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Jess Fenton Roskelley (July 13, 1982 – April 16, 2019) was an American mountaineer. On May 21, 2003, at age twenty, he became the youngest American to reach the summit of Mount Everest. He died in an avalanche while climbing Howse Peak in the Canadian Rockies.[1]

Jess Roskelley
Hypa Zypa Couloir 3.JPG
Jess Roskelley near the summit of the Citadel during the first ascent of the Hypa Zypa Couloir, Alaska Range
Personal information
Born(1982-07-13)July 13, 1982
Spokane, Washington, U.S.
DiedApril 16, 2019(2019-04-16) (aged 36)
Howse Peak, Alberta, Canada
EducationUniversity of Montana
OccupationWelder, mountaineer
Climbing career
Type of climberSport climbing, bouldering, mountaineering
Highest grade
Known forYoungest American to reach the summit of Everest (2003)


Early lifeEdit

Roskelley was born on July 13, 1982 and raised in Spokane, Washington, where he attended Mt. Spokane High School.[2] He was the son of mountaineer John Roskelley and Joyce Roskelley, a teacher. He later moved to Montana to attend the University of Montana.[3]


Roskelley began his career in mountain climbing as a guide on Mount Rainier. He passed the Rainier Mountain Guides exam at the age of eighteen,[4][better source needed] and by the age of twenty (in 2003) he had reached the summit 35 times as a guide.[5]

In March 2003, Roskelley and his father, mountaineer John Roskelley, traveled to Mount Everest as members of an expedition named "Generations on Everest". The expedition marked Jess's first attempt at the Everest summit, while it was his father's fourth attempt, having failed on three attempts earlier in his career.[6] Father and son successfully reached the summit on May 21, 2003, at which time Jess Roskelley, at the age of twenty, became the youngest American to have reached the summit of Everest.[6] In 2010, this record was surpassed by Jordan Romero, who summited Everest at the age of thirteen.[7]

Roskelley later while living in Spokane, divided his time in Alaska between climbing and working as a tank welder.[8] In October 2012, he and John Frieh climbed a new route on Mount Wake in the Alaska Range. They called the route The Cook Inlet.[9] In April 2013, Roskelley, Ben Erdmann and Kristoffer Szilas forged a new route on the Citadel, a peak in the Kichatna Mountains of Alaska. The route, which is next to Supa Dupa Couloir, was named Hypa Zypa Couloir.[10]

Personal life and deathEdit

Roskelley was married on July 25, 2015 to Allison Spencer.[11] Jess Roskelley has two sisters, Jordan and Dawn Roskelley.[12]

Roskelley went missing in an avalanche on April 16, 2019,[13] while climbing on Howse Peak in the Canadian Rockies with the Austrian climbers David Lama and Hansjörg Auer. [14][15] The group was attempting a route on the east face of Howse Peak known as M16, one of the most difficult Canadian alpine routes.[11][16] His body was found along with those of the other two climbers on April 21.[1]


  1. ^ a b Agence, Presse-France (April 22, 2019). "Canada avalanche: bodies of three renowned mountaineers found". The Guardian. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Profiles: Jess Roskelley". The University of Montana President's Report. University of Montana. 2003. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  4. ^ "Jess Roskelley". Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  5. ^ Landers, Rich (June 8, 2003). "Peak of desire". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Leaming, Sara (May 21, 2003). "Roskelleys reach top of Everest". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  7. ^ Sharma, Gopal (May 22, 2010). "California teen becomes youngest to climb Everest". Reuters. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  8. ^ Cameron, Gwen (October 29, 2012). "Frieh Finds Two Late-Season Ascents In AK". Alpinist. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  9. ^ MacDonald, Dougald (November 5, 2012). "Rare Autumn New Route in Ruth Gorge". Climbing. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  10. ^ MacDonald, Dougald. "Amazing New Route in Alaska's Kichatna Range". Climbing. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Peter Beaumont, Joanna Walters (April 19, 2019). "Three mountaineers killed in avalanche in Canada". The Guardian. Retrieved April 22, 2019.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  12. ^ "A Statement from Roskelley's Family". Climbing. April 23, 2019. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  13. ^ "Canada avalanche: Three professional climbers believed killed in Rockies". BBC. April 19, 2019. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  14. ^ Delaney Miller (April 18, 2019). "Jess Roskelley, David Lama and Hansjörg Auer Reported Missing in Canada". Rock and Ice. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  15. ^ "Lawinendrama: Kaum noch Hoffnung für Tiroler Lama und Auer". Tiroler Tageszeitung. April 19, 2019. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  16. ^ "Top climbers die in Canadian avalanche". BBC. April 22, 2019. Retrieved April 22, 2019.

External linksEdit