Spokane mountaineer, and former county commissioner, John Roskelley has received another prestigious climbing award.
The American Alpine Club announced his induction as an honorary member, Thursday. Other 2018 award winners include free-soloist Alex Honnold, up-and-comer Margo Hayes and former U.S. Secretary Of The Interior, Sally Jewell.
“I’m just fortunate that I’m still around to accept,” Roskelley said. “But then again I’m just a little bit chagrined about being singled out when so many deserve (recognition).”
He continued: “You don’t climb alone. You face the extremes, the dangers, the cold, the avalanches, you face them with someone else. Every success is mostly due to what’s transpired before.”
Still, Roskelley said he’s honored to be on a list that includes Ernest Shackleton, Fred Beckey, Edmund Hillary and others.
Roskelley’s mountaineering legacy, spanning more than three decades, has earned him numerous awards and accolades over the years.
He got his start as a teenager in the Spokane Mountaineers club. He started garnering attention with first ascents in the Canadian Rockies before heading farther afield to achieve first ascents and notable ascents of 7,000- and 8,000-meter peaks in Nepal, India and Pakistan.
In 2003, Roskelley scaled Mount Everest with his son, Jess, 20, who was the youngest American to summit the world’s highest peak at the time.
He’s also an author and former Spokane County commissioner. He was named to the Northwest Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
Roskelley is best known for climbs such as Dhaulagiri, Nanda Devi, Trango Tower, Gaurishankar, K2, Uli Biaho, Cholatse and Tawache, all without supplemental oxygen.
Honorary membership is one of the AAC’s most prestigious awards, according to the club’s website.
“John’s mountaineering accomplishments compare favorably to those of the most outstanding of the world’s mountaineers of his generation,” said Louis Reichardt, American Alpine Club Award Selection Committee in a news release. “In addition to this outstanding record of bold and courageous mountaineering, John has made significant contributions to the mountaineering literature as author of many mountaineering books and has an exemplary record of public service, including leadership roles for the county of Spokane and State of Washington.”
Updated Jan. 12 to include comments from Roskelley.