SPOKANE, Wash.—A former Spokane County Commissioner was getting international attention for his alpinist accomplishments in 2014. John Roskelley was awarded the Piolets d’Or Lifetime Achievement Award. Only five other alpinists in the world had ever received the award. Roskelley was the first American.
Roskelley is known around the world for his difficult and daring expeditions.
Roskelley and his climbing partner Chris had been climbing for 50 years. Roskelley, Chris and two other Spokane climbers were the first Americans to climb Mt. Makalu in Nepal.
The mountain is the fifth highest mountain in the world at 28,000 feet.
"We did one of the hardest routes in the world. Without Sherpas and without oxygen and it's the fifth highest mountain in the world,” said Roskelley.
Roskelley was the first American to climb K2 in Pakistan in 1978. He was the first person ever to reach the summit of Garishanker in Nepal and Uhlibiaho in Pakistan. He also climbed Mt. Everest with his son in 2003.
A climbing committee awarded Roskelley with Piolets d’Or lifetime achievements award in Courmayeur, Italy.
"To be selected among this group is really a humbling experience,” said Roskelley. “More than anything I think the award tells me I chose the right partners over the time I've been climbing."
Roskelley said he hoped the award would bring more attention to many other talented climbers in Spokane.
His achievements inducted him into the Empire Hall of Fame. He also won the National Underhill Award for Alpinism from the American Alpine Club.