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Pro climbers presumed dead

UPDATE 12:06 p.m.

Outdoor apparel company The North Face says three members of its Global Athlete Team are presumed dead after an avalanche in Alberta's Banff National Park.

The company says renowned American alpinist Jess Roskelley and Austrian climbers David Lama and Hansjörg Auer are missing.

The North Face says it is doing what it can to support their family and friends.

Parks Canada says the three men were attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak on the Icefields Parkway on Wednesday.


UPDATE 11:42 a.m.

Emergency crews search for three men believed to have perished in an avalanche in Banff National Park is being hampered by weather conditions.

Rescue crews were alerted to the situation when the three experienced climbers did not check in and were reported overdue.

Crews can see the area from the sky and evidence of the avalanche including debris containing climbing equipment is visible.

Based on the assessment from the air it is not believed that any of the three climbers could have survived.

Parks Canada is being hampered by dangerous conditions and are concerned about the risk of more avalanches.


ORIGINAL 11:14 a.m.

Parks Canada says three mountaineers are presumed dead after an avalanche in Alberta's Banff National Park.

The federal agency says the three men were attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak on the Icefields Parkway.

They were reported overdue on Wednesday.

"Parks Canada visitor safety specialists immediately responded by air and observed signs of multiple avalanches and debris containing climbing equipment," the agency said in a news release.

Officials say recovery efforts are on hold because of a continued risk of avalanches in the area. Rain and strong winds in the forecast are expected to make conditions worse.

One of the men is American and the other two are from Europe.

Parks Canada says the three are considered highly experienced and professional mountain athletes.

"Parks Canada extends its sincerest condolences to the families, friends and loved ones of the mountaineers," the news release reads.

The east face of Howse Peak is remote and Parks Canada says its mixed rock and ice routes make it an exceptionally difficult climb.

-with files from Canadian Press and CTV News



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