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.

Just Posted

Familiar advocate now executive director at Vernon’s Upper Room Mission

Nicole Makohoniuk has been named to the position, bringing with her a wealth of experience

Vernon’s Fulton Maroons prep for playoffs with romp over Mustangs

High School Rugby: Fulton beats Penticton rivals 48-7; rematch today (Tuesday), 4 p.m., Grahame Park

Vernon gears up for Bike to Work and School week

Bike to Work and School Week runs from Monday, May 27 – Sunday, June 2

Vernon tattoo fundraiser draws record support

Lineup around the block for start and beginning of Five Fathoms Tattoo event for Children’s Hospital

Electric cars gaining popularity in Vernon

Dealership sells five in one day, EV car show coming to town

Marriage proposal on the big screen at Enderby drive-in

Kelowna man gets engaged in front of hundreds to Vernon sweetheart

Car crashes into semi-truck in West Kelowna

Highway 97 heading northbound by Boucherie Rd. closed

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Reminder: recycle your plant pots

Plastic flowerpots and plant trays can all be recycled

South Okanagan cannabis dispensary operator that was raided is going to trial

Store operator is facing one charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking

Federal government funds millions to help B.C. police spot drugged driving

Many police departments have expressed wariness about using the only government-approved roadside test

Judge: Mississippi 6-week abortion ban ‘smacks of defiance’

The new law would prohibit most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected

On-duty Vancouver cop facing dangerous driving charges after cyclist hit

The woman was taken to hospital with minor injuries

Most Read