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Fri Apr 19, 2019, 01:39 PM

Three of the world's most elite mountain climbers presumed dead after avalanche in the Canadian Rock

Source: Washington Post

Morning Mix
Three of the world’s most elite mountain climbers presumed dead after avalanche in the Canadian Rockies

By Meagan Flynn, Morning Mix reporter
April 19 at 6:27 AM

Three of the world’s most venerated alpine climbers are believed to have perished in Canada’s Rocky Mountains after an avalanche cascaded down the mountain they were scaling amid a daring expedition, Canadian officials said Thursday.

The apparent loss has left the global climbing community devastated as the likelihood they are still alive has slowly diminished. The missing climbers, who were ascending Howse Peak in Banff National Park, have been identified as 36-year-old Jess Roskelley, from Spokane, Wash., the son of legendary mountaineer John Roskelley; and David Lama, 28, and Hansjörg Auer, 35, both of Austria. All three were part of the North Face Global Athlete Team, the outdoor apparel company said.

“Based on the assessment of the scene, all three members of the party are presumed to be deceased,” Parks Canada, the country’s national parks department, said in a statement Thursday. ... Authorities have not been able to launch a recovery mission, however, “due to additional avalanches and dangerous conditions at the scene.” ... John Roskelley told the Spokane Spokesman-Review that he does not believe his son and his fellow climbers could have survived. (1)

The trio of elite alpinists were climbing a harrowing, icy route on the east face of Canada’s Howse Peak, a route that Parks Canada described as “remote and an exceptionally difficult objective, with mixed rock and ice routes requiring advanced alpine mountaineering skills.” The first climbers to ascend this route in 1999 named it “M16″ because of its “difficulty and seriousness,” as well as the experience of feeling “under the gun,” of being pelted relentlessly with mounds of falling snow, one of the climbers wrote in the American Alpine Journal in 2000. (2)
....

Meagan Flynn is a reporter on The Washington Post's Morning Mix team. She was previously a reporter at the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Press. Follow https://twitter.com/Meagan_Flynn

(1) http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/apr/18/climbers-jess-roskelley-david-lama-hansjorg-auer-f/

(2) http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/12200023200/North-America-Canada-Northwest-and-Yukon-Territories-Canadian-Rockies-Howse-Peak-East-Face-M-16

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/04/19/three-worlds-most-elite-mountain-climbers-presumed-dead-after-avalanche-canadian-rockies/

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Reply Three of the world's most elite mountain climbers presumed dead after avalanche in the Canadian Rock (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Apr 19 OP
redwitch Apr 19 #1
samnsara Apr 19 #3
redwitch Apr 19 #4
shanny Apr 19 #6
redwitch Apr 19 #7
shanny Apr 19 #10
redwitch Apr 19 #11
shanny Apr 19 #13
djg21 Apr 19 #19
Hekate Apr 19 #8
TexasBushwhacker Apr 19 #9
Brother Buzz Apr 19 #14
applegrove Apr 19 #17
applegrove Apr 19 #15
Brother Buzz Apr 19 #18
applegrove Apr 19 #20
samnsara Apr 19 #2
mahatmakanejeeves Apr 19 #5
LisaM Apr 19 #12
applegrove Apr 19 #16
Drahthaardogs Apr 19 #21
SunSeeker Apr 20 #22
Devil Child Apr 20 #23

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 01:43 PM

1. Sad.

My friend lost her 17 year old grandson last month on a ski/climbing trek in the French Alps. I don’t think it was an avalanche though. It’s a really dangerous sport. After reading Jon Krakauer's book about that ill fated Everest expedition I became not a fan of the sport.

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Response to redwitch (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 01:47 PM

3. i listened to that book on tape probably 5 times when i was a commuter...

..its something I would never do but I find it fascinating. The danger is so high! I have a friend who went to base camp last October..she said it was beautiful but she had to cross over several swinging bridges with YAKS! nope!


im sorry for your friends loss..so terrible.

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Response to samnsara (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 01:54 PM

4. It was a very compelling read.

I do love the way he writes. I just thought when I read it that the dying climber talking on the phone to his pregnant wife back in Australia was a selfish bastard.

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Response to redwitch (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 02:10 PM

6. To be clear, you thought Rob Hall

was a selfish bastard? Because he called his wife?

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Response to shanny (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 02:20 PM

7. Because he left her to do this crazy dangerous thing.

And died doing it. I wept when I read it.And yeah, I put myself in her shoes and got pissed at him.

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Response to redwitch (Reply #7)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 02:35 PM

10. Jan was also supposed to be on that climb

and didn't go because of her pregnancy. Rob had previously summited Everest 5 times so "crazy, stupid" is a mischaracterization in his case.

The expedition was both their passion and their business.

And the phone call--which was initiated by Hall's support team--was a last ditch effort to motivate him to get up, to get moving, to get down to where he could be helped.

Unfortunately he was in the Dead Zone--an elevation where the body is actually dying from insufficient oxygen. In that zone it is all but impossible* to help someone else--to survive he had to come down on his own. But he had run out of oxygen, his brain was not functioning correctly, he wouldn't or couldn't get up and he died.

Jan continued climbing.

* I do know of one instance.

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Response to shanny (Reply #10)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 02:39 PM

11. He should have stayed home too.

I guess I just don’t get it.

Are you a climber? That kind of risk taking is just unimaginable to me but I know others get a high from it.

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Response to redwitch (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 03:00 PM

13. I am, although a poor one and I prefer rocks to mountains.

Hubby is(was) and so are many friends. One of them--Steve McKinney--is the only person I ever heard of who DID carry someone down from the dead zone...and that person was, ironically, John Roskelley.

Stevie was killed by a drunk driver.

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Response to shanny (Reply #13)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 05:58 PM

19. Free Solo

I just watched Dawn Wall and Free Solo. Dawn Wall was inspirational. Free Solo left me scratching my head. Climbing without ropes is just silly. It doesn’t change the aesthetic of climbing, but just leaves you dead if you’re human and make a mistake. Ice climbing is another sport I just don’t get. I lost a friend years ago in an ice climbing accident. He was a skilled mountaineer who summited Everest multiple times and worked as a professional ski patroller at a big CO resort. It really sucked. He left behind a wife and young infant. I’m all about Adrenalin sports, but there are some risks that needn’t be taken.

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Response to shanny (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 02:20 PM

8. No, because he left his pregnant wife to do some damnfool thing that left her a widow with an orphan

JMHO. YMMV.

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Response to shanny (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 02:22 PM

9. He was selfish for risking his life

with a pregnant wife back home.

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Response to redwitch (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 03:16 PM

14. I made the mistake of reading Into Thin Air in the dead of winter

I don't believe I truly warmed up until spring.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #14)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 04:50 PM

17. Harrowing book.

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Response to redwitch (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 04:25 PM

15. I had a job at a tea house in the Rockies. It was on hiking trails so no

climbing. The day I arrived in June they were flying out somebody's body by helicopter from the climbing mountains further in. Recovery is a slow process in the mountains.

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Response to applegrove (Reply #15)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 05:10 PM

18. Sometimes the recovery simply doesn't happen

My cousin disappeared on Mt Hood sixteen years ago, presumably swallowed by a snowfield above Timberline Lodge.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #18)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 06:23 PM

20. Oh so sorry. That must be tough.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 01:44 PM

2. ...and another famous skiier was killed in Canada yesterday :(

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 02:04 PM

5. Trio of world-renowned climbers missing and presumed dead in Banff avalanche

The story actually broke yesterday, so maybe the thread will get locked. The article ran in the Washington Post and Virginia papers today.

Trio of world-renowned climbers missing and presumed dead in Banff avalanche

Hansjörg Auer, David Lama and Jess Roskelley were attempting a route that has only been climbed once

Robson Fletcher · CBC News · Posted: Apr 18, 2019 11:57 AM MT | Last Updated: April 18

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 02:43 PM

12. I lost a friend to an avalanche in BC back in 2003.

He was a very skilled skier, took unnecessary chances (there were something like 17 BC avalanche deaths that year and the Canadian authorities were begging people not to do spring skiing in the back country, but people went out anyway). He had two little girls, aged 7 and 4.

I guess the adrenalin rush people get must make it seem worth it, but I have flashback memories to his horrible funeral - and his devastated wife, who was so grief stricken she literally had black veils over her face so she couldn't be seen - every time I hear a story like this. There's a sort of selfishness involved that I have trouble understanding. Was it worth it to ruin the life of his family? His wife couldn't even function; she had to go back home to her parents for a while.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #12)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 04:28 PM

16. I was back country skiing in the Rockies one time. We were on telemark skis

Last edited Fri Apr 19, 2019, 07:12 PM - Edit history (3)

and trekking into a lodge. Came across two dudes who knew my brother and who had gone in for the night but not to the lodge like us. They had a small l shovel on their packs. They built a snow cave and slept in that. Those mountain people are a breed apart. These people feel awe every adventure and are doing what they love. Sorry for your loss. I don't understand it either. I lived in a tea house one summer above Lake Louise, Alberta. There was an easy hiking trail up to the 'beehive lookout' next door (tea house is on lake agnes right beside the beehive). I never went to the big beehive. I was afraid of heights. I went into Banff town on my days off. See picture below. Everyone else i worked with went hiking on their days off. There is a purpose for people like me too I'm sure. But these mountaun climbers are the people who would have been explorers in another time. Anyone who took their family and left their village in the last 300,000 years to find something better is one of them. Astronaughts and test pilots too. We would be nowhere without their desire for challenge and fearlessness. But yes their families suffered for their fearlessness.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/qgX3HvUxR8vu71R77

https://hikebiketravel.com/the-lake-agnes-teahouse-little-beehive-hike-near-lake-louise/

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Response to LisaM (Reply #12)

Fri Apr 19, 2019, 09:51 PM

21. People get complacent. They believe they are immortal

Or so good it won't happen to them. They take more chances.

In the Alaska Bush they have a saying.

"There are old Bush pilots, and there are old bush pilots. There are NO old and bold bush pilots."

It happens on farms, with livestock, firearms, electricity, etc. It's human nature I suspect.

In fact, I see it every morning driving to work on the freeway. Women putting on makeup, people texting, eating, lighting cigarettes, blasting the radio and singing along.

I work in health and safety to an extent, so I am reminded daily.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #12)

Sat Apr 20, 2019, 12:11 AM

22. I just want comfort and pleasure, being with people I love.

I can't imagine risking my life for an adrenaline rush, even if an adrenaline rush is pleasurable (which it is not, to me anyway).

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2019, 02:03 AM

23. Rest in Peace Jess Roskelley, David Lama, and Hansjrg Auer.

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