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)

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

Clinton fire hall, date unknown. Photo credit: Submitted
Clinton Volunteer Fire Department seeks funding for gear, equipment

More equipment needed after successful recruitment drive.

Fireworks display provided a colourful and sizzling Halloween for area residents. (Ken Alexander photo)
Ken Alexander: Fireworks provides colourful Halloween

Seven young ladies brought great joy to the residents on Green Lake… Continue reading

The Cariboo Regional District has launched a broadband survey for residents, businesses and organizations. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
CRD launches broadband survey

Aim is to obtain information and feedback about existing internet and cellular services in CRD.

South Cariboo Search and Rescue's Sam Bregman (from left) accepts a commendation for his work on helping to rescue Barry Lannon from 100 Mile RCMP Sergeant Brad McKinnon along with fellow SAR members Val Severin and Blanky McBlankface. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Searchers commended for intensive search

Community pulls together to find Barry Lannon

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond speaks to a reporter in Vancouver on November 13, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism ‘widespread’

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond releases findings of independent investigation

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond speaks to a reporter in Vancouver on November 13, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism ‘widespread’

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond releases findings of independent investigation

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and Premier John Horgan announce $5 billion emergency fund for COVID-19 unemployment and other relief, B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
Carole James stays on to advise B.C. Premier John Horgan

Retired finance minister to earn a dollar a year

Most Read