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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Father-and-son mountaineers John and Jess Roskelley arrived safely at an advance base camp after reaching the summit of Mount Everest, they said in a satellite telephone interview.

From the base camp at 21,000 feet, Jess Roskelley, 20, said Thursday it felt "pretty good" to be the youngest American to reach the top of the world's tallest mountain.

But the University of Montana student and mountain guide speculated the record wouldn't last for long.

John Roskelley, a Spokane County commissioner, told The Spokesman-Review they endured "pretty bad weather" during the final ascent Wednesday.

"There wasn't much visibility. The winds were in the 35-mile-per-hour range … snowfall and wind, and when you got on top, it was cloudy down below. There wasn't much of a view."

On top of Everest They spent about 10 minutes on the top, leaving prayer flags that were blessed by Tibetan lamas.

Tuesday night, while waiting to ascend, their eyes were frozen and they had trouble seeing, John Roskelley said.

Two members of their Generations on Everest expedition, Dallas businessman Dick Bass, 73, who was attempting to become the oldest person to climb Everest, and Seattle attorney Jim Wickwire, 62, had to abandon their attempts because of physical difficulties.

The Roskelleys overcame their own health problems to make the summit, Wickwire said.

John was forced back to base camp with a throat infection that restricted his breathing. Jess had to go all the way back to Katmandu to see doctors about an infection that was a result of wisdom teeth extractions in January.

"Staying healthy was the hardest part of the climb," Jess Roskelley said Thursday evening, which was Friday morning in Nepal. "If you're sick as you ascend, the worse your sickness gets," he said.

The final attempt Both Roskelleys were able to go back up the mountain to make the final attempt at the summit.

"I went from Katmandu at 5,000 feet to 25,000 feet in six days," Jess Roskelley said.

That showed incredible stamina on Jess's part, Wickwire said.

But Jess didn't have much to say for the food at the top of the world.

"I'm so hungry for a steak," he said. "We've been eating rice and curry … sometimes a Snickers … tiny bits of food."

An obviously proud John Roskelley mostly wanted to talk about his son.

"I really enjoyed your talking on the cell with my son," he said. "I would hope everybody would have the opportunity to spend quality time with their kids. This is one of the best times I've spent with my son."

John Roskelley said the two would probably return to Spokane in eight to 10 days. "It takes awhile to get out of here," he said.

Copyright © 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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