Wednesday, December 27, 2006

looking for chris

* 12/29 - Sad addendum. Was officially announced that Christine is "presumed dead"; also confirmed that Charlie Fowler was the climber found. Chris was not tied to him as originally assumed. Friends & colleagues agree that she died the only way she would have wanted -- on the mountain.

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.

Christine Boskoff of Mountain Madness

Ps. I don't know Charlie Fowler, but I wish the same for him too.


Anonymous said...

I'll hold good thoughts for your friend ~ she sounds like a remarkably strong and courageous woman.

Anonymous said...

the wait is always so agonizing.....I'll pray for both families.

Anonymous said...

on both sides of the world. Mt Hood claiming lives on this side.

I have to say it - I'm thankful I don't know any of theses people

I'm sorry for those of you who do.

mist1 said...

And just like that...I'm an a$$hole for comparing my current sleeping quarters to Everest.

Bibi said...

Becca ... if anyone can come out of this, I'm sure she will. ANd she only climbs with the best so that goes for her partner too.

Kiyotoe ... thank you. I am sure they appreciate it.

Pamela ... mmmm, not a sport for the feint hearted or for families with feint hearts. I hope they find the other two Mt. Hood climbers soon.

Mist1 ... not at all. Experience is all relative and yours sounded pretty stringent compared to Western living.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...


Let's hope good fortune prevails and your friend emerges unscathed

Frank Baron said...

Add my wishes to the pile. Hopefully, enough of them will provide some psychic heat.

Anonymous said...

Vicki, I'll be keeping watch for news. I hope everything's okay. Either way, you know I'm here to talk to if you need. You know that I'm an armchair mountain climber--it fascinates me and I love watching shows on it and reading about the pursuit. It's dangerous, but hey, life itself is a risk. Anything can happen to anyone, at any time, on a mountain side, or right in your backyard, so you might as well do what you love and be happy.

Hugs and love,

Bibi said...

Ultra Toast and Frank ... appreciate your wishes for them and their families.

Yazza ... her colleagues at Mtn Madness believe she is gone and it seems impossible that she could have survived this long ... but I prefer to wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Obviously I truly hope for their safe return, but if the worst turns out to be true, at least we could say that they met their fate living life to the full and pursuing a dream that they loved...

kj said...

bibi, i am reading your post after you left such kind and wonderful comments on my and ces' blogs. i came to visit you and my heart has slowed as i read about your personal connection with christine. i have been following the search through the news.

i will add my prayers to yours.

thanks again for stopping by, bibi. i look forward to visiting you again soon.

best wishes,

Anonymous said...

V--saw on the news that the body is that of Charlie, not Christine, and so far, they have no sign of her. I feel for him, for his family, and yet am torn because I'm glad you don't have to face her loss at this time. And yet, if she *is* gone, then finding out is often a blessing. These situations are always complicated, filled with both wanting and dreading knowledge.

Hugs and love, and hold out hope--strange things happen in this world, and people survive even in incredibly difficult circumstances.


Bibi said...

Ant, KJ, and Yazza, thank you all. I just heard that they announced her 'presumed dead' and I echo her colleagues sentiments, that she went the only way she would have wanted it ... on the mountain.

John Ivey said...

All I can say is I'm sorry for your loss, though it's still not official yet. I will look forward to your sharing with your readers your Christine Boskoff story when the time is right. She found her true passion and pursued it to its pinnacle -- quite literally -- and if the cost was her life, she still comes out ahead in life's ledger book. She achieved for herself what few do -- true self-fulfillment. The little I know of her tells me this is so. I hope I'm right.

Bibi said...

Thank you John. I believe you are right. She is/was an inspirational woman on many levels and I am sure it provides comfort to everyone, knowing that this happened while she was doing what she loved most.