Scott E Fischer (December 24, 1955 – May 11, 1996) was an American climber and guide, and the first American to summit 27,940-foot (8,516 meter) Lhotse, fourth highest mountain in the world. Fischer spent his early life in Michigan and New Jersey and took two years of climbing courses after being inspired at the age of 14 by a show he saw on television. In 1982, he and his wife, Jeannie Price, moved west to Seattle, Washington where they raised two children, Andy and Katie Rose. In the 1984, Fischer formed his own adventure company, Mountain Madness, which he set up to guarantee clients the summit of the world’s highest mountains for fees in the $50,000 range. In 1992, while climbing K2 successfully, he was involved in a daring rescue of Chantal Mauduit, a French woman climber who became severely snow blind. She went on to climb five more eight-thousanders but died in an avalanche on Dhaulagiri (1998). From the 1992 season, Fischer brought a new level of commercialism to adventures from successes of climbing.
He died in the 1996 Everest Disaster on May 11, the worst tragedy in the climbing history of Mount Everest. On May 10, 1996, Fischer, Anatoli Boukreev and Neal Beidleman guided eight of their clients to the summit of Everest. On the descent, the team was caught in a severe snowstorm. All the climbers managed to reach Camp IV on the South Col (7,900 m or 25,900 feet), except Fischer.
Fischer, who had reached the summit at around 3:45pm, had severe difficulties on the descent. Fischer was accompanied by sirdar (chief Sherpa) Lopsang Jangbu, but just below the south summit, Fischer was unable to continue and finally coaxed Lopsang to descend without him. Lopsang did so, with the hopes that he would be able to send someone else back up with additional supplemental oxygen and help Fischer get down. Boukreev, after prematurely descending ahead of his clients earlier in the day, made several attempts to reach Fischer, but turned back on the first two attempts due to the weather, though he succeeded in rescuing several other stranded people.
Finally, around 7pm on May 11, Boukreev was able to reach Fischer’s position, but unfortunately it was too late. Many speculate that Fischer had been suffering from a severe form of altitude sickness, either HACE or HAPE. A memorial cairn for Scott Fischer can be found at the top of a hill near Lobuche, on the trail to Everest base camp.
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Filed under: Climbers, himalaisci/ -tki | Tagged: American, climber, eight-thousanders, Everest Base Camp, famoust, Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, K2, Lobuche, Mountain Madness, Mt Everest, Scott Fischer, South Col |