‘Less Fun In World’ After Climber’s Death On Everest

SUNDAY, JUNE 9, 1996

The golden-haired man smiled from many photos - sometimes from the peak of Earth’s highest mountain, sometimes in quiet repose with his children.

But even then, the essence of Scott Fischer had not quite been captured.

Fischer was 40 years old when he died May 10, killed in a storm that roared in without warning while he and 12 other climbers were descending the summit of Mount Everest.

And the hundreds of people who gathered in sunshine on Saturday to remember him found it hard to put into words what he had meant to them.

“There will be less fun in the world now that Scott’s not with us. That’s all I can say. He was one of the best,” said David McGovern, whose voice broke as he remembered his friend of 23 years.

The memorial was at Camp Long, a park Fischer used to frequent with his wife, Jeannie, and children, Andy, 9, and Katie Rose, 5.

Friends and family mourned, reminisced and celebrated Fischer. A small tent was set up with a photo collage of his life. Some of his favorite music was played - pieces by the Grateful Dead, Bob Seger, Eric Clapton and Pink Floyd.

“I’ve never climbed a mountain, but if I were to, I would want Scott leading my climb,” wrote one friend. “I’m so very sorry that he’s gone. We don’t have nearly enough heroes on this earth.”

“He was a very strong person. He was my best friend, my brother,” said Lopsang Jangbu Sherpa, 23, who had hiked the rest of the way in search of a rescue party when Fischer was too sick and exhausted to continue the uncertain descent from the 29,028-foot summit.

It was freezing cold, dark and windy and the climbers had lost the path, Sherpa said before the hourlong service on the city’s west side.

“I think of Scott every day.”

“It was all about us pitching in and getting to know Scott as one person,” said fellow climber Vivian Poer, who put the photo collage together with Fischer’s wife.

Poer was one of the 17 climbers to scale Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro in January with Fischer as part of an effort that raised $1 million in donations for CARE, an international relief organization.

“His spirit was so large. I still see his infectious grin, his wink,” Poer said.

As a climber, Fischer had literally reached amazing peaks.

In 1990, he was the first American to ascend 27,923-foot Mount Lhotse, the world’s fourth-highest mountain adjacent to Everest. In 1992, he climbed the secondhighest peak, K2, and scaled Everest last summer.

Last August, he led an expedition safely down Broad Peak in Pakistan during a storm that killed British climber Alison Hargreaves on nearby K2.

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