James Dawson Stelfox MBE, architect and mountaineer well known for the first Irish ascent of Mount Everest in 1993, is born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on March 24, 1958. He is the former chairman of Consarc Design Group and in May 2008, is elected President of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects.
Stelfox attends Rosetta Primary school, then continues his education at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. In 1976 he begins to study architecture at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). His first job is with the conservation architects, Consarc Design Group, which after a brief period of self-employment he rejoins in 1995. He becomes Chairman in 2002.
Among the many projects on which Stelfox has worked are the Parliament Buildings, often referred to as Stormont, Belfast’s Christ Church, the Odyssey Arena and the Ormeau Gas Works. Several of these projects have been premiated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Belfast Civic Trust.
In 1993 Stelfox leads the Irish Everest expedition which contains climbers from both jurisdictions on the island and is supported by both Sports Council as well as private companies. When he reaches the peak of Everest via the North Ridge on May 27, 1993, he becomes the first person from Ireland to do so.
Stelfox is past Chair and current board member of Mountaineering Ireland. He also is the current Chair of Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland, a Belfast not-for-profit organisation who make it easier for people to responsibly enjoy the outdoors.