Beginning in 1970, Scott Fischer climbed the world’s highest, most challenging peaks and also introduced the intensity and the joy of the mountains to many.
He was on Mt. Everest, K2, (both without oxygen) the Matterhorn, El Capitan, Mt. Blanc, Peak Communism and the Diamond Couloir of Mt. Kenya, to name just a few. He was one of less than ten Americans to have summited on K2 and the first American to climb Lhotse, the world’s fourth highest peak. He also made the second successful climbs on the Breach Icicle on Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Scott grew up in Michigan and New Jersey, but his symbiotic relationship with the mountains began with a documentary film he watched with his father in 1970 about NOLS, the National Outdoor Leadership School. He headed to the Wind River Range in Wyoming that summer and never looked back. His love of the mountains was deep and he would spend the rest of his life pursuing the peaks.
Scott co-founded Mountain Madness with Wes Krause in 1984 after he and his wife moved to the Pacific Northwest. The company began in the close proximity of the Cascade and Olympic mountain range — a huge playground for the Seattle-based office — and immediately expanded to include international adventures as well. As a seasoned climbing instructor with a natural leadership style, he understood that the discovery and challenge of mountaineering could transform people’s lives. As a mentor, his strength, tenacity, good humor, and go-for-it attitude were the traits he passed on to his two children, along with all those he shared the mountains with.
Scott climbed not only for personal reward, but also to help others. He was an advocate for the less fortunate and helped raise funds for both AIDS research and the international relief organization CARE. Always conscious of the gift of nature, he received the David Brower Award for his leadership of the 1994 Sagarmatha Environmental Expedition, the year he also reached that venerated summit his first time. The American Alpine Club established the Scott Fischer Memorial Conservation Fund, which is awarded to environmentally proactive expeditions throughout the world.
In May of 1996, Scott climbed Everest for a second time while leading others to the top of the world.
In the now well-known story written in the pages of “Into Thin Air” and “The Climb,” Scott perished high on Everest during a savage storm that developed during the group’s descent. While everyone else from his team returned safely, Scott remained behind during the descent and never made it back to the South Col. As he demonstrated many times, he would gladly have done whatever he felt was required to help another climber, even if it meant risking his own life. Scott Fischer loved people. His absence will forever be felt by those fortunate enough to have shared his enthusiasm for the mountains and his zest for life.
His legacy lives on as Mountain Madness continues to bring the beauty and excitement of adventure to those who pursue it. The company’s philosophy maintains the vision of achieving serious, high quality guiding and instruction while having the most fun possible.
Many of our trips are Fischer classics carefully designed to blend the physical challenge of climbing and trekking with the cultural and aesthetic experiences of the last best places on earth.
Our approach to life and business are the same — enjoy and immerse yourself in the experience. As Scott often said, “Life is life — you can go through it cruisin’ or you can go through it bummin’. It’s your choice.”