Three professional climbers have been confirmed dead in the Canadian Rockies following a devastating avalanche.
David Lama and Hansjörg Auer from Austria, as well as Jess Roskelley from the US were caught while attempting to scale the eastern side of Howse Peak via a rarely traversed route.
National park staff initially flew over the area where the team had been climbing and saw evidence of “avalanches and debris containing climbing equipment”.
The three climbers were undertaking the ascent as part of a North Face expedition. In a statement issued April 19 the brand said: We have learned that three members of our Global Athlete Team David Lama, Jess Roskelley and Hansjörg Auer were presumed caught in an avalanche on April 16th in Alberta Canada. They are missing and we are waiting for additional information as the search mission continues. David, Jess, and Hansjörg are valued and loved members of The North Face family and we are doing everything we can to support the families, friends and community during this difficult time.”
“…the most cutting edge alpinists of the last years.”
Immediate recovery efforts had to be on hold due to dangerous conditions and additional avalanches occurring at the scene. More bad weather hampered efforts in the days that followed until scattered climbing equipment eventually led the search teams to the bodies of the three men.
Fellow mountaineer Kilian Jornet tweeted to say he was “so sad”, describing the three climbers as “the most cutting edge alpinists of the last years”.
David Lama (28) was known for his fast and daring ascents. In 2012, he and Peter Ortner completed the first free ascent of the South-East Ridge of Cerro Torre in Patagonia, reaching the summit within 24 hours.
Jess Roskelley (36) and Hansjörg Auer (35) both also had a long list of mountaineering feats between them. In 2003, a 20-year-old Roskelley became the youngest American to climb Mount Everest. Auer is
perhaps best known for making the first ascent of the south face on Nilgiri South in Nepal.
Watch Hansjörg Auer in Action