Bodies of 3 mountain climbers recovered after last week’s Banff avalanche

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway

American Jess Roskelley (centre) and Austrians David Lama (left) and Hansjorg Auer (right) are shown in these handout photos. The bodies have been recovered of the three renowned mountain climbers who were believed to have been caught in a large avalanche in Banff National Park last week. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-The North Face)

he bodies have been recovered of three renowned mountain climbers who were believed to have been caught in a large avalanche in Banff National Park last week.

Efforts to find the men — American Jess Roskelley and Austrians David Lama and Hansjorg Auer — had been hampered by poor weather and dangerous conditions.

But on Sunday afternoon, Parks Canada said in a statement that all three had been found dead.

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway and were reported overdue on Wednesday.

Parks Canada’s mountain safety team responded by helicopter and saw signs of multiple avalanches and debris containing climbing equipment, but a further search was put on hold until conditions improved.

“Parks Canada extends our sincere condolences to their families, friends and loved ones. We would also like to acknowledge the impact that this has had on the tight-knit, local and international climbing communities,” the agency said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

“Our thoughts are with families, friends and all those who have been affected by this tragic incident.”

A visitor safety specialist with the agency said last week that the slide was believed to be a Size 3 avalanche, which is big enough to bury a car or destroy a small building.

The men’s sponsor, outdoor apparel company The North Face, had said the three members of its Global Athlete Team were presumed dead.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said last week that Lama and Auer had “shaped the international climbing and alpinist scene in recent years with many achievements.”

READ MORE: Three well-known climbers presumed dead in Banff avalanche

READ MORE: Parents say Austrian climber missing in Banff National Park ‘lived his dream’

Lama, 28, was feted for achieving the first free ascent in 2012 of the Compressor Route of the Cerro Torre, one of the most striking peaks in the Andes. The feat was captured in the 2013 documentary “Cerro Torre — A Snowball’s Chance in Hell.”

The son of a Nepalese mountain guide and an Austrian nurse, Lama had also won numerous climbing competitions in his younger years before devoting himself full-time to mountaineering in 2011.

Auer, 35, became the first person to free solo climb Italy’s Marmolada peak via the south face in 2007.

Roskelley climbed Mount Everest in 2003 at age 20. At the time he was the youngest American to climb the world’s highest peak.

The east face of Howse Peak is remote and Parks Canada said its mixed rock and ice routes make it an exceptionally difficult climb.

A separate avalanche in the Rocky Mountains resulted in another death over the weekend. Parks Canada confirmed Sunday that a person who was airlifted to hospital in Calgary following an avalanche in Yoho National Park died.

The agency says a male who was among a party of three back-country skiers was involved in an avalanche Saturday afternoon on Des Poilus Glacier, which is on the Wapta Icefield, approximately 180 kilometres northwest of Calgary.

—With files from AP

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Golden’s Shape Up Fitness providing fun fitness during pandemic

The Facebook classes have reached people across the country and has spread internationally as well

Okanagan Regional Library to begin re-opening process on June 2

Curbside pick-up and book returns will be available starting on Tuesday, June 2

New Facebook group seeks to promote Golden’s local businesses

Created just a few days ago, the group has been met positively by local businesses

Golden Wine Ninjas brings positivity – and wine – to community

The group was started by Jolene Wood on May 13 and has already amassed over 500 members

Washout closes Highway 95 between Golden and Radium

Highway 95 has now re-opened after a washout earlier this morning closed… Continue reading

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Most Read