Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Mountain climbing

Winter 2003

On top at last: John and Jess Roskelley scale Everest together

“The goal you set for yourself is to stay the course . . . to stay focused. At any time you get tired of the glare off the snow, the dust, the miles of glacial terrain, the travel, the lack of sleep, the altitude. The altitude just takes a huge toll on you.”—John Roskelley

After four failed attempts, the last one 10 years ago, John Roskelley must have wondered if he’d ever get another chance to conquer 29,035-foot Mount Everest. Or even if he wanted to.

Never underestimate Roskelley’s resolve.

The Spokane County commissioner has been climbing since 1965. For years he was among the … » More …

Winter 2001

Mountain men

The father-and-son team of Ken and Jeff Christianson of Burlington climbed 19,340-foot Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania last May. By coincidence rather than plan, Jeff says, “we summited on my dad’s 49th birthday— May 14.”

The pair spent six nights on the mountain getting acclimated, then completed the climb in six days.

“It was more like a high-altitude trek, nothing technical,” Jeff says. They also climbed the third-highest peak on Mount Kenya, 16,355-foot Point Lenana.

During two years of climbing, Jeff has topped Mount Rainier (14,411 feet) twice—in 2000, when he also scaled Mount Baker and Mount Adams, and again last summer.

“We live in the … » More …

Winter 2002

Ershlers complete Seven Summits with Everest climb

Phil and Susan Ellerman Ershler can scratch one more thing off their “to do” list. On May 16 they conquered 29,035-foot Mount Everest and became the first husband-wife team to top the Seven Summits together. (See sidebar.)

The Ershlers’ quest to successfully scale the tallest peaks on each continent began in 1992 on Mount Kilimanjaro. Having scaled six other peaks since then, Mount Everest was their final and most formidable obstacle. In fact, the Kirkland, Washington, couple had been thwarted during a 2001 expedition just 1,500 feet from Everest’s apex. When Phil’s corneas began to freeze, he and his wife had no choice but to … » More …