Three professional climbers presumed dead in avalanche in Banff National Park

David Lama seen on Stubai Glacier Austria

David Lama seen on Stubai Glacier Austria

Three climbers are presumed dead after an avalanche at Banff National Park in Canada, officials said Thursday.

Roskelley, a native of Spokane, Wash., climbed Mount Everest in 2003 at age 20.

Canadian officials deployed rescue helicopters to the isolated area of the Canadian Rockies after the group was reported overdue on Wednesday.

Amy Kraus, the spokewoman of Parks Canada, said in an interview with the Calgary Sun, "a high avalanche hazard along with strong winds and precipitation has made recovery of the bodies and further investigation impossible for now".

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Routen says there are plenty of risks for climbers in areas such as Howse Peak. 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. Their sponsor, outdoor apparel company The North Face, said the three members of its Global Athlete Team are presumed dead following an avalanche.

American climber Jess Roskelley and Austrian climbers David Lama and Hansjörg Auer had been attempting a challenging climb on the east face of Howse Peak.

Poor weather conditions have increased avalanche risks in the mountainous area on the border between Alberta and British Columbia, with the search halted for safety reasons.

Lama is renowned as among the very best, if not the best, of the world's "super-light" mountaineers who ascend peaks amazingly quickly, with minimal equipment.

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Routen said the 28-year-old Lama, who is the son of a Nepali mountain guide and a nurse from Austria, was only five when Everest mountaineer Peter Habeler discovered his talents and took him under his wing. "This is one of those trips where it turned into a nightmare", John Roskelley said.

Roskelley said it's a challenge for only the most extreme climbers.

Google Map view of Howse Peak on the Icefields Parkway.

"We can't speculate ... every mountain, every valley has its own conditions", he said. "It's just that they liked the looks of this route", John said.

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