3 North Face Climbers Confirmed Dead After Canadian National Park Avalanche

David Lama, Jess Roskelley, and Hansjörg Auer, were caught in a size 3 avalanche

Canada's Banff National Park. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
Canada's Banff National Park. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
Getty Images

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Three professional mountain climbers who went missing following an avalanche in Canada’s Banff National Park have been confirmed dead.

The climbers, David Lama, Jess Roskelley, and Hansjörg Auer, were caught in a size-3 avalanche last week while attempting to climb the east face of the park’s 10,810-foot Howse Peak, and their bodies were discovered by search teams on Easter Sunday.

Parks Canada, which runs Banff, confirmed the deaths in a statement. “Parks Canada extends our sincere condolences to their families, friends and loved ones,” the organization said. “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.”

According to the Avalanche Center, a size-3 avalanche can “bury a car, destroy a small building, or break trees.”

All three men — one American and two Austrians — were members of North Face’s Global Athlete Team. The company announced they were missing last week in a tweet:

The North Face has yet to issue a statement about the confirmed deaths as of this writing.

Roskelley, 36, climbed Mount Everest in 2003 at age 20. He was the youngest American to climb the world’s highest peak at that time.

His father John joined him on that successful Everest expedition. “It’s just one of those routes where you have to have the right conditions or it turns into a nightmare. This is one of those trips where it turned into a nightmare,” the elder Roskelley told The Spokesman-Review last week. “When you’re climbing mountains, danger is not too far away … It’s terrible for my wife and I. But it’s even worse for his wife.”

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