David Lama, Hansjörg Auer and Jess Roskelley Missing After Avalanche

World-class Austrian mountaineers David Lama and Hansjörg Auer and leading US alpinist Jess Roskelley are missing and presumed dead following an avalanche on 16th April on Howse Peak in Banff National Park, Canada, according to a press release from Parks Canada referenced by multiple mainstream media outlets.

David Lama preparing for Lunag Ri.  © David Lama/Red Bull Content Pool
David Lama preparing for Lunag Ri.
© David Lama/Red Bull Content Pool

The statement from Parks Canada, widely reported on local and national news websites including The Canadian Broadcasting Coorporation, reads: 'Based on the assessment of the scene, all three members of the party are presumed to be deceased.'

'Further investigation is underway but recovery efforts are not currently possible due to additional avalanches and dangerous conditions at the scene,' the statement explains.

Speaking to the Spokane newspaper The Spokesman-Review, Roskelley's father, acclaimed US mountaineer John Roskelley, said that the team were climbing the route M16 when an avalanche occurred. Mr Roskelley alerted Parks Canada on Wednesday morning when the three climbers became overdue.

More information to follow

An all-round mountain athlete, Lama (28) retired from international climbing competitions to focus on mountaineering. In 2012, Lama made the first free ascent of the Compressor Route (South-East Ridge) of Cerro Torre in Patagonia with Peter Ortner in 24 hours. Last year, Lama made the first ascent of Lunag Ri's main summit (6907m) (UKC news), solo and after two unsuccessful attempts in the previous three years.

Hansjörg Auer (35) is known primarily for his bold free solos of long alpine rock multipitches, most notably of The Fish (7b+/ 850 m), a 37-pitch slab on the south face of the Marmolada in the Italian Dolomites, which he achieved in 2007. In 2016, Auer attempted the unclimbed southeast ridge of Annapurna III alongside Lama and Alex Blümel.

Jess Roskelley (36) became the youngest American to summit Mount Everest at age 20, before going on to make significant repeats and first ascents in North and South America, including a new route in Alaska's Kichatna Mountains on the Citadel, named Hypa Zypa Couloir, which he climbed alongside Ben Erdmann and Kristoffer Szilas in 2013. In 2017, Roskelley made the first ascent of the South Ridge of Alaska's Mt. Huntington.

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18 Apr

Oh shit, a great loss.

18 Apr

Terrible news. I hate this part of climbing.

Each of them was inspiring in his own way. I was particularly interested to see Lama's transformation from comp star to hardcore alpinist. The Lunag Ri video with Anker really gives you a glimpse into what drove him and how he handled adversity and partnerships with class. I was looking forward to seeing where he would take the sport.

18 Apr

RIP gents. Your loss is a reminder to make the most of our time on this stone.

We are all, it seems, just seeds cast into the wind, searching for the right meadow in which to take root, grow, and bloom before we too are folded back into the earth when our summer finally draws to a close. Life is what we make it, each day precious.

18 Apr


18 Apr

So much sad news recently, some times the price of this game we play poses some really difficult questions.

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