah Dash and Johnny Copp segment of “The Sharp End” from Cedar Wright on Vimeo.

Alex King just posted a new video on elephant for Jonny. Join the new Facebook tribute page with lots of links, photos, articles.

Update: A wonderful tribute letter to Jonny Copp via Jeremy Collins has been published on Adventure Film’s site.

Update: Chinese and American media are reporting that a second climber’s body has been found: 24-year-old Wade Johnson of Minnesota (click here for report via Robb Shurr). Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. For more info, photos and updates, go to Adventure Film’s site.

       “Mount Gongga is the highest mountain in Sichuan and one of the seven highest mountains open to the public in China. Only 24 people have successfully reached the summit and 22 have died on the mountain.” ~ China Daily          










Update: New beautiful photos (including Boulder Theater marquee) and remembrances (send yours) at Adventure Film.


[galleria thumb_w=120 thumb_h=90 thumbnail=”bottom” navigation=’none’ ]  

Alex King has dedicated a podcast in Jonny Copp‘s honor.

Via Twitter: RT @davekennedy SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND! RT @elephantjournal Love that Jonny Copp article http://bit.ly/Z2Me video http://bit.ly/hBgTb


It is with profound sadness, shock and a heavy heart that we confirm the death of our friend and colleague. We’ll be putting together a tribute forum tomorrow. For now, we can all do well to contemplate in solitude and/or in the company of friends and loved ones. For further updates on the other two missing climbers, as always, please visit Adventure Film and keep them in your prayers.

Below are various updates etc. from the last few days via Adventure Film and other sources, including China Daily, as well as links to articles, photo and video by Jonny that was published in elephant journal over the years.

Update via Adventure Film. Excerpt:
























  • American Climber’s Body Identified in China

    June 7, 2009, Boulder, CO—The body found in avalanche debris at 4000 meters on Mount Edgar (6818 meters/22,368 feet), China, has been positively identified as Jonathan “Jonny” Copp, age 35 of Boulder, CO.                    

    “Our deepest condolences and love go to all of Jonny’s family and friends—and that list of people is so long. He will be sorely missed, but we celebrate his inspiring and amazing life,” says Robb Shurr, spokesperson for the search effort.

    Jonny was one of three American climbers on the expedition. The search continues for the other two, Micah Dash (age 32), and Wade Johnson (age 24).

    The first team of American climbers, Eric Decaria and Nick Martino, have landed in China and should arrive in base camp Monday to coordinate search efforts with the Chinese team already in place.  A second team of American climbers, Peter Takeda and Steven Su, are en route to China. 

    “We are deeply grateful to the Chinese climbers and rescue workers who have been doing everything possible on the ground to carry out the search,” says Shurr.

    A blog with up-to-date information and a fund to help assist in search and rescue efforts have been set up at http://adventurefilm.org/

    Please do not contact friends and family at this time due to the sensitive nature of the situation.


    Jonny Copp

    Jonny Copp was born into a life of adventure to Phyllis and John Copp in Singapore in 1974. When Jonny was an infant, the family traveled the world together in a truck with a pop-up camper. After the family settled in Fullerton, CA, Jonny could often be found with friends exploring the desert around Joshua Tree National Park. It was there that he first discovered the joy of rock climbing and spending time with friends outdoors – climbing at first with an electrician’s harness and a nylon towrope from his dad’s garage. Over the years he sharpened his skills as a climber and became one of the best in the world. He was a sponsored climber for many well respected companies and in 2008, he was chosen as an ambassador for Patagonia (the company). He excelled in all types of climbing and was known worldwide for his cutting edge first ascents the steepest walls and mountains around the world, including an unheard of trifecta in Pakistan’s Trango Valley with Mike Pennings and a first ascent on Patagonia’s Poincenot with Dylan Taylor.  Jonny inspired people in so many ways beyond his climbing.  His award-winning photography, writing and film footage have been featured in magazines, books and movies — leaving the rest of us with rare impressions of life on alpine walls.  

    In 2005, Jonny founded the internationally acclaimed Adventure Film Festival, based in Boulder CO, where he and long time friend Mark Reiner created a global platform of exposure for adventure filmmakers, with shows in Boulder, across the U.S. and on three other continents. Jonny graduated in 1997 with a B.S. in Geography from the University of Colorado. 

    Jonny believed that the summit meant something, but that ascent style was everything. He’s been the recipient of many grants to fund explorations and pursued climbing in the same manner that he lived the rest of his life—with vigor and passion. He was a hero and a cornerstone in the climbing community, inspiring people daily.  Jonny was known for engaging with everyone he encountered—greeting all he knew with a ready smile and a hug.  He was the embodiment of the Golden Rule, a larger-than-life legend and will be deeply missed…


    …for much more information and all updates, go to Adventure Film’s site. They actually know what’s going on, not just rumors.



UPDATE:  Xinhua News Agency and Climbing on About now report that all three climbers are victims of avalanche. UNCONFIRMED.


[For updates from those who know what they’re talking about firsthand, go to Adventure Film. It’s our regrettable honor in this trying time to have sent nearly 1,000 readers to Adventure Film’s site, where you can learn how to turn your concern into proactive help for The Search]

The Search for well-loved climbers Jonny Copp, Micah Dash and Wade Johnson, in China, is now all over the news—as is the tragic news of the discovery of an as-yet not publicly identified body of one of our friends: CBS4. About. KJCT8. Google / AP. Star Tribune. Climbing.p

AP:Body of US climber found after China avalanche

BEIJING (AP) — The body of an American mountain climber has been found after an avalanche in an isolated part of southwestern China, the official Xinhua News Agency said Saturday.

Rescue workers were still searching for two other American members of the group who went missing on Mount Gongga in Sichuan province, Li Zhixin, an official with the Chinese Mountaineering Association, told Xinhua.

The report did not identify whose body had been found.

Wade Johnson, 24, of Arden Hills, Minnesota, and Micah Dash and Jonny Copp of Boulder, Colo., were last heard from May 20 at the base camp of Mount Edgar, a peak of Mount Gongga, according to an e-mail his parents sent to friends.

They were scheduled to fly Tuesday out of Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital, but missed the flight.

Gongga, Tibetan for “highest snowcapped mountain,” attracts both tourists and mountaineers. It is 24,790 feet (7,556 meters) above sea level, according to Xinhua.

Johnson was working for Boulder-based Sender Films, which makes climbing and outdoor adventure films.



“Climber’s Body Found in China”

June 6, 2009, Boulder, CO—A body has been found in avalanche debris at 4000 meters on Mount Edgar (6818 meters/22,368 feet) on the Minya Konka massif, Western Sichuan Province, China. It is believed to be one of the American climbers currently being searched for, though there is no positive identification at this time.                                           

A team of local Chinese climbers has initiated the search effort. More Chinese and American climbers are en route to the area.

The three American climbers are from Boulder, Colorado—Jonathan Copp (age 35), Micah Dash (age 32), and Wade Johnson (age 24)—and have not been heard from since May 20.

“We are working hard to get a positive i.d. on the climber’s body and are keeping the search effort underway,” says Robb Shurr, spokesperson for the search effort…for more go to Adventure Film, which will also let you know how to help.

Update via Peter Mortimer:

Dear friends, 

As you all know by now, Jonny Copp, Micah Dash and Wade Johnson are missing on Mt Edgar in China and we are working on a multi-pronged search and rescue operation.  The support for this operation has been unbelievable, and I can’t thank those of you enough who have contributed by offering connections, resources, emotional support and, most importantly, financial support.  

These three guys have given so much to the climbing community in so many ways: their dedication to pushing the barriers of the sport on rock and in alpine terrain; their extensive community outreach through slide presentations and film festivals; their work with clothing and gear companies in designing and promoting cutting-edge equipment; and their dedication to capturing the most inspiring photos and footage from the most extreme places on earth. 

Their lives have been dedicated to one thing:  a celebration of climbing.   And when you give as much to the climbing community as they have, I now see that the community gives back.  In spades. 

I wanted to share with you a few small examples of gestures performed in the last day alone:

•    At midnight last night, a notoriously impoverished local climber – and good friend of the team – showed up at search headquarters, threw his passport on the table and said that for the first time in his life he has two thousand dollars to his name, and he wants to spend it on a flight to Chengdu to be one of the first Americans on the ground to help out with the search.

•    This morning at 9 AM, a guiding client of Micah’s wired $25,000 to search headquarters to make sure the search did not slow down due to a financial bog-down.

•    Companies who compete with the sponsors of these athletes are paying for their own athletes to get to China as quickly as possible. 

•    People have offered up the 65,000 frequent flyer miles needed on United to get to China.

•    Senators have pressured the Chinese embassy to expedite visas for American search volunteers.

The list goes on. 

This is an expensive operation that will cost well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  But there is every reason to believe that these guys are alive and trapped only a few hours from base camp.  While there is hope, there is life.  We need to do all we can to get people on the ground quickly, to get a helicopter in the air, and to keep communication flowing. 

If these guys ever gave anything to your life, or ever inspired you in any way, now would be the time to give them something back.   

As climbers, we are one big family and it is amazing to see how we look out for each other. 

PLEASE GO TO    http://www.adventurefilm.org/blogs/adventure_blog.aspx

Kindest regards, 
Pete Mortimer
Boulder, CO
June 5, 2009



Click Adventure Film (or image above) for updates. We’ll also share any updates or calls-to-action here.

Jonny Copp has been a longtime friend of elephant and myself. I’ve interviewed him a few times, and featured his photos and writing. He’s a worldclass adventurer, and a world-class good guy. He’s also a worldclass community builder, through his Adventure Film Festival that ele has been honored to sponsor now and again. Click here for video.

>>Updates are on the Adventure Film site.

Jonny is a great ally and huge glue in our community, this all couldn’t happen to a better, more important man. Keep your fingers crossed–he’s like Superman. Though was always scary hearing his stories, I always asked him about the danger, felt like his mom sorta.

Here’s the link at The Daily Camera. Excerpt:

 — Two Boulder filmmakers and a third person joining them on an expedition to China’s rugged interior are three days past their scheduled return, and the parents of one are trying to organize a search…

UPDATE via Robb Shurr:


Media Contact:
Robb Shurr, Kickstand Communications
[email protected]

Colorado Climbers Late Home from China

June 5, 2009, Boulder, CO—Three Boulder, Colorado climbers—Jonathan
Copp (age 35), Micah Dash (age 30), and Wade Johnson (age 24)—are
overdue, having missed their flight on June 3 from Chengdu, China.

The three traveled to Mount Edgar (6818 meters/22,368 feet) on the
Minya Konka massif, Western Sichuan Province, China. They embarked
from base camp on May 20, 2009. There hasn’t been any contact with the
climbers since.

Copp and Dash are highly experienced alpinists and professional
climbers who have many years experience tackling big unclimbed
mountains around the world. They received the Mugs Stump Award grant
for this expedition from the American Alpine Club in 2008 but had to
delay the climb until now, due to political unrest in the region.
Johnson (a photographer with Sender Films) was accompanying Dash and
Copp to base camp and did not intend to attempt the climb to the

On June 4, 2009, a small party of experienced climbers, organized
through the Sichuan Mountaineering Association, arrived in “base camp”
and are preparing to continue up to the “advanced base camp” to gather
information. Search efforts are being professionally coordinated by
friends and colleagues in Boulder and more climbers from China and the
US are being deployed to the area. Developing information will be
shared as soon as it is available.

“We’re taking all the necessary steps to gather information about the
climbers’ whereabouts and haven’t identified any complications beyond
their lateness. Although we’re concerned, in alpine climbing it’s not
unusual to for climbers to be delayed or out of contact for this long.
We are still hopeful,” says Robb Shurr, spokesperson for the search

A fund to help assist in rescue efforts has been set up at

No other information is currently available. As soon as more
information becomes available it will be shared. Please do not contact
friends and family due to the sensitive nature of the situation.


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