Carleton College to honor climber found dead in Chinaby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Carleton College in Northfield will hold a service for students, faculty and staff at 2:45 p.m. today in honor of 24-year-old Wade Bruce Johnson, of Arden Hills, whose body was uncovered Monday morning by a team of Chinese rescuers.
Rescuers struggling through high winds and blizzards recovered Johnson's body after an avalanche buried a team of three U.S. mountaineers in southwestern China last week, an official said.
Johnson had been missing since May 20.
The memorial will be held at the College's Skinner Memorial Chapel.
"We continue to by transformed by the powerful human spirit that has surrounded us," Johnson's mother Susan Johnson said in a statement. "Wade is someone to truly celebrate, and I continue to be amazed as to how vast the network is of the many people who knew and loved him."
The college will also host a full memorial service for Johnson on Friday, June 19 at 10:30 a.m., also at Skinner Memorial Chapel.
Today's service is being held only for current students, who are in the midst of final examinations, which run through Tuesday, June 9.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar offered her condolences to the Johnson family.
"Our hearts and prayers are with the Johnson family today," Klobuchar said. "Susan and Bruce raised a son who loved adventure and loved the mountains. He lived his life pursuing his dreams."
The rescue team in China had been scouring Mount Gongga in Sichuan province for the two missing U.S. mountain climbers after the body of Jonathan "Jonny" Copp of Boulder, Colorado, was found Saturday.
One of the Americans is still missing.
Three search teams are now on the mountain but are facing rough conditions, said Gao Min, a spokesman for the Sichuan Mountaineering Association.
"Our search team has encountered extremely challenging conditions today with the intense winds, potential for avalanches and heavy snowfall," Gao said.
Johnson was working for Boulder-based Sender Films, which makes climbing and outdoor adventure films.
The deaths of Copp, 35, and Johnson were the first on Mount Gongga since 2001, Gao said.
Micah Dash, 32, also of Boulder, remains missing. The three men were last heard from on May 20 at the base camp of Mount Edgar, a Mount Gongga peak.
Gongga, Tibetan for "highest snowcapped mountain," attracts both tourists and mountaineers. Its summit is 24,790 feet (7,556 meters) above sea level, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
Johnson, a 2007 graduate of Carleton who earned Phi Beta Kappa as a chemistry major, was a member of the Carleton Association of Nature and Outdoor Enthusiasts and a staff member of the rock-climbing wall during his time at Carleton.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)