Jess Roskelley has been an extreme athlete and mountain guide for half of his 30 years. He grew up in an outdoor sports family, hiking, backpacking, climbing and mountain biking throughout the west.
“My dad used to put me on his back and we would mountain bike through the Tetons, the Selkirks, and other mountain ranges looking for moose, elk and antelope,” Jess said. “He took me on many climbs as well and, as I grew older, I knew then that mountain climbing was in my blood.”
Jess was a three-sport varsity athlete throughout high school, competing in wrestling, cross-country and track, sports that developed endurance, strength and determination. He also raced mountain bikes around the Pacific Northwest and snowboarded during the winters.
Jess passed the Rainier Mountain Guides exam at age 18 and began guiding clients on Mt.Rainier. During his breaks from multiple ascents of Washington’s highest peak, he would find more challenging alpine climbs throughout the Cascades, developing a passion for more extreme mixed ice and rock routes.
“Extreme alpine climbing challenges me mentally and physically,” Jess said, “There are so few activities where rigorous training and past experience are essential to making immediate and critical life and death decisions.”
In 2003, Jess reached the summit of Everest via the North Col/North Ridge Tibet route, becoming at the age of 20 the youngest American to stand on top at the time. He’s gone on to challenge peaks and routes throughout the world, focusing on unclimbed lines and other extreme alpine routes.