I’ve been sort of following this story for the last couple of weeks, and today comes the sad news that they found Charlie Fowler’s body on a peak in China. I didn’t know Charlie well, but for a couple of years, he was my next door neighbor in Telluride. He was a kind, softspoken guy who was a little older than we were and who had climbed a whole bunch of impressive peaks in Asia and South America. I lived next to this big blue house full of climber guys — it was an ever-changing group. This was before Telluride got so fancy, when there still were big blue frame houses, leaning a little to one side, that a bunch of raggedy climber guys could rent. When I was in grad school, one of my friends went to Mexico to climb over Christmas and came back gobsmacked that he’d met someone at a high camp who knew me. It was one of the guys from the big blue house. It sounds like Charlie had found a great partner in Christine Boskoff, and while it’s a cliché, there has to be some consolation that they died on the mountain, together, doing what they loved — exploring a new peak, way out in the backcountry, in the gorgeous Himalayas. Like I said, I never knew him well, but he was a good neighbor, a sweet softspoken guy, and someone who lived for what he loved. He was a real climber — when I knew him I don’t think he owned much more than his climbing gear — he was only bunking in the Big Blue House between trips — the kind of guy who lived for the next adventure. I hope whatever this one is, it’s a good one.