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 with Chinese visas to get 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.
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June 5, 2009