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Climbing Legends returning for another shot at Everest

By Mark Bryant 
The Associated Press
March 2003

SEATTLE - A trio of Northwest climbers and a septuagenarian from Dallas leave for Mount Everest this month in a bid to put both the oldest climber and the youngest American on top of the world.

The team includes veteran Northwest climbers Jim Wickwire of Seattle and John Roskelley of Spokane, as well as Roskelly’s 20-year-old son Jess.

Joining them will be 73-year old Dick Bass of Dallas, owner of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Utah.

In 1985, Bass achieved the distinction of having climbed the highest peak in each of the seven continents - including Everest. If he reaches the summit this time, he will be the oldest person to climb the 29,035-foot peak.

Wickwire, a 62-year-old lawyer, hopes to make it to the top after three unsuccessful Everest attempts. He was the first American to climb the world's second-highest mountain, K2.

"It's all about achieving goals," he said Tuesday. "and this one seems achievable."

John Roskelley, now a 54-year old Spokane County commissioner, has also climbed K2 but the Everest summit has eluded him in a lifetime of Himalayan climbing.

His 20-year-old son, now a mountain guide, is taking time off from the University of Montana to join the group and hopes to be the youngest American to climb Everest.

Wickwire said the inspiration to try Everest one more time came from the death last year of a friend, Ed Hommer. A double amputee, Hommer failed to reach the Everest summit in a 2001 attempt led by Wickwire, then was killed last September by a large rock as he trained on Washington's Mount Rainier for a second attempt at Everest. Wickwire was climbing with Hommer when he died.

An event like that, Wickwire said, calls into question everything you've done and still want to do. "It's like the doctor telling you have six months to live."

Both he and Roskelley had planned to climb with Hommer during his second Everest attempt, and they decided to continue the climb in his honor. And Bass, who had climbed with Wickwire years ago, coincidentally was considering another expedition to the world's tallest peak.

The group leaves next week, expecting to be ready to make a push for the summit at the beginning of May.



50th Anniversary of Everest Ascent! John and Jess Roskelley summit, setting records
May 21, 2003

John and Jess Roskelley on Everest, Generations on Everest
John and Jess Roskelley on the summit,
Courtesy of Generations on Everest 

"Mountain Gear and International Mountain Guides (IMG) is proud to have supported Generations on Everest. The father and son team summited on May 21, 2003, via the technical North Ridge route, with Jess, 20, becoming the youngest American to climb the mountain."

International Mountain Guides


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