Three ice climbers die in 'catastrophic' fall in West Canada: police

Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:57pm EST
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VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Three ice climbers were found dead in a wilderness region of British Columbia after likely falling about 2,000 feet (610 meters) in a "catastrophic" accident as they neared the top of their ascent, local police said on Monday.

The bodies of a man and a woman in their mid-30s from the Vancouver region and a female foreign national in her late 20s were recovered on Monday some 300 meters below Joffre peak, about a three-hour drive northeast of Vancouver, police said.

The foreign climber is believed to be from Germany, based on reports from two skiers who were part of the climbing group, Whistler-Pemberton Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesman teve LeClair said.

The skiers found the body of one of the climbers on Sunday night and then alerted police that two others were missing.

"It looks like they made it almost to the top of the central couloir, and then fell approximately 2,000 vertical feet... It looks like a catastrophic slip and fall accident," LeClair said.

The climbers had been tied together with climbing ropes, LeClair said.

(Reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Leslie Adler and Andrew Hay)