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

St. John Brebeuf student Adam Bouwman has advanced in the RBC Training Ground search after Rowing Canada expressed interest in him. (Submitted)
Abbotsford student attracts interest from Rowing Canada

St. John Brebeuf student Adam Bouwman advances in RBC Training Ground program

Rendering of proposed homeless shelter and supportive housing facility on Rowat Avenue and Trethewey Avenue in Chilliwack. (BC Housing)
Supportive housing and shelter proposed to replace the Portal in Chilliwack

Province looking to fast-track hybrid proposal for 50 supportive homes and 40 shelter spaces

Loop Energy’s first engineer, Vance Chou (right), working with a National Research Council colleague to test one of the first fuel-cell prototypes at the Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation in 2002. (Loop Energy photos)
Loop Energy: Chilliwack fuel-cell startup hits bumps on road to success

This is part two of a 3-part series on the rise of Loop Energy, now being traded publicly on the TSX

A massive fire at the Delair Court Apartments destroyed one of the buildings on the morning of Feb. 14. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Salvation Army thanks residents for ‘incredible generosity’ to victims of apartment fire

16 palettes of items donated to those who lost homes in Delair Court Apartments

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Left: Oakland County Jail. Right: Canuck Todd Bertuzzi on November 2, 2005. (CP/Chuck Stoody)
Former Vancouver Canuck Todd Bertuzzi arrested for suspected DUI: report

The Canadian winger had a complicated history during his time in the NHL

The south coast of B.C. as capture by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. (European Space Agency)
VIDEO: Images of B.C.’s south coast from space released by European Space Agency

The satellite images focus on a variety of the region’s landmarks

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Books affected include McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer

FILE – Oshawa Generals forward Anthony Cirelli, left, shoots and scores his team’s first goal against Kelowna Rockets goalie Jackson Whistle during second period action at the Memorial Cup final in Quebec City on Sunday, May 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
B.C. government approves plan in principle to allow WHL to resume in the province

League includes Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants, Victoria Royals

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

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Nelson society raises $400K to save regional park from logging project

The Nelson community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

Most Read