The international mountaineering and climbing scene fears for three of their best. According to media reports from Austria and Italy, the two Austrians David Lama and Hansjörg Auer as well as the American Jess Roskelley are said to have been caught by an avalanche while climbing in western Canada. Official information is not yet available.
The “Tiroler Tageszeitung” from Austria reported that the huge avalanche cone had already been searched yesterday, Wednesday, by rescue planes – without success. The “Kronenzeitung”, from Austria too, reported that the 35-year-old Auer had died in the accident, citing its own information. David Lama’s manager announced a statement by the family on the 28-year-old’s homepage, but without naming a time.
Reportedly the trio wanted to climb a difficult route on the 3,295-meter-high Howse Peak. At the beginning of the week, the three climbers had published posts on the social networks – after they had climbed together two classic routes in the Canadian Rocky Mountains: the “Andromeda Strain” on the 3,450 meter high Mount Andromeda and the “Nemesis” on the Stanley Headwall.
Solo projects successfully completed
Only in last fall, David Lama had set another climbing highlight when he had succeeded the first ascent of the 6,907-meter-high, technically difficult Lunag Ri in the Rolwaling Himal at the border between Nepal and Tibet. Hansjörg Auer had also successfully completed a solo project in 2018. He had mastered the West Face of the 7,157-meter-high Lupghar Sar West in the Karakoram for the first time.
The 36 year old Jess Roskelley is the son of the legendary US climber John Roskelley. Both had climbed Mount Everest together in 2003. Aged 20, Jess became the youngest American ever to climb the highest mountain on earth at that time. Later he opened numerous climbing routes in Alaska.
Update 7.20 pm: “They’re dead. They aren’t missing,” John Roskelley told the US newspaper “The Spokesman-Review”. According to his words he alerted the rescue teams yesterday after he had got no news from his son Jess, David Lama and Hansjörg Auer from Howse Peak.