"Charlotte (Fox) had survived so much," her friend wrote in a tribute, "it was breathtaking and deeply sad that she died … in a household accident."
Charlotte Fox's eyes were frozen behind her contact lenses. The snow began to fall as Fox and her fellow climbers descended from the top of the world, the summit of Mount Everest, where she could see 100 miles in each direction.
But now, in the midst of a blizzard trapped by a hurricane, at temperatures somewhere south of 40 below, she could not see anything. She had no oxygen left. Her feet were numb from frostbite. She was no longer able to keep moving, she folded into the fetal position, huddled with her climbing friends in ice and snow, waiting for it to stop.
"I did not see how we would get out alive," Fox told Jon Krakauer in his book "Into Thin Air," which recounted the infamous 1
Instead, she would survive the night and live another 22 years to to climb countless mountains all over the world. The experience on Mount Everest on the night of May 10, 1996 may have made Fox and her fellow climbers celebrities for some time, but for Fox it was just a rung on the ladder in a life of great heights.
Most Read Nation & World Stories
That's why her friends disbelieved when they died of an apparent fall from their staircase last week at home in Telluride, Colorado. She had just turned 61 years old. Her birthday was the 10th of May.
"Charlotte had survived so much," wrote her friend Alison Osius this week in a tribute to the magazine "Rock And Ice," "It was breathtaking and deeply sad that evening died May 24 in a household accident."
Grown up in North Carolina, Fox spent most of her life at high altitudes and worked as a skipper in Colorado for 30 years, wrote Osius. When she reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1996, she became the first American to climb three mountains at altitudes of 8,000 meters (or higher). She was the first American to reach the 8,000-meter Gasherbrum II in Pakistan in 1994 – which Fox once called her biggest accomplishment in an interview with Rock and Ice – and in 1995 Cho Oyu.
In the two years before her death, she climbed two more 8000 meters and returned home on May 3rd from her last climb on Baruntse, a 7,129 meter high mountain.
Osius should stay at her house on the weekend of May 25th. Fox had invited friends to the popular "Mountainfilm" festival this weekend, and Osius had sent her a text message before she left to climb. "Yes – write me in my love!" Fox wrote to her.
The first friends, Kim Reynolds and Peter O'Neill, arrived in the evening when Fox died. They said goodbye to Fox before going to various dinners, but when they returned around 10:30 pm, they found Fox at the foot of their steep hardwood staircase, Reynolds told the Telluride Daily Planet.
"Finding Your Body" It was a very shocking and difficult thing, "Reynolds told the newspaper, but still, she said," there was something profound about Fox's death. "
" She gave me a present when I arrived, "Reynolds said." She had a birthday recently and said, 'I am happy to be 61 years old. & # 39; , , Those words, "I'm happy," might have come in and out of my ears if that had not happened. , , , To be the last person with her, with my hands on her heart, and to remember the last words she said to me, I must consider it a privilege, not a horror. , , , I have to send her out with love. "
According to the Aspen Times, forensic doctor Fox & # 39; has not yet determined the cause of death, but said that a foul is not suspected, according to Rock And Ice, she is survived by her mother, stepmother, and stepbrother died in a paragliding accident in 2004, Rock And Ice reported.
Osius said it was one of several serious tragedies that Fox endured over the years, including when a longtime friend died in an avalanche in 1993. She never liked to talk about the night, wrote Osius, and always avoided interviewing or making films.
But Osius once asked her what was going on her mind that night, she snuggled in the snow, and Fox told her] "I thought, well, old girl, it was a good trip," she said. "No regrets."