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Author Topic: Original 7summiteer Dick Bass returns to Everest with Jim Wickwire  (Read 3935 times)

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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 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 Roskelley'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.

Jim 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 Hommer 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 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.

Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the summit of Everest, 50 years ago on May 29, 1953.
Since then, more than 1,200 people have climbed the mountain and nearly 200 died on its slopes.

This group will climb from the Tibetan side, using the less-traveled Northeast Ridge Route originally used by British expeditions of the 1920s and 1930s. It was the route of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, who failed to return from their summit attempt in 1924.

"The people you climb with are in many respects more important than the mountain," Wickwire said. "This time, I just want to go and see what happens. Give it a good go."

Bass calls himself a high-altitude trekker, not a climber or a mountaineer. He figures he weighs 20 pounds too much for the trip.
"It's not going to be a fun way to lose weight," he said in a telephone interview Tuesday, "but it'll be an effective way to lose weight."

To keep the physical discomfort and anxiety at bay while climbing, Bass said he recites the poetry of Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling and Robert Service.
No one conquers a mountain, he said, adding, "The mountain gives you an opportunity to conquer yourself."
 

Dick Bass (left) and Jim Wickwire pose for a photo in February 2003 in Snowbird, Utah. The pair, along with John Roskelley and Jess Roskelley, will attempt to climb Mount Everest later this year.

(from The Olympian)
« Last Edit: Mar 29 2003, 03:06 by 7summits »
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"He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary." -- Friedrich Nietzsche
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