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.”
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