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Wednesday, October 21, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Riverside State Park Rock climbing competition, party to honor Jess Roskelley, raise money for trailhead

Jess Roskelley climbs at Deep Creek, a popular climbing area in Spokane. A toilet will be installed at Deep Creek and the trailhead will be updated in honor of Roskelley who died in 2019. (Jon Jonckers / COURTESY)
Jess Roskelley climbs at Deep Creek, a popular climbing area in Spokane. A toilet will be installed at Deep Creek and the trailhead will be updated in honor of Roskelley who died in 2019. (Jon Jonckers / COURTESY)

Jess Roskelley, an elite alpine climber from Spokane who died in April, will be honored at the inaugural JessFest Climbing Competition.

The Sept. 28 event will raise money to install a toilet, picnic shelter and table at the Deep Creek climbing area trail head as well as a memorial to Roskelley. Roskelley was killed when a cornice collapsed above him while climbing in Canada.

Deep Creek was Roskelley’s favorite place to climb locally, friend and climbing partner Scott Coldiron said.

“It’s a very popular trailhead,” Coldiron, an organizer of the event, said. “I think it’s world-class sport climbing and yet there is a dirt parking lot with space for 10 cars and no bathroom.”

Spearheaded by the Bower Climbing Coalition, the entire trailhead remodel will cost about $80,000.

According to a news release sent by the BCC, the first two years of JessFest will focus on fundraising. After that, the event will “morph into a regional climbing competition, with proceeds going to the Jess Roskelley Memorial Fund currently being formed by Jess’ family.”

This year’s event will feature a free climbing clinic taught by guides from Spokane’s Inland Northwest Climbing Outfitters. The clinics will focus on transitioning from indoor climbing to outdoor climbing.

The climbing competition will feature the best Spokane-area male and female climbers “basically putting on a show” for spectators. Although this year’s competition is invitation-only, Coldiron said the hope is to open the competition to everyone in future years.

Following the competition, there will a silent auction, raffle, pizza and beer. All money from the raffle goes toward the trail head remodel. Finally, at 6:30 p.m., “Reel Rock 7” will be screened.

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