Published: Fri, April 19, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Avalanche in Banff National Park; 3 climbers presumed dead

Avalanche in Banff National Park; 3 climbers presumed dead

Three world-renowned climbers are missing and presumed to have died in an avalanche in the Rocky Mountains.

Rescuers found signs of several avalanches and debris consistent with climbing equipment, Parks Canada said, leading them to presume that the climbers were dead.

John Roskelley wrote today on his friend John Long's Facebook: "As I write this, I know from speaking with the Park Service and rescue personnel yesterday that Jess, David and Hansjorg are presumed dead".

There's a continued risk of avalanches and both rain and wind in the forecast are expected to make conditions worse.

Parks Canada also described the east face of Howse Peak as "remote and an exceptionally hard objective, with mixed rock and ice routes requiring advanced alpine mountaineering skills".

"Parks Canada extends its sincerest condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of the mountaineers".

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

With files from the Canadian Press.


Routen says there are plenty of risks for climbers in areas such as Howse Peak.

Auer, 35, who grew up near the Dolomites in Austria, guided sheep from the family farm into the mountains every summer as a boy, said his North Face profile.

It's hard to tell what the weather conditions were like when the avalanche struck the climbers on the mountain's east side, thought to be a level three slide, occurred, added Holeczi.

Himself the son of a famous mountaineer, he was the youngest American to reach the summit of the world's highest peak in 2003.

Parks Canada notes that a significant storm blew into the area late Wednesday.

Roskelley climbed Mount Everest in 2003 at age 20.

He added: "When you're climbing mountains, danger is not too far away ..."

John Roskelley also served as a county commissioner in Spokane, and Francovich said the family is well-known and well-loved in the area. Lama is well-known for climbing Cerro Torre in Patagonia, while Auer successfully completed a solo ascent of Lupghar Sar West in Pakistan.

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