Everest climber and Telluride local Charlotte Fox died on Thursday after an apparent fall down a flight of steep stairs at home. Back in the 90’s she was the first American woman to climb 3 peaks over 8,000m and had continued climbing right up until the time of hear death. Most famously, Fox was a survivor of the Everest accident chronicled in Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air.”
In May 1996, Fox was part of an Everest climbing group that reached the top of the world, but was caught in a blizzard on their descent. Her group spend the night huddled together on the southeast ridge with no shelter as their supplemental oxygen eventually ran out. Windchills reached an estimated -100 degrees F and eight climbers died from exposure. Charlotte Fox was one of lucky survivors of what still ranks as one of the deadliest single days in Everest’s history.
The sad irony of Charlotte’s death from a fall down the stairs is lost on no one. She’d climbed all of Colorado’s 14ers, all of the Seven Summits, and more 8,000 meter peaks than any American woman. She continued to climb 8,000 meter peaks into her sixties, with plans to do at least one more. Without a doubt, Fox was a total badass.
Fox had spent 24 years in Aspen as a Snowmass ski patroller before moving to Telluride in 2007. She was a beloved member of both communities and will be missed by many.