UBC student and researcher found dead after ice climbing accident

UBC PhD candidate Stephanie Grothe was one of three individuals found dead on Monday, January 12, near Pemberton, B.C. following an ice climbing accident.

According to an RCMP media release, the climbers were spending the day in the backcountry with two skiers. The group had planned to reconvene at the end of the day, but when the climbers didn't arrive, the skiers went to search for them, and RCMP and Pemberton Search and Rescue were notified.

The climbers fell nearly 600 metres down the cliffside, and were located below the Joffre peak's main couloir.

Grothe was a researcher at UBC's Laboratory for Atomic Imaging Research and has contributed to seven publications. Prior to her time at UBC, Grothe studied physics at RWTH Aachen University in Germany and received a postgraduate diploma from Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Whistler RCMP are continuing an investigation into the deaths with the B.C. Coroners Service.

UPDATE: UBC post-doctoral fellow Neil Charles Mackenzie was identified by coroners Tuesday.

Mackenzie was a researcher at the Centre for Blood Research and an active member of the Varsity Outdoor Club, where Grothe served as an executive and taught hiking and climbing.

Both Grothe and Mackenzie, along with the third identified individual, Elena Cernicka, a North Vancouver mother, were experienced climbers.

Grothe was one month away from completing her PhD at UBC before the accident.

This is a breaking story and will be updated as more information becomes available.