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Search for climber ends

RESCUERS ended their search for an American climber yesterday on Mount Gongga in southwest China's Sichuan Province due to bad weather.

Eight rescuers, four from China and four from the United States, started to descend yesterday at midday, said Lin Li, general secretary of the Sichuan Mountaineering Association.

"Weather conditions are bad, with fog, rain, snow hampering the work," he said.

"Sometimes stones fell off the peak," he added. "Another avalanche is quite possible according to our experience."

Rescuers believed the missing climber, 32-year-old Micah Dash, was not likely to have survived.

Two bodies have been found. One of them, identified as 25-year-old Wade Johnson, was discovered in snow 4,000 meters above sea level on Monday, while the other, Jonathan Copp, 35, was found 300m from Johnson's body on Saturday. The Americans were part of a team of two climbers and two photographers, who had planned to ascend the summit of Mount Gongga (Mount Edgar), 6,400m above sea level, on May 1 and return on May 28.

One of the team members returned early. When the rest failed to return as scheduled, the search began on June 3.

Mount Gongga is one of the seven highest mountains open to the public in China. Only 24 people have reached the summit, and 22 have died on the mountain.


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