Lama, Auer, and Roskelley: Avalanche death on descent

Howse Peak

Hope had already been gone before, but now it is sad certainty: The two Austrians David Lama (28 years old) and Hansjörg Auer (35) as well as the US-American Jess Roskelley (36) died in an avalanche on Howse Peak. On Sunday, a rescue team found the bodies of the three top climbers at the foot of the 3,295 meter high mountain in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. “The avalanche conditions were hazardous to the rescue team, so a specially trained avalanche dog was used to locate the climbers,” says a statement by the Roskelley family.

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Mourning for extreme climbers Lama, Auer and Roskelley

David Lama, Jess Roskelley, Hansjörg Auer (from left to right)

Officially David Lama, Hansjörg Auer and Jess Roskelley are still missing. But there is no hope that the three climbers survived the avalanche on the 3,295-meter-high Howse Peak. The still high avalanche danger in the Canadian Rocky Mountains has not yet allowed a recovery. Parks Canada, the national park authority of the Canadian government, has closed the area.

The shock is deep in the mountaineering scene. “Three of the best alpinists in the world lost in one unfortunate accident”, writes US climber Alex Honnold. “The three missing mountaineers were no doubt a great asset of our community,” adds Pakistani top mountaineer Muhammad Ali “Sadpara”, who is currently en route on the eight-thousander Makalu in Nepal. “The gap they created can never be bridged.”

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Avalanche in Canada: Almost no hope for Lama, Auer and Roskelley anymore

The East Face of Howse Peak

The international mountaineering scene is shocked. The top climbers David Lama and Hansjörg Auer from Austria and Jess Roskelley from the USA most probably died in an avalanche accident on the 3,295-meter-high Howse Peak in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. “Based on the assessment of the scene, all three members of the party are presumed to be deceased,” Parks Canada, the national park authority of the Canadian government, announced. Equipment had been discovered in a huge avalanche cone during a reconnaissance flight, it said: “Further investigation is underway but recovery efforts are not currently possible due to additional avalanches and dangerous conditions at the scene.”

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Lama, Auer and Roskelley missed in Canada

David Lama

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.

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