Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



Royal Canadian Air Force Sgt. Missing After Ice Climbing Accident

The search continues for Royal Canadian Air Force Search and Rescue technician, Sgt. Mark Salesse, who went missing after an avalanche struck while climbing Polar Circus (WI 5).

Lock Icon

Unlock this article and more benefits with 25% off.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

25% Off Outside+.
$4.99/month $3.75/month*

Get the one subscription to fuel all your adventures.

  • Map your next adventure with our premium GPS apps: Gaia GPS Premium and Trailforks Pro.
  • Read unlimited digital content from 15+ brands, including Outside Magazine, Triathlete, Ski, Trail Runner, and VeloNews.
  • Watch 600+ hours of endurance challenges, cycling and skiing action, and travel documentaries.
  • Learn from the pros with expert-led online courses.
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

Sgt. Mark Salesse. Photo: Royal Canadian Air Force.Update: On Wednesday, February 11, Sgt. Mark Salesse’s body was recovered by Parks Canada Visitor Safety specialists from under approximately 10 feet of snow near the base of Polar Circus (WI 5). He disappeared after an avalanche was triggered by an above climber. The four, including Salesse, were climbing unroped between the upper and lower ice pitches.

Canadian climber, Sgt. Mark Salesse, 44, went missing on February 5 while climbing Polar Circus (WI 5) in Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies. According to his three climbing partners—who were left uninjured—a relatively small avalanche swept Salesse over a cliff and he landed on a snow-ledge roughly 800 feet below.

Initial rescue efforts were thwarted by high avalanche conditions. New snow and rising temperatures on Friday limited the rescue effort to an aerial search, but the missing climber was not located.

Parks Canada, the organization coordinating the rescue effort, says the search and rescue has now become a recovery operation. Rescuers believe that his body will be found buried on the ledge.

Planned ground searches through the weekend were once again canceled due to high avalanche risk. On Monday, ground teams with search dogs reached the area, but after two and a half hours, avalanche conditions forced them to leave.

Rescue teams will try to reach the area again today. If conditions still prove too dangerous, recovery efforts may have to be put off until spring.

Salesse was a Royal Canadian Air Force Search and Rescue technician from 435 Transport and Rescue squadron based out of 17 Wing Winnipeg. He and his team were performing a routine mountain training exercise when the avalanche struck.

Liz Quinn, Salesse’s mother, said that he died “doing what he loved” in an interview with Global News, and wouldn’t want anyone risking his or her life to retrieve him.