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Press Release of Senator Cantwell

Senator Maria Cantwell's Statement on John and Jess Roskelley's Climb of Mt. Everest

Wednesday, May 21,2003

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Mr. President, I rise today to congratulate father and son John and Jess Roskelley of Spokane, Washington, for their successful climb of Mt. Everest. The Roskelleys’ achievement is both inspiring and historic. By reaching the summit on Tuesday, May 20, the Roskelleys became the first father and son to climb the world’s highest mountain together. Jess also became the youngest American to ever complete the climb.

Throughout history, explorers and adventurers have held a special place in our imaginations. Their vision and determination to explore uncharted territory, and to surmount overwhelming obstacles in fierce conditions and environments remind us of the indomitable power of the human spirit.

Mt. Everest has long captivated mankind as a powerful symbol of the awe the natural world can evoke. Since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to grace its summit fifty years ago, the challenge of climbing Everest has an iconic status. Its precipitous slopes, seemingly-bottomless crevasses, and thin air are a reminder both of the power of natural forces, and of the fragility of human life.

John Roskelley is an expert climber, with thirty years experience climbing in the demanding Himalayas. He is also an accomplished photographer and author, whose work vividly conveys the challenges and emotions of high-altitude mountaineering. John is a dedicated public servant, as well: he serves as a Commissioner of Spokane County.

Jess Roskelley has clearly inherited his father’s mountaineering talents and taste for adventure. Though he is only twenty years old, Jess is already an accomplished climber in his own right. He has climbed Washington state’s highest peak, 14,411-foot Mt. Rainier – also an impressive mountaineering feat – a remarkable 35 times.

The Roskelleys’ names will long be remembered with those of other magnificent climbers from Washington state – a proud history that includes such giants as Jim and Lou Whittaker, Jim Wickwire, Willi Unsoeld, and Ed Viesturs.

With this accomplishment, John and Jess Roskelley have contributed to this tradition, and to that of all the adventurers and explorers who inspire us to challenge ourselves to realize our dreams, and to persevere in the face of overwhelming odds. They remind us of President John F. Kennedy’s affirmation that we pursue some goals “not because they are easy but because they are hard.”

The Roskelleys’ remarkable achievement reminds us what we can accomplish when we set our hearts and minds upon difficult goals. I congratulate them on their success, and wish them a safe trip home.

Note: For more information about the Roskelleys’ climb, please visit their web site: http://www.generationsoneverest.com

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