Since I forgot to blog last weekend (what can I say … was the holidays!) I was going to write something flip this morning, in accordance with the creeping dementia that’s part of my current mid-life crisis. But as I logged onto my server home page, two little words smacked me in the face and my stomach fell to the floor.
I’d already moved past the main page so I quickly hit the back button and darted my eyes back and forth for what I thought I’d seen.
Headline reads: One Missing Climber's Body Found in China … but where was that name that so sharply bit into my non-caffeinated brain?
I held my breath as I scanned the page, as though that would change what I was about to read … oh no, please no …
But there it was, in black and white. Courtesy of the Associated Press.
“ … Christine Boskoff a top female climber, and Charlie Fowler, a well-known climber, guide and photographer, were reported missing after they failed to return to the United States on Dec. 4.” Rescuers have located one body but not yet released identification. They suspect the other body may be attached to it under the snow.
Chris has led hundreds of clients to safe summits, including the indomitable Everest—not once, but twice. In October, after successfully leading three Mountain Madness clients to the summit of Cho Oyu at 26,906 ft, she met up with Fowler and they set off on vacation to explore unclimbed peaks in China. It was somewhere there, that they both went missing.
I’d like to tell you the story of how Chris and I met just after she’d purchased Seattle’s Mountain Madness; how hard she’s worked to get to the top of her game, and what a really interesting person she is. I want to tell you how Chris overcame great adversity, yet remained determined, genuine, and down to earth. I’d also like to tell you how much I respect her as a person, as a business woman, and as a climber … how much others respect her as a climbing lead, and how her goal of summiting the top 14 peaks then led into climbing previously unclimbed mountains in China. But it seems inappropriate today; rescuers still don’t know if she’s dead or alive.
In these hours of uncertainty, Christine, I hope beyond hope that your years of meticulous training, championship climbing skills, and survival abilities have lead you to safety. My thoughts are with you and your family, and with the rescue team who is still anxiously looking for you. Come home safely. Come home soon.
Ps. I don't know Charlie Fowler, but I wish the same for him too.