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Outdoor Community Remembers Lama, Roskelley, and Auer

The three climbers atop Howse Peak in a photo recovered from Roskelley's cellphone.

Last week the outdoor community was shocked to learn of the untimely deaths of alpinists David Lama, Jess Roskelley, and Hansjörg Auer. The trio were struck by a size 3 avalanche while climbing in the Canadian Rockies. Their bodies have since been recovered, and their cellphone photos indicate that they had reached the summit of Howse Peak via the M16 route before the avalanche. Since news of their deaths broke, there has been an outpouring of grief and memories of each from all corners of the outdoor-sports world.

David Lama:

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We are deeply saddened by the loss of our athletes, Jess Roskelley, David Lama, and Hansjörg Auer. To say @davidlama_official represented just the dynamic nature of climbing would be an understatement as his name was synonymous with the progression of the sport. At a young age he took his skills as a sport climber to the top level, winning competitions from 2004 to 2008. But even with this competition success, David was at home climbing and skiing taller peaks. In 2012 his free ascent of the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre was considered a landmark ascent of alpine climbing. In 2018 he realized his dream of first ascending Lunag Ri in the home country of his father, Nepal, a climb that will be forever remembered as his. David had the mind of an engineer and the heart of a humanitarian and will be remembered by us as the most passionate climber we’ve ever encountered. Our team, the climbing community, and the sport will miss him dearly.

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David lebte für die Berge und seine Leidenschaft für das Klettern und Bergsteigen hat uns als Familie geprägt und begleitet. Er folgte stets seinem Weg und lebte seinen Traum. Das nun Geschehene werden wir als Teil davon akzeptieren.⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Wir bedanken uns für die zahlreichen positiven Worte und Gedanken von nah und fern, und bitten um Verständnis, dass es keine weitere Stellungnahme von uns geben wird. Vielmehr bitten wir David mit seiner Lebensfreude, seiner Tatkräftigkeit und mit Blick Richtung seiner geliebten Berge in Erinnerung zu behalten. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Die Familien von Hansjörg und Jess schließen wir in unsere Gedanken ein⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Claudia & Rinzi Lama⁣⠀ ____________________________________⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ David dedicated his life to the mountains and his passion for climbing and alpinism shaped and accompanied our family. He always followed his own path and lived his dream. We will accept what now happened as a part of that.⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ We appreciate the numerous positive words and thoughts from near and far. Please understand that there will be no further comments from our side. We ask you to remember David for his zest for life, his enthusiasm and with a view towards his beloved mountains. ⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Our thoughts are with Hansjörg’s and Jess‘ family⁣⠀ ⁣⠀ Claudia & Rinzi Lama

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My David, Remember the first day we skied together. And you said, this is a really good day. Did you know then that every day we would spend together since, every phone call, every adventure, would be a good day, a perfect day? The time spent with you is worth the years of pain ahead. Your love was the greatest gift I know I’ll ever receive. Now, you are the compass inside me. You told me, “Never go into the mountains with a plan B. Only a plan A and an escape route”. I will follow the path you started me on-I’m going to live our plan A the best that I can and take you where I can. You knew me better than anyone has. Me in the present and me in the future. You taught me so much. And I will carry those lessons with me. You gave me so much confidence. I promise to always be as gentle with our love as you always are with me. Thank you for breathing for me the past few days when I could not on my own. For walking with me. Helping me stand. Visiting me. And bringing me moments of peace. You told me you’d never let go, and I still believe you. I’m always your lady, your cinnamon brioche. And you are always my person. I didn’t think pain like this existed, but I never thought love like ours did either. I’ll talk to you soon my love. I miss you, but you already know that. We always ended the day saying forever. And forever it will be, forever and always. ✅

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Jess Roskelley:

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We are deeply saddened by the loss of our athletes, Jess Roskelley, David Lama, and Hansjörg Auer. @jessroskelley was a natural. He grew up in a household steeped in mountaineering, his father, John, was a pioneering Himalayan alpinist having led the first ascent of Gauri Sankar in 1979. Jess loved climbing and as an alpinist had climbed Everest in 2003 – the youngest to do so at the time. Jess possessed a multi-faceted ability which found him at home on ice, big walls and multi day expeditions. Always game for adventure, Jess would show up with a smile, excited to climb. He balanced a constant dedication to progression on the mountain with a one of a kind sense of humor and deep dedication to practical jokes. The love he had for the mountains was only matched by his love for his wife, Allison and his bulldog, Mugs. He will be remembered not just as one of the best mountaineers of a generation but one of the best we have ever encountered in the sport.

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I hesitate to share my thoughts about Jess on Instagram, but Jess enjoyed social media and was damn good at using it—I know he will approve. There are so many friends with deep feelings of loss today, and I don’t want to draw special attention to my sadness, or my friendship with Jess. But I think there is good in sharing our grief with friends, and sharing who Jess is to each of us. When I first met Jess on a climbing trip I didn’t immediately think we would be close friends. But the cocky dude with a penchant for flat-brim trucker hats and dick jokes turned out to be far more than that, and soon Jess was a trusted climbing partner. We roped up for some good ones over the years, including the Fitz Roy in Patagonia and a couple of stellar first ascents in the Cabinet Mountains of Montana. Yet it’s not the climbs that stand out in my mind. Instead I think of Jess’s love for his family and friends. Jess and I talked for hours on end while on the road to Canada or Montana ice climbing destinations. I listened as Jess shared about meeting Allison, falling in love with her, and struggling to have more time at home while he worked far away as a welder and went on big climbing expeditions. I shared in Jess’s happiness as he finally made it on the big stage. His dedication and work ethic had payed off—climbing for The North Face and Lowa, he would be able to climb full time and have more time at home with Allie. Jess’s love for Allison was unwavering: there was never a doubt that she came before climbing. I admired his commitment, stability, and confidence that he was taking the right path. I went through a few tumultuous relationships in that time, and Jess was always there to listen, and had wise advice for me. Family was the most important thing to Jess—he had a love for his family that one rarely sees. He was incredibly close to his sister, and it seems like on every one of our climbing trips Jordan was on speaker phone as Jess gave her relationship or life advice. Jess loved and admired his dad, and I think he judged everything he did on how it would measure up in John’s eyes, not because John Roskelley is a climbing legend, but because he gave Jess a l

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Hansjörg Auer:

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We are deeply saddened by the loss of our athletes, Jess Roskelley, David Lama, and Hansjörg Auer. @hansjoergauer had a one of a kind relationship with the mountains and wanted to experience them in every way he could. The mountains of Austria were truly his blank canvas, and whether it was free climbing, paragliding, skiing, or ice climbing he could add his unique signature to them in a multitude of ways. He excelled at everything he did and from an early age was driven to improve his ability across all disciplines. In 2007, he free soloed the Marmolada in the Dolomites and recently combined a link of solo ascents with a paraglider descents. His ascents in the Himalaya centered on the hidden peaks in the 7000m range - most recently a solo ascent of Lupghar Sar West. Hansjörg was the soul of climbing and had such an honest approach to life. We’ll miss Hansjörg's lanky stride and his very simple way of making the hardest routes his own. We’ll miss his excitement for the next adventure, and will honor him by embodying this into everything we do.

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