3 'highly experienced' climbers presumed dead after avalanche at Canadian national park

PHOTO: Ice still covers the water at Lake Louise in Banff National Park on May 20, 2015.PlayLarry Macdougal/AP
WATCH 3 climbers presumed dead after avalanche

One American and two European climbers are presumed dead after after an avalanche at a national park in Canada.

The mountaineers, David Lama, Jess Roskelley and Hansjorg Auer, were attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak at Banff National Park in Alberta on Tuesday but were reported overdue on Wednesday, Parks Canada said in a statement. Visitor safety specialists responded by air and observed signs of multiple avalanches and debris containing climbing equipment on the Icefields Parkway, where the peak is located, park officials said.

All three men are professional mountain athletes and "highly experienced," according to Parks Canada. They are presumed dead "based on the assessment of the scene," the statement read. The men were part of The North Face's Global Athlete Team, the company said in a statement.

Recovery efforts are currently on hold due to "dangerous conditions" and the possibility of additional avalanches, park officials said. The east face of Howse Peak is "an exceptionally difficult objective" and located in a remote area with mixed rock and ice routes, according to the statement. Advanced mountaineering skills are required to climb it, according to Parks Canada.

The North Face described the men as "valued and loved members The North Face family."

"We are doing everything we can to support their families, friends and the climbing community during this difficult time," the company said in a statement. "We ask that you keep our athletes and their loved ones in your hearts and thoughts."

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