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3 Northwest ice climbers killed by avalanche

February 13 2004 at 6:15 PM
Al E  (Login are0834)

Response to February 2004 Accidents/Rescues

Puget Sound climbers killed in Banff avalanche including 2 members of Tacoma Mountain Rescue

01:14 PM PST on Friday, February 13, 2004

From KING Staff and Wire Reports

BANFF, Alberta - Three ice climbers were found dead after being caught in an avalanche Thursday night in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, officials said.

Rescue crews had searched Mount Wilson near Lake Louise and found the body of the third climber Friday morning after the bodies of the first two were discovered. Rescue crews had to use search dogs since the victims were not wearing avalanche beacons.

One of the men was identified as a Pierce County sheriff's deputy, James Andrues, 66, who worked as a community officer.

"People right now are shocked," said Ed Troyer, Pierce County Sheriff's Department spokesman. "These are people that are the type that go up and save people that get themselves in trouble...These are the guys that through their lives and careers have gone up and taken them off the mountain, save their lives."

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department mourn the loss of Jim Andrues.

The other two men were employees of the City of Redmond - police officer Lieut. John Miner and Russ Howard, 42, a traffic signal technician.

"John was a great guy, he's been with the city for well over 25 years and basically just a person you would go to," said spokesperson of the Redmond Police Department, Stacey Holland. "Everyone would always go to John with any questions that they had because he knew everything about the police department."

John Miner was a police officer in Redmond, Wash.
Miner is survived by his mother, father and brother. He was an accomplished mountaineer, having climbed Mount Rainier, and peaks in Peru and the Himalayas.

Russ Howard was said to have two great passions - his family and being on the mountain. Also an experienced mountaineer, Howard is survived by his wife, two daughters and two sons.

Russ Howard was a traffic signal technician for the City of Redmond, Wash.
Andrues and Miner were members of the Tacoma Mountain Rescue group. Both were team leaders for mountain rescue with decades of experience and were involved in recent high-profile searches, including the successful recovery of a missing skier at Alpental, Dan Witkowski

Members of rescue team say they have lost a valuable rescuer and a two good friends.

There were two other climbers who survived the avalanche

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