David Lama and Hansjörg Auer missing after huge avalanche in Canadian Rockies

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It’s being reported that Austrian climbers David Lama and Hansjörg Auer, and American Jess Roskelley are all missing after a huge avalanche in the Canadian Rockies.

Reports from various news outlets including Austria’s Tiroler Tageszeitung say that a helicopter rescue was launched yesterday, Wednesday 17th April, but that no bodies were found. Lama and Auer had recently flown out to Canada and, along with Roskelley, had repeated the route Andromeda Strain on the north east face of Mount Andromeda.

The trio were reported to be attempting an ascent of M16 (VI WI7+ A2) on Howse Peak, Icefields Parkway, at the time the avalanche hit, a route which was first climbed by Barry Blanchard, Scott Backes and Steve House in 1999. The face they were climbing is said to be over 1,000m, with big sections of ice and rock and large snow slopes above and below.

David Lama (28) from Innsruck, is considered one of the world’s best all-round climbers, having followed a successful competition climbing career with a string of notable climbs including the first free ascent of Compressor Route on Cerro Torre (2012) and last year’s first ascent (solo) of Nepal’s Lunag Ri (6895m) which he’d first attempted with Conrad Anker in 2015.

Hansjörg Auer (35) was born in Ötztal, Austria, and first came to international prominence with his sensational free solo of The Fish on Marmolada. In 2010, together with climbing partner, Much Mayr, he made the first ascent of Waiting for Godot in Patagonia’s Torres del Paine, while his 2013 first ascent of Kunyang Chhish East (7400m) in the Karakorum Mountains, via the 2700m high southwest face, was considered one of the milestones of modern alpinism.

Jess Roskelley (36) of Spokane, Washington state, is the son of legendary American mountaineer John Roskelley, and a talented alpinist in his own right. He became the youngest American to have summited Everest in 2003 at age 20 when he climbed the peak with his dad, and new routes he completed include Hypa Zypa Couloir on the Citadel in Alaska.

More to follow…

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