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Three world-class climbers presumed dead in Canadian avalanche

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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Three renowned professional alpinists are missing and presumed dead after an avalanche in Canada’s Rocky Mountains, Parks Canada said on Thursday.

Climbing media named the men as American Jess Roskelley, 36, and Austrians David Lama, 28, and Hansjörg Auer, 35, saying they were killed after attempting to climb a challenging route on Howse Peak in Banff National Park.

Roskelley was best-known for climbing Mount Everest at age 20 in 2003, making him the youngest person at the time to have climbed the world’s highest mountain.

Lama and Auer were also world-class mountaineers who had climbed some of the toughest routes around the globe.

Parks Canada did not release the names of the three men but described them as professional mountain athletes and highly experienced. The government agency in a statement said the party was attempting the east face of Howse Peak and was 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 statement said.

“Based on the assessment of the scene, all three members of the party are presumed to be deceased,” it said.

(Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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