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World-renowned ice climber Guy Lacelle dies in avalanche

December 11, 2009 |  9:46 am

Ice climber Guy Lacelle with one of his dogs.

Acclaimed ice climber Guy Lacelle was killed in an avalanche Thursday morning while participating in a competition in Montana.

The Canadian was climbing a gully in Hyalite Canyon during the Ice Breaker competition, an event taking place in conjunction with the Bozeman Ice Festival, when a team climbing above him triggered the avalanche. Lacelle's climbing partner was uninjured.

"A small pocket of snow pulled out and caught him," Doug Chabot, Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center director, told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. "It hit him and took him off the cliff, down the ice."

Lacelle, 54, died from the fall, according to Gallatin County Chief Deputy Coroner Dan Springer.

"From an avalanche perspective, it's a reminder that even small avalanches can have huge, deadly consequences," Chabot said.

Lacelle was widely regarded as one of the world’s leading ice climbers, having established and repeated many of the most extreme ice climbs in the Canadian Rockies. He competed as well as taught clinics at numerous ice festivals.

"He was a fanatical ice climber, and his death is a huge, huge loss," said John Irvine, sports marketing manager for the climbing equipment company Arc'teryx, which sponsored Lacelle.

Lacelle is survived by his wife, Marge Lachecki.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Ice climber Guy Lacelle with one of his dogs. Credit: Brian Goldstone / Arc'teryx

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