Notable Deaths ›

Banff National Park Avalanche Victims (2019)

The North Face

Three professional climbers from The North Face team were killed Tuesday...

Three professional mountain climbers were killed in an avalanche in Banff National Park. David Lama, Jess Roskelley, and Hansjörg Auer were lost and presumed dead in the avalanche that took place on April 16, and their bodies were found on April 21. 

The climbers were members of the North Face's Global Athlete Team. They were attempting to scale the Canadian national park's Howse Peak, also known as M16. Their route had only been successfully completed once before.

Hansjörg Auer, 35, was an Austrian native who was best known for his free solo climbs of peaks including Marmolada in the Italian Alps. He was the first climber to successfully ascend the south face of Nepal's Nilgiri South and the southwest face of Kunyang Chhish East in Pakistan's Karakorum Mountains.

David Lama, 28, was a native of Austria whose father is a Nepalese mountain guide. He won championships in bouldering and lead climbing, becoming the youngest person ever to win an IFSC World Cup in both events. In a solo expedition, he was the first to climb Lunag Ri in the Himalayas. 

Jess Roskelley, 36, grew up in Spokane, Washington, and became a guide on Mount Rainier as a teen. In 2003, he climbed Mount Everest along with his father, becoming the youngest American to reach the summit, at age 20. He held this record until 2010. 

In a statement on their website, the North Face noted, "David, Jess, and Hansjörg are valued and loved members of The North Face family and we are doing everything we can to support their families, friends and community during this difficult time. We ask that you keep our athletes and their loved ones in your hearts and thoughts." 

Parks Canada also remembered the climbers in a statement: "Parks Canada extends our sincere condolences to their families, friends and loved ones. 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."

We invite you to share condolences for Lama, Roskelley, and Auer in our Guest Book.