Scott Fischer: Mountain Madness Pioneer On 1996 Everest Disaster

“Life is life — you can go through it cruisin’ or you can go through it bum­min’. It’s your choice.”

Scott Fisher was an American mountaineer and guide who lost his life at the top of the world, Mount Everest (8848.86m), during the wildest snowstorm on Everest in 1996 while descending from the peak.

The late mountaineer is prominent for summiting the world’s highest peaks, such as Mount Everest and K2 (8,611 m), without supplemental oxygen. Also, Fischer and fellow American mountaineer Wally Berg were the first Americans to summit the world’s fourth-highest eight-thousander, Lhotse.

Who Is Scott Fisher? Early Years


Muskegon, Michigan native Scott Fischer was born on 24th December 1955 to Shirley and Gene Fischer. His full name was Scott Eugene Fischer, and he came from a mixed ethnic background composed of German, Dutch, and Hungarian. He had two sisters: Rhonda and Lisa.

One fine day, Fischer’s dad called him to watch a TV documentary, “Thirty Days to Survival,” about National Outdoor Leadership School, motivating him to explore the outdoors. Thrilled with the documentary that summer Fisher visited the Wind River Range in Wyoming and couldn’t get out of mountain love.

At 14, he took a NOLS Adventure Course and became a mountain instructor by that time. Back home, he was no more that kid who loved playing. Instead, his interest from quarterback switched to climbing in the Shawangunks of New York.

After high school, he quit his studies. Rather than books, he wanted to study mountains; hence, he moved to Wyoming and began climbing in earnest.

In 1977, Fischer climbed the frozen Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon, where he met an accident but survived. In 1984, Fischer and Wes Krause summited Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, becoming the second-ever team to scale after Reinhold Messner and Konrad Renzler in 1978.

Scott Fisher’s Love Life: Who Is His Wife?

Scott Fischer met Jeannie Price, his future wifey, in 1974 at Wind River Peak in the Wyoming Rocky Mountains. Also, Price was Fischer’s student in a National Outdoor Leadership School course.

The couple dated for many years before marrying in 1981. The following, the newlywed couple relocated to Seattle, where they would expand their family. They shared two children: Andy and Katie Rose Fischer-Price.

Jeannie Price, a former pilot, says she is happy that her husband died in the mountain. “I would feel cheated if Scott had been killed in a car crash,” Price said.

Mountain Madness

Scott Fischer Memorial on the outskirts of Dughla Villlage

Mountain Madness was Fischer’s dream from the 1970s, which happened to be fulfilled in 1984. The trekking company was founded in collaboration with two mountaineering guides, Wes Krause and Michael Allison.

Though Allison took his hand back from the company: Fischer and Krause remained till the end. During his tenure, Fishers led clients to climb major mountain peaks worldwide.

As a Mountain Madness guide, Fischer took an expedition in 1993, Climb for the Cure on Denali in Alaska. It was organized by eight students at Princeton University, raising $280,000 for the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

Fischer and Rob Hall submitted the highest point on earth, Mount Everest, without supplemental oxygen the following year. Not only that, but the expedition also helped remove 5000 pounds of waste along with 150 abandoned oxygen cylinders from Everest.

In January 1996, Mountain Madness guided an ascent of the highest peak in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m), with the motive of fundraising.

K2 Asscent Without Supplemental Oxygen

Scott Fischer

In 1992, Fischers, as a member of a Russian-American expedition, climbed the second-highest peak, K2 (8,611 m). During ascending, he fell into a crevasse; from god grace, he was lucky to be alive but suffered a torn rotator cuff of his right shoulder. The doctor had strictly advised him to take rest. However, after two weeks of resting, he was eager to climb, so with the help of his climbing partner Ed Viesturs, he taped his shoulder and tied it up to his waist so it would not continue to dislocate. Then, he resumed the climb with his left arm only.

However, the attempt could have been successful, but only if they had not stopped to rescue Chantal Mauduit, Aleskei Nikiforov, and Thor Keiser. Finally, Fischer and Ed Viesturs reached the summit on their second, and Charley Maceattempt in his first summit without supplemental oxygen.

While descending from K2, they encountered fellow climbers Rob Hall and Gary Ball suffering from altitude sickness at camp II. Though Hall’s health improved gradually, Ball needed help from Fischer and the other climbers to descend.

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What happened to Scott in Everest? (1996 Mount Everest disaster)

What happened to Scott in Everest? (1996 Mount Everest disaster)

In 1996. Fisher, the owner of Mountain Madness, organized an Expedition to Mount Everest. The team included 18 climbing members, including two guides Anatoli Boukreev and Neal Beidleman, eight Sherpas under Lopsang Jangbu Sherpa, and eight climbing clients.

On 6th May, the team left base camp, heading to the summit. However, after reaching to Camp II high up at 6,400 m, he found that his friend Dale Kruse was ill and was unable to ascend with them from Camp I. Fischer then descended to Camp I to meet Kruse and descend to base camp with him.

After that, Fischer, again from the base camp, rejoined his team at Camp II. Exhausted with frequent up and down, Fischer slowed his ascent to Camp III (7,200m).

On 9th May, he ascended to Camp IV at the South Col (7,950m). The next day, he summited Mount Everest much late, at 3:45 PM, due to the high number of climbers summiting on the same day. After the ascent, he gradually became ill, suspected of suffering from HAPE, HACE, or both.

When the blizzard started, Fisher was with his Sherpa guide, Lopsang Jangbu Sherpa. Near the Southeast ridge balcony (8,400m). Fisher urges his Sherpa guide to descend alone and send Anatoli Boukreev back for help.

Two other Sherpas came to the rescue the following day and reached Fischer, who was already unresponsive. The Sherpas placed an oxygen mask over Fischer’s face and carried down the Taiwanese expedition leader, Gau Ming-Ho.

When Boukreev reached to help, Fischer was not alive. Boukreev saw Fisher had exhibited paradoxical undressing. Boukreev stated,

His oxygen mask is around his face, but the bottle is empty. He is not wearing mittens; his hands are completely bare. The down suit is unzipped, pulled off his shoulder, and one arm is outside clothing. There is nothing I can do. Scott is dead.

Boukreev gave Fischer a funeral, covering Fisher’s upper torso, and removed his body from the climbing route.

How old was Scott Fischer when he died?

Scott Fischer was only forty years old when he died. His body is still on Mount Everest but can not be viewed like other prominent corpses such as Green Boots.


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