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Climber Chris Boskoff at base camp in the Himalayas with Mountain Madness

Women’s history month

Johann Gar­ton shares some thoughts on one of Amer­i­ca’s great­est female alpin­ist — Chris­tine Boskoff

As the author of Edge of the Map, I’m often asked what Chris­tine would have want­ed her lega­cy to be. While she sure­ly would’ve been proud of her accom­plish­ments in the moun­tains, I believe her greater wish would have been for peo­ple to remem­ber her desire to live an authen­tic life. 

Like all of us, Chris was filled with both moments of tri­umph and inse­cu­ri­ty. As a woman in the sport of moun­taineer­ing in the late 1990’s, all of those moments fell under scruti­ny. Despite this, she remained stead­fast in her dri­ve to pack each day with things that made her hap­py, if some­what uncon­ven­tion­al at the time. An old Land Rover filled with climb­ing equip­ment instead of tod­dler car seats. An under­grad­u­ate degree in aero­space engi­neer­ing. A wed­ding cake made of bagels. A shift from Chris­tian­i­ty to Bud­dhism as a form of spir­i­tu­al practice. 

It’s impor­tant that we all find some­thing in life that we’re pas­sion­ate about, no mat­ter what it is,” she once said. Even if it’s sell­ing pen­cils on a street corner.” 

Chris elbrus shot
Chrisb everest summit

The les­son she left us to pur­sue authen­tic­i­ty is sim­ple, but its imple­men­ta­tion can be dif­fi­cult. We force our­selves to go for a run when we’d rather take a dance class. We accept that third beer with friends on a Fri­day night when we’d rather be at home watch­ing a movie. We mud­dle through fam­i­ly hol­i­day dra­ma while dream­ing about cre­at­ing new tra­di­tions of our own some year in the future. Whether big or small, I con­tin­ue to think back to how Chris lived as I find my own true self in this wild world. 

My favorite pho­to of Chris is one that shows her as I think she’d want to be seen. With­out climb­ing gear or ropes, nor the label of first woman” this or that, as so often accom­pa­nied her intro­duc­tions. Instead, she’s in a play­ful moment, full of the light and laugh­ter that I know she’d hope we all strive for each day in our own ways. Read more about Chris HERE