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scott fischer wes krause on mt. everest into thin air

Scott Fischer


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.

Mountain Madness  founder Scott Fischer mountaineer into thin air and climber

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. 

Scott Fischer Mount Everest Summit
Scott 1
Scott at the MM office

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.”