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
Jess Roskelley & John Roskelley
Update 5.19: Transcribed from Voicemail from John
"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