Rescue personnel confirmed on Sunday that American climber Jess Roskelley and Austrian alpinists David Lama and Hansjörg Auer perished in an avalanche.
An avalanche caught the trio while they climbed Howse Peak in Alberta’s Banff National Park. Officials presumed the climbers dead after aerial reconnaissance of the slide but could not reach them until Sunday.
Lama, Auer, and Roskelley were professional climbers and part of The North Face’s Global Athlete Team.
“They are valued and loved members of The North Face family,” The North Face said in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to support their families, friends and the climbing community during this difficult time and will continue to keep you updated. We ask that you keep our athletes and their loved ones in your hearts and thoughts.”
Lama, Auer, and Roskelley were among the best climbers in the world.
Roskelley, 36, was the youngest American to reach the summit of Everest in 2003. He was just 20 years old at the time and completed the climb with his father, the famed alpinist John Roskelley.
Best known for his successful free climb of the Compressor Route up Cerro Torre, many peers consider Lama one of the best alpinists of his generation.
Many touted Lama’s ascent of Lunag Ri, Nepal’s tallest unclimbed peak, the top mountaineering achievement of 2018. In 2016, Lama and Auer attempted the southeast ridge of Annapurna III. Rumors swirled that the pair were planning to attempt it again this year.
GearJunkie founder Stephen Regenold recently spent a day ski mountaineering in Colorado with Lama. Our condolences to the athletes’ friends and families.