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Everest North Side Expedition:  Dick Bass, Jim Wickwire, Dick Bass, John Roskelley


05.22.03: Special Update from John Roskelley Advanced Base Camp: 21,000 feet: "Greetings from Advanced Base Camp at 21,000 feet, it is May 22nd around 4:30 in the afternoon. Jess and I just returned from the North Col carrying loads down from there. Yesterday, May 21st, we reached the summit of Everest, 29,035 feet at 7:30 Indian Time in the morning.

"It's been a rough go from all along, of course; the winds have just been horrendous. We spent 6 days at the North Col and then on May 20th, or May 19th, moved up to 7,800 meters which is 25,700 feet about, and it was windy, but not bad enough to knock us down. On May 20th the winds were still howling, and as I said, Jess and I were ready to bail out of that tent. But we got up that morning dressed for work in full down gear and made the carry to 27,200 feet, just about 8,300 meters, and we didn't go to sleep that night, we just kind of took one sleeping bag and put our feet in it and the Sherpas cooked up some soup and we waited for 11:00, and at that point got up, got dressed. It was snowing, and slightly blowing.

"We moved out at midnight, just a little after midnight, and started up the ropes ahead of everybody else, which was a challenge, and moved very quickly up to the top of the ridge and then along what is called the first step, which is a small challenge, and then the second step, which is a bigger challenge. We made it up that just fine, and then it was an easy scramble to the summit and we reached the summit at 7:30 AM Indian Time. It was windy, blowing, snowing; it wasn't quite what you call a "real summit day," as a matter of fact 75 people turned back from the South Col route to my understanding.

"On our way down, it was a real bottleneck at the second step, where it's real narrow, and there's only a couple of ropes in there, and the Koreans had us bottlenecked there. We managed to make it through, and down to 8,300 meters, had a cup of tea, and drug our tails down to 7,800 meters, we were bled out pretty good. It certainly was a great day, Jess became the youngest American to summit Mt. Everest, and of course, as a father and son team I was extremely proud to be with my son on this particular day.

"We're now down at ABC, and waiting for the yaks to come get us tomorrow, and we'll be going down to base camp, and update everybody with the computer, I imagine. We certainly appreciate all of the sponsors that helped us out, you know especially Mountain Gear, Asolo Boots, and Spokane Mountaineers, and all of the support that we've had from our community right there in Spokane. So thanks a lot for all of that and I'll talk to you later. 'Bye."

The previous update is below...

5.21.03: JESS ROSKELLEY BECOMES YOUNGEST AMERICAN TO SUMMIT WORLD'S TALLEST MOUNTAIN

Word has just been received via Iridium satellite phone that at 7:30 am on May 21 (NEPAL TIME), American climbing legend John Roskelley, 54, and his son Jess, a college student and mountain guide, reached the 29,035 foot summit of Mount Everest. Jess at 20 years old is now the youngest American to ever climb the mountain.  Their final ascent day was very difficult with snow and heavy winds all the way up. They spent a short time on the summit and were returning to high camp at 27,500 feet when they called at 9:30 PDT this evening. The return to base camp will take a few days, depending on conditions, and they expect to leave the mountain and return to the U.S. by the end of the month.

There were three generations of climbers on this expedition... John and Jess are the second and third. The first generation included Dick Bass, 73, trying to be the oldest person to climb the mountain, and Jim Wickwire, 62, the first American to climb K2 the world's second tallest mountain.  Bass, who was the first person to climb the world's Seven Summits (the highest peak on each of the seven continents) and Wickwire gave up their chances at the summit last week after nagging physical problems forced the team to determine that the Roskelley's had the best chance at summiting.  The two experienced climbers pooled their resources for the Roskelley's summit attempt and left the mountain to return home to the U.S.

The Previous Update is below..

Jess Roskelley & John Roskelley

Update 5.19: Transcribed from Voicemail from John Roskelley

"Good afternoon. It's about 6:30 in the afternoon, May 19th. We are at about 25,700 feet. Jess and I had a good day carrying from the North Col. We carried heavy... all out personal gear. The North Col at 23,000 feet, so it is a long, difficult carry. It was cold in the morning. We left quite early because of the length of the carry, along with 75 to 100 other Sherpas and Westerners that needed to get their camp in after all the bad weather.

"Since Jess gave you the update, we took a rest day, but our Sherpas went up and established a pretty good camp. But the next day, when we were supposed to move up, we had tremendous winds and none of the Sherpas, except I guess three, made the carry up to 7,800 meters, which is 27,800 feet. (indecipherable sounds.) Obviously, I need oxygen at the present time, in order to speak clearly.

"Right now we're in our tent. Jess is cooking. We're going to be sleeping on about 1/2 a liter per minute of oxygen tonight. And then tomorrow we are going to move to 27,000 feet... that's about uh, let's see... 8,300 meters. That'll be our last camp before making our summit attempt. The weather is predicted to be fairly stable, with limited winds and clear skies, so we do have a good opportunity to make our summit attempt at this time.

"I think that's about everything from here... one of our high camps. I'll let you know in the next couple of days what happens. You know, Everest is... we're in Everest's hands regarding the weather. We are getting windy winds right now, and clouds. So we're not sure what's gonna happen... but we're planning to go up. We'll talk to you soon, have a great day. 'Bye 'bye."

– John Roskelley

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