Chris was one of the premier female alpinists in the world. She climbed six of the world’s fourteen 8,000-meter peaks — Everest, Cho Oyu, Gasherbrum II, Lhotse, Shishapangma and Broad Peak. She also climbed six of the Seven Summits — Aconcagua, Carstensz Pryamid, Elbrus, Everest, Kilimanjaro and Vinson Massif.
Christine Feld Boskoff was born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin, and spent her childhood years keeping up with her three older brothers. In high school she excelled in math, science, and sports. She put herself through the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, where she was one of few female engineering students. After graduating, she was hired by Lockheed in Atlanta at age 24. “I began climbing the walls at Lockheed,” she laughed, “and then realized that I could climb the walls at the indoor gym in Atlanta instead.” There, she met Keith Boskoff, an experienced climber and successful architect 15 years her senior. Keith took her on a trip to Ecuador, where they climbed the country’s high-altitude volcanoes. She was smitten both with the man and the mountains. In short order, Chris quit her job, married Keith, and committed to climbing full-time.
Chris and Keith first met Scott Fischer in 1995 while climbing Broad Peak. Unbeknownst to them, they would take over the leadership of Mountain Madness two years later, after Scott died on Everest. As the company’s leaders, they used their climbing experience and love for people and the mountains to continue Scott’s dream of bringing the beauty and excitement of adventure to anyone who wanted it. Sadly, Keith passed away in 1999 and it fell to Chris to keep her passion for both climbing and Mountain Madness alive. The company blossomed under her leadership and it allowed her to further her own dreams along with the dreams of her clients.
In December 2006 she and her climbing partner, Charlie Fowler, were scheduled to return from a personal climbing adventure in the Sichuan Province of China. When they didn’t, it was with great concern that our office began the effort to determine their whereabouts, an effort that ultimately led to Genyen Peak. Once there, the search and rescue team found Charlie’s body at the base of the north face. Christine remained missing until the summer, but a recovery effort then was hampered by poor weather and rock fall hazards to the recovery team. In September 2007, with improved conditions for the recovery team, she was recovered and her remains cremated in China for return home to the U.S.
For many, her success as a female climber will standout as an inspiration and serve as a role model. The inspiration lies not directly in her success as a climber, but in her decision to follow her dreams.
Chris was inspirational for many reasons — her big-peak climbing; her business leadership; her even-keeled, positive attitude — but maybe the most inspirational thing about her was her all-in approach to life and her decision to follow her dreams. She left a well-paying job as an aeronautical engineer to take a chance on a company. That gutsy move led her to the highest peaks of the world and offered her a vehicle with which to share her passion. What she left behind for all is Mountain Madness and an appeal to get out there and live big!
To learn more about “The Mountain Life of Christine Boskoff check out the book below.