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  Christine Boskoff missing in China: A helicopter search


Update 1/1/2006: Liu Feng, a liaison worker with the Sichuan Mountaineering Association states that two Chinese military helicopters aborted the search for Christine Boskoff Sunday due to bad weather. According to Liu, the helicopters were dispatched Sunday morning for a search for Christine but had to return to bad weather.

Xinhua reports that the search is on going at the request of the U.S. Embassy. Liu said the military heicopter seach  plannes to resume the search as soon as possible. "The two helicopters are standing by and will take off whenever weather permits," he said.

The ground search did not find any sign of Christine but found the body of Charlie Fowler on Genyen Mountain. Liu guessed that "The two climbers must have used ropes during the ascent, or might have been resting in the same tent when an avalanche occurred,"

Update 12/31/2006: News from the FBSC:  On December 29, 2006, the Field Commander determined that the area where Fowler's body was found has become too hazardous for the established teams to continue the search for Boskoff. The FBSC concurred, halting the search. The search will resume when conditions stabilize, most likely in the spring.

On December 29, 2006, the Field Coordinator in Chengdu reported that a "puja" ceremony has been arranged for Fowler and Boskoff at the Lengu Monastery.

Update 12/28/2006: On December 28, 2006, the body found on December 27, 2006 was confirmed to be that of Charlie Fowler. It appears probable that the cause of death was an avalanche. Fowler was not wearing a harness nor was he roped. He was wearing crampons and a large pack. At this point, there is no evidence of Boskoff but the search continues...

Update: On December 26, 2006, the Field Coordinator in Chengdu reported that the Field Search Teams visited the Genyen Monastery and confirmed that Fowler and Boskoff stopped in on November 12, 2006. The Genyen monks are certain of the date because of a festival that occurred that day. They also confirmed that Fowler and Boskoff camped a few minutes from the monastery that night. They told the monks that they planned to travel north of the monastery and probably return for a visit in 4 days. The monks said they had not seen any people go north of the monastery since Fowler and Boskoff’s visit. They also reported that it had snowed 3-5cm during the festival, and continued to snow thru November 14, 2006 for a total of 23cm. The search is now concentrated on the two mountains to the north of Genyen monastery. One is Genyen Peak, the other is a 5807m peak.

• On December 27, 2006, a body, mostly buried in the snow, was spotted at 1:30pm (China time) by a Chinese member of one of the Field Search Teams. The location is at an approximate altitude of 5300m (17,388 feet), 3 hours above Lenggu Monastery in the Genyen Region. The body is currently unidentified and is not confirmed to be either Fowler or Boskoff. Details of the sighting include modern climbing equipment, blue gaitors, and grey boots. Dave Hillon, Chief, Consular Section U.S. Consulate General, Chengdu, China has notified both of the families. Hillon also reported that cooperation by the Chinese authorities has helped immensely to maintain an accelerated effort by all parties involved. The plan now is for additional Field Search Teams to return to the same area to confirm the identity of the body and to look for additional climbers and/or evidence.

Two Updates: The search for Christine Boskoff and Charlie Fowler continues in China. However, according to Liu Feng, an official with the Sichuan Mountaineering Association the focus is on Genie Mountain. A driver dropped them off in the town of Lamaya, near the Tibet border, on Nov. 11. The told the driver they planned to climb Genie Mountain.

Their luggage was found, Chinese state media reported Monday, in the home of the driver in the village of Lamaya. He said they would return in 2 weeks but never did....

Hope? A China Daily Web site reported yesterday that a man in Chendu, China, saw a man and woman on December 10th on a highway in south central China. The couple were spotted in the same area that search teams have been focusing on. But it seems very strange if this was Chris and Charlie that they would have not contacted someone...by now.....

Earlier update: Fowler-Boskoff Search Committee (FBSC) 12/20/06 • Telluride CO

SITUATION

Colorado-based climbers Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff are missing and presumed to be either on or below a remote mountain near the town of Dequen in Yunnan Province, China, or near the towns of Litang and Batang in Sichuan Province, China.

TIMELINE & ACTIONS 

• On December 11, 2006, Mark Gunlogson, President of Mountain Madness (Boskoff’s company in Seattle WA), confirmed that the pair was not on their scheduled flight back to the U.S. on December 4, 2006.

• On December 12, 2006, the FBSC was formed in Telluride as a linked and parallel search effort. 

• In order to narrow the search area by putting together a short list of possible stops and destinations by the pair, information was assembled from Fowler and Boskoff’s last email communications with friends and family, and from Fowler’s computer that was left behind with his business partner.

• On December 13, 2006, the FBSC proposed to Mountainfilm In Telluride that it could establish an account under its non-profit umbrella to accept tax deductible donations from anywhere in the world for the search effort. Mountainfilm agreed.

• On December 14, the FBSC established a funding goal of $75,000 in order to fully implement the strategic phasing of a ground search, a possible search-and-rescue, and a search from the air.

• On December 15, the FBSC enlisted two China-based field managers. This has enabled two coordinated search groups to set out to the two locations that the FBSC has deemed probable.

• On December 18, 2006, the Chief of the Consular Section U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu, China, reported that the governments of Yunnan and Sichuan Province and the Tibetan Autonomous Region are officially working on the Fowler-Boskoff case.

• On December 18, 2006, the field manager in Chengdu reported:

-          Two foreigners were sighted about a month ago in a village north of Batang, one of the primary search areas (near Yangmalong Peak). A search team in the area was directed to focus their efforts on tracking down more information on this report.

-          Four teams are currently out:

o        Deqin: checking both entrance points to Unnamed Peak 6509

o        Batang: Checked out Batang County seat together with government officials including County Chief. No records in hotels, one possible sighting a month ago in a restaurant.

o        Litang County: Confirmed sighting of Charlie and Christine in an Internet café around the time of the November 8 email to friends in the U.S. Two unconfirmed sightings of them between November 15 and 20. Driver stated that Christine inquired about cars to Deqin. Also checking out rumors of a car accident on the Litang–Ganzi road in Xinlong County (north of Litang).

o        Genyen: Checking out Genyen monasteries with a high monk.

-          Two New Zealanders were robbed at knifepoint in Genyen area in October. They did not resist but their interpreter was injured. The attackers have not been found. 

• On December 19, 2006, a concerted effort to corral politically weighted support for the search in hopes of elevating awareness at high levels within China was mounted from both Telluride CO and Seattle WA:

-          Colorado Senator Ken Salazar (D-Colo) sent a letter to the U.S. Ambassador in Beijing expressing gratitude for the consular support—recent and future—regarding all aspects the search.

-          The American Alpine Club contacted Representative Mark Udall (D-Colo) about the situation.

-          Colleagues of former Washington Governor Gary Locke informed the Chief of Staff to Premier Wen JiaBao in person of the situation and the search efforts underway in the two provinces.

-          Current Washington Governor Christine Gregoire sent a letter to the Governor of their sister city in Sichuan Province requesting support for the search. 

• On December 20, 2006, the field manager in Chengdu reported:

-          Found by one of the daily search teams in Litang in a visitors book at a restaurant:

o        9 November 06: “Great food and people, enjoyed the food. The mountains around Yading are awesome. Countryside reminds us of home. We’ll be back.” - Chris Boskoff and Charlie Fowler, Norwood, Colorado, US

-          A reward has been set up in the amount of 30,000 RMB (approx. $4,000 USD) for information leading to the whereabouts of Fowler and Boskoff

o        The monies were officially (and physically) handed to the Sichuan Mountaineering Association (SMA) today with a Sichuan TV station crew filming

o        The “Missing” posters have been reprinted and redistributed with the reward info

o        The Field Team in Dongba stated that, “the reward is attracting a lot of attention.” 

• On December 20, 2006, CCN International from Beijing arrived in Chengdu to cover the story. They will “shadow” a field team heading for Kangding on December 21 and then travel on to Litang and Batang. Highlighted will be the search itself, the reward, the cooperation between the SMA and the search teams, and the towns themselves.

Earlier Update: Boskoff/Fowler Search and Rescue Fund: A new account has been established to accept donations for the Boskoff-Fowler search effort.

The account is titled The Boskoff-Fowler Search and Rescue Fund. It is a Fortune Bank account and the account number is 2000032. Mailing address is Fortune Bank, 1201 Third Ave., Suite 700, Seattle, WA 98101. You can contact Ronnie Henderson at Fortune Bank at 206-403-8023 if you questions.

All checks should be made to The Boskoff-Fowler Search and Rescue Fund. To make a wire transfer, banking information is:

Routing/Transit Number: 121042484
Abbreviated Name: Pac Cst Bkers Bk SF
Credit to: Fortune Bank
Account Number: 125008877
For Further Credit To: #2000032 Boskoff/Fowler Search and Rescue Fund

* All donations are non-refundable. Donations to the Fund will be used specifically to defray costs related to the search and rescue and effort. Any surplus funds may be used for related purposes at the discretion of the Mountain Madness Board of Directors.

Update: Searchers are out in the field looking....

Update 12/18/2006: Several readers have requested updates. Very little news... Search parties hope to find them, but no news yet.  Donations are being accepted, if anyone wishes to donation please let us know and we will put you in touch with the right people.

The last time we talked with Chris, she talked about how much she wanted to go on this trip and just climb....

Background: Christine Feld Boskoff in known as America’s leading female alpinist and CEO of Mountain Madness, (an adventure travel and expedition operator.); in actuality she has climbed the most summits of any woman alive, from any country (at the time she stopped climbing 8000 meters peaks). Christine, a Wisconsin native was born in 1967; in 1993 she took a two day climbing course. Four years later she became the first woman from North America to reach the summit of Lhotse. In 2000 she led a successful expedition to the summit of Mount Everest.

The first mountain Christine climbed was in the Bolivian Andes, 17,000ft Tariji. After this first success she began organizing climbing expeditions to Africa, Mexico, Europe and North America. In 1994 she made her first trip to Asia and climbed Ama Dablam. In 1997 Christine bought the name, Mountain Madness. Mountain Madness is a company which was started by Scott Fisher; however Scott lost his life while guiding clients to the summit of Everest in 1996. Christine has turned Mountain Madness into one of America’s finest climbing schools and 8000m expedition leaders.

Christine has been a member of eight 8000m expeditions, six of which were successful in reaching the summits. She has reached the top of Shishapangma, Everest, Gasherbrum II, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, and Broad Peak. Other accomplishments include Jilliper North and Ganaio in Pakistan; she has made winter ascents of Mt. Angor, Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya in Africa, she has climbed Mt. Blanc and the Matterhorn in Europe and climbed extensively throughout North and South America.

She is the only American woman alive to have reached the summit of 6 8000 Meter peaks. She also has an extensive record of unexplored first ascents, primarily in Tibet. Committed to living her dreams, Christine will be guiding Cho Oyu and attempting to climb K2 in 2002. She was the first North American woman to summit Lhotse. 

She has taken part in 9 8000 meter expeditions, being successful on 6, including Everest, when she summitted from the S. Col/SE Ridge, on May 24, 2000 (a Mountain Madness expedition with Peter Habeler). Christine lives in Seattle, Washington.

Just the Facts: Christine Boskoff: American born 9/7/67, with her 6 8000M summits is now tied for second all time for women. Christine has summitted Broad Peak (8/13/95), Cho Oyu (9/27/96), Lhotse (5/26/97), Gasherbrum II (8/19/99), Everest (5/24/00), and [the main TRUE summit] Shishapangma on 10/10/00 by the British route on the Southwest face.

 

 

 

 

 

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