3 Prominent Climber’s Are Missing & Presumed Dead After Avalanche In Banff National Park

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Jess, David, and Hansjörg.

Three prominent climber’s are missing and presumed dead after an avalanche in Banff National Park, Alberta.

David Lama, Hansjörg Auer, and Jess Roskelley were attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak. 

Jess Roskelley told his father that he would check in Tuesday night, but he never called.

“As I write this, I know from speaking with the Park Service and rescue personnel yesterday that Jess, David and Hansjorg are presumed dead. It is with a heavy heart I have to say this, but they were hit by a massive avalanche off Mt. Howse sometime on Tuesday and there was visible evidence they perished. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts.”

– John Roskelley father of Jess Roskelley

On Wednesday morning, John Roskelley contacted Parks Canada about the situation.

Local authorities dispatched a helicopter and observed signs of multiple avalanches, climbing gear, and one partially buried body.

Howse Peak. Image: Alex Privalov

At this time, a rescue mission isn’t possible due to weather and dangerous avalanche conditions.

On top of that, more strong winds and precipitation are in the forecast, which will prolong the dangerous avalanche conditions and delay the rescue efforts even more.

“Search and recovery efforts are not currently possible due to weather and dangerous avalanche conditions.”

– Explained Parks Canada in a statement

As a result of the current situation, all 3 climbers are presumed dead.

One the climbers, Jess Roskelley, was the youngest America to summit Mt. Everest. He was 20 at the time.

Our hearts are with the friends and family of David, Hansjörg, and Jess.

Map of the area. Image: Banff National Park

Press Release:

By: Banff National Park

On Wednesday, April 17th three mountaineers attempting a route on the east face of Howse Peak on the Icefields Parkway were reported overdue. Based on the assessment of the scene, all three members of the party are presumed to be deceased.

The three men, one American and two Europeans, were professional mountain athletes and highly experienced. We extend our sincerest condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of the mountaineers.

Search and recovery efforts are not currently possible due to weather and dangerous avalanche conditions at the scene.

An area closure is in place for the Howse Peak area including Waterfowl Lakes and associated trails. We encourage you to give first responders the space to work.

Parks Canada does not require assistance with search and recovery efforts.

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