(CNN)Climbing was in his DNA.
The 28-year-old Austrian climber David Lama is one of three professional mountain climbers caught in an avalanche in Canada's Banff National Park, according to park officials and The North Face, the company that sponsors the men.
All three are presumed dead.
Lama was 5 when famed climber and Himalayan veteran Peter Habeler first saw him climb. He immediately called Lama's parents to tell them their boy had "an extraordinary feeling for rocks."
As a youth, Lama won the International Federation of Sport Climbing's European Youth Cup and the Youth World Championships, according to North Face.
Competing against adults, he was the youngest to win the International Federation of Sport Climbing World Cup in lead climbing and in bouldering, the company said.
He climbed into a place among legends
Lama was born in 1990, the son of a Nepali mountain guide and an Austrian nurse. Hiking courses and alpine clubs didn't interest him, his website says: "He looked for the vertical from the beginning."
After reaching the summit of the competitive climbing world in 2011, Lama pivoted to free climbing.
In 2013, he appeared in the documentary film "Cerro Torre: A Snowball's Chance in Hell," which depicted his bid with climbing partner Peter Ortner the previous year to free-climb the southeast face of Cerro Torre, on the border between Argentina and Chile. Some consider the route to be the toughest on earth.
In a 2017 interview, Habeler, an elder statesman of the climbing world, recognized Lama's remarkable career. He called Lama "one of the high flyers of the current age" of climbing.
This week, Lama was with fellow climbers Jess Roskelley and Hansjörg Auer, attempting to scale the treacherous east face of Howse Peak in Alberta. They were reported missing Wednesday after apparently being caught in an avalanche, officials said.