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Missing Ice Climber Found Dead, Coast Guard Says

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UPDATE Feb. 13, 4:25 p.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday said that the body of the missing climber has been found.

He was identified as James Blake of Gaylord. Officials said he was with a friend when he fell.


The Coast Guard said it “was a complex operation executed in very challenging conditions.”

Feb. 8, 5:24 p.m.

The Coast Guard suspended the search for a missing man Wednesday, after he fell from a cliff Tuesday afternoon along the Lake Superior in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

The 31-year-old man was ice climbing with a friend when he fell.


The incident was reported at 5:15 p.m. and Sector Sault Ste. Marie joined the response to the reported incident along with National Park Service Rangers and the Alger County Rescue 21 team.

An ice rescue team from Station Marquette and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Traverse City were also called to join the search.

Difficult weather conditions prevented the ice rescue team from launching, but the helicopter searched into the evening, unable to locate the man. A second helicopter from Traverse City returned at first light to complete its search, and did not have any sightings of the man.

Even with highly specialized safety gear, recreation on or around the ice is dangerous in addition to cold water.

The Coast Guard urges anyone doing these activities to remember:

  • Take precautions, not chances. Survival time in cold water is greatly diminished.
  • Wear a life jacket and dress for the water temperatures, not the air temperatures. Cold water lowers body heat dramatically faster than cold air.
  • Whenever possible, carry a VHF-FM radio or personal locator beacon. Remember, freezing temperatures drain batteries quickly.
  • Be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return, and use the buddy system whenever possible. Every minute counts in a cold-water environment.