Worst Fears Realized as Bodies of Three Climbers Recovered from Banff National Park, AB

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avalanche, Banff, canada
Jess, David, and Hansjörg.

The bodies of three professional mountain climbers were found Sunday, days after they were presumed dead in an avalanche at Canada’s Banff National Park. Parks Canada has confirmed that the bodies of American Jess Roskelly (36), and Austrians David Lama (28), and Hansjorg Auer (35), were discovered Sunday. The three men were attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak when they were caught in an avalanche.

Efforts to find the men had been hampered by poor weather and dangerous conditions. After the climbers were reported missing, park officials searched for them via air and “observed signs of multiple avalanches and debris containing climbing equipment,” but a further search was put on hold until conditions improved. The agency extended condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of the climbers.

“We would also like to acknowledge the impact that this has had on the tight‐knit, local and international climbing communities. Our thoughts are with families, friends and all those who have been affected by this tragic incident,” reads the statement.

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.

Map of the area. Credit: Parks Canada

The east face of Howse Peak is remote and an exceptionally difficult climb, with mixed rock and ice routes requiring advanced alpine mountaineering skills, officials said.

This latest tragedy brings the total avalanche deaths in North America this season to 36, 11 of which have been in Canada.

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