Photo Credits: Clayton Boyd for The North Face


Three larger than life talents, David Lama, Hansjörg Auer, and Jess Roskelley, were struck by a large scale avalanche while attempting to climb M16 on Howse Peak on the Icefields Parkway in Alberta. They are presumed lost.

In the wild places, in the mountains and at sea, we find our true selves and forge our deepest relationships. We seek out adventure for a depth of experience that make us feel most alive.

Conrad Anker wrote today, “We accept the loss that strikes unaware in return for the bonds of friendship created by experiencing life in the majesty of nature.” It is hard to accept.

I did not know Hans or Jess personally. But ROAM has featured them, and their world-class efforts, and feel empathy with the families, friends and community.

Thanks to an introduction by Conrad, I had the privilege of working with David on a professional level and meeting him in person. While I did not know him well, his broad smile and sparkling eyes always struck me as special. Even before I understood how truly brilliant he was up high in the mountains, down here among the mere mortals, there was a brilliance in that smile and those eyes that was undeniable.

Today, the outpouring of love has been significant and powerful. And while it is natural and easy to focus on the tragedy of this dark day, the words and photos from our community remind us to celebrate the accomplishments, the passion, kindness, and the light that they shared with us in the time they were here.

We have tried our best to compile some of the greatest work from these brilliant athletes along with the outpouring of love and respect on the following page.

Our hearts go out to the families and friends of David, Jess and Hans.

Christopher Jerard

Please share your thoughts and condolences...

8 Memories:

  1. We all go to the mountains because there is some innate part of being human that seeks challenge and there is endless challenge to be found in our wild places. I’ve always seen mountains as a blank canvas that lets me be an artist by choosing my unique path when amongst them. It’s freedom in its purest and most simple form. But, like many things in life, what you originally set out to do isn’t always where you end up. It’s the unexpected adventures along the way that create the true magic. There’s so much more to this passion than just the climb or the ski, there are the human connections created along this journey that have been some of the deepest and most profound friendships of my life. There is also tragedy. The mountains are both majestic and fierce. They give so much and they take so much. It is with profound sadness, frustration and even anger that this week we have lost so much passion, kindness, ingenuity and unadulterated talent with the passing of these three human beings. ***

    My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of David Lama, Hansjörg Auer and Jess Roskelley. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  2. It hurts to feel the crushing magnitude of losing people you not only really care about, but also that are such iconic figureheads of our community. My heart breaks and I am praying for the direct family members and loved ones involved.

    Jess was one of the most driven, positive, humble, goofy, and kind friends. He accomplished daunting mountains with a smile and inspiring ability to encourage you to see no limits, too. Despite the magnitude of his accomplishments, he wasn’t “above” anyone. He was a genuine, radical guy and husband to an equally inspiring, kickass woman, @alliroskelley

    David Lama- who in our direct community doesn’t have a story…? Soft spoken, genuine BADASS. Footsy (@magmidt ?)
    It’s been some time since the three of us hung out together but I will never forget how you have always been the number one climber I have looked up to’s career…the childhood prodigy turned all-rounded mountain climbing technician. He was the guy that could probably come back from a long expedition and still fire 5.14’s like he never left the gym.

    Hansjorg; an Austrian legend, I didn’t know you as personally so well but man, your accomplishments were so damn legendary.

    It’s so hard for me to wrap my mind around this except for the fact that the mountains are at once beautiful and merciless.

    These guys knew what they were doing in the mountains. They were straight legends. That’s what is terrifying to me. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your resume is: extremely unlucky circumstances can still happen. ?.

  3. We choose to play by the rules of the mountains because they are our calling. We accept the loss that strikes unaware in returns for the bonds of friendship created by experiencing life in the majesty of nature. The intensity of the alpine, guarded by wind & snow and ruled by gravity, is where we find these moments that define us as people. It is never easy to lose loved ones, particularly those with so much life to live.

    My heart goes out to the parents of Hansjörg Auer, David Lama, and Jess Roskelley with the loss of their sons.

    With empathy for the families, loved ones, friends and our community.

  4. In Memoriam of David Lama, Jess Roskelley, and Hansjörg Auer // What’s newsworthy here isn’t the tragedy that’s unfolded. What’s truly newsworthy is the caliber of athlete and human these young men were. The tragedy of their early passing is only compounded by the interest and drama surrounding this event. The mountains cast long shadows, but it’s important that we don’t dwell there. Rather, celebrate the accomplishments of the athletes who venture there while they live. Now is a time for reverence and quiet reflection reserved for the families and friends in the wake of their untimely passing.

  5. Life is a fragile, the moments fleeting and passings unpredictable. I woke to very sad news that Jess, David, and Hans had tragically been killed in an avalanche in the Canadian Rockies. The news shook me to the core and I couldn’t help but break down in tears. The photos here are of Jess, all that I have on my phone but enough to bring me back to happier times. In my sadness I’m grateful to have know you my friend. You, like David and Hansjörg, we’re larger than life and a joy to be around. My heart and prayers go out to the family of these three beautiful soles. May they rest in peace and be remembered warmly for the remarkable people they were.

  6. Searching for the light through the dark today as our mountain tribe lost some beloved members of the family. Reflecting on how fortunate we are to have witnessed and felt the greatness, humanity and light they shared with us all. With my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of Jess, Hans, and David. Your lights shine on…

  7. Though I did not know them, now it feels as though I do to some degree because the outpouring of love has been overwhelming. So many people have mentioned the heart, the joy, the smiles, the friendship from these three amazing young men. To the families, friends, and the community I offer my sincere and heartfelt condolences. Grace and strength.

  8. My heart goes out those who push the limit for the feeling we are all chasing, the families, and the entire community.

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