Sad news out of Canada today where it is being reported that a trio of world-class, professional climbers have gone missing and are presumed dead. The mountaineers who are believed to have been caught in an avalanche on Howse Peak in British Columbia include David Lama, Hansjorg Auer, Jess Roskelley, each of which were extremely talented and experienced alpinists.
Jess Roskelley –– son of famed mountaineer John Roskelley –– had traveled to Howse Peak with Lama and Auer to attempt a difficult route known as M16. Jess had told his father that he would call Tuesday evening to check in, but that phone call never came. That prompted John to contact Parks Canada to begin organizing a search. That operation took place earlier today with a helicopter sweeping over the mountain. According to a press release distributed by Parks Canada the SAR team “observed signs of multiple avalanches and debris containing climbing equipment.” At least one body was also reportedly spotted as well.
Further investigation of the site is pending, but is also delayed due to increased danger from further avalanches. Parks Canada says that the location of the accident is extremely remote and technical as well, requiring “advanced alpine mountaineering skills.” In other words, it was exactly the kind of place where these three men would want to climb, but also a very difficult area to mount a search and rescue operation.
All three of the men have distinguished mountaineering careers. Lama was extremely experienced in both rock climbing and high-altitude mountaineering, stunning the world last year by completing the first ascent of Lunag Ri in Nepal completely on his own. Auer has a similar background, completing first ascents and free solos across Europe for much of the past 15 years. Jess Roskelley was once the youngest American to summit Everest and has worked as an experienced guide and climber on Mt. Rainier and in Alaska.
My condolences go out to the friends and family of these three men. Today, we have truly lost some of the best young climbers in the world.
Thanks to Christopher Morris for sharing this news.