Remembering Charlie Houston

Charlie Houston was one of the greatest mountaineers of his generation, and his passing a few months back, at the age of 96, caused an outpouring of sadness throughout the mountaineering community, even as his life was celebrated for the amazing things he accomplished.

Men’s Journal has posted their own tribute to Charlie, in which they remember the man who lived for adventure and had an unbridled exuberance for life. Houston pioneered expeditions to some of the big peaks in the Himalaya, and was on a couple of the most famous climbs ever. His struggles, along with his entire team, on K2, have become the stuff of legend, quite literally.

Besides his contributions to mountaineering (and mountaineering lore!) Charlie helped pioneer some of the earliest, and most comprehensive, research on altitude sickness. His book, Going Higher, is practically the handbook for dealing with altitude on any climbing expedition, while K2: The Savage Mountain, written with Robert Bates and Jim Wickwire, has become one of the true adventure classics when it comes to survival on the mountain.

So while this tribute to Charlie from the Nov/Dec issue of Men’s Journal may be a short one, it does capture his spirit very well. So long Charlie. You are missed.

Kraig Becker

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