A bill introduced in Congress on May 25 would name two 13,000-foot peaks in the Wilson Range after two well-known mountaineers from Norwood.
U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R), along with U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez), have introduced a bill to name the peaks in honor of Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff, who died in a 2006 avalanche while attempting to summit Genyen Peak in Tibet.
“Not only were Charlie and Christine two of the most accomplished climbers in the world, but they also were integral members of our southwest Colorado community,” Bennet said. “Throughout their careers, they were always giving back, mentoring students, advocating for human rights, and introducing people to their love of climbing.”
Over the course of their careers, Fowler and Boskoff summited several 26,000-foot mountain peaks, including Mount Everest. Fowler, who was known in Southwest Colorado for building climbing walls in schools, received the Robert and Miriam Underhill Award for outstanding mountaineering achievement from the American Alpine Club in 2004. Boskoff, who was one of the world’s most accomplished American female mountain climbers, contributed countless hours to nonprofit organizations that supported the rights of porters and Sherpas, women’s education, global literacy and gender equality. She is considered one of the most accomplished female climbers in North America, and owned Mountain Madness, still considered one of leading mountaineering schools and international guide services in America.
Steve Johnson, Fowler’s good friend and climbing partner, has been working toward naming the peaks after the couple for years. He and Fowler worked on access issues together, including for Wilson Peak, put up first ascents on local crags and served on San Miguel Search and Rescue together.
“Charlie and Chris supported wild areas and climbing adventures, and these peaks represent that,” said Johnson, a Telluride attorney. “The bill highlights the growing role of recreation in our public lands and adventurous spirit of Western Colorado.”
Fowler was a well-loved, ultimate dirt-bag climber who eventually reached the pinnacle of the sport, Johnson said. He traveled the world on mountaineering adventures with Boskoff, returning home to climb with locals and promote the sport.
“He built the first climbing walls in Norwood, Ridgway and Telluride, and developed new climbing routes in the area,” Johnson said. “He was really inspiring and treated local climbing partners like equals. He also had a real affinity for people and would come back with amazing photographs of locals from faraway mountain regions.”
The Fowler and Boskoff Peaks Designation Act would designate two unnamed 13,000-foot mountain peaks on the border of San Miguel and Dolores counties after the couple. The peaks are located in the Uncompahgre National Forest near Navajo Basin and Elk Creek Basin and the Wilson Range, about 10 miles southwest of Telluride and five miles northwest of Lizard Head Pass on Colorado Highway 145. The mountains offer many opportunities for recreational climbing and hiking. The bill to name them after the climbers was recently referred to the subcommittee on federal lands for review.
“I am glad to join my colleagues in proposing legislation to honor the memories of Fowler and Boskoff, who were outstanding mountaineers and advocates for our nation’s treasured open spaces,” Tipton said. “Their will live on in these peaks for generations to come.”
The following organizations also support the designation: The Access Fund, the American Alpine Club, the American Mountain Guides Associations, the Colorado Mountain Club, the Mountain Film Board of Directors, Osprey Packs, San Miguel County Commissioners, Dolores County Commissioners, Telluride Ski & Golf Resort, and the Wright Stuff Community Foundation.