Survivor of 1996 Everest disaster dies after falling down the stairs in her home

Charlotte Fox's body was discovered by friends at the foot of the stairs in her home in Telluride, Colorado, late in the night on May 31


                            Survivor of 1996 Everest disaster dies after falling down the stairs in her home
(Source:Getty Images)

61-year-old Charlotte Fox, one of the survivors of the devastating Mount Everest expedition of 1996, has died after she reportedly fell down the stairs in her home in Colorado. Her body was discovered by friends at the foot of the stairs in her home in Telluride, Colorado, late in the night on May 31. She was found dead shortly after returning home from a dinner that she attended.

Only a handful of the original expedition group which consisted of 10 people managed to survive the horrifying blizzard that hit the mountain in 1996. The group was making it's way back to base camp when the blizzard hit.

A book that was written by John Krakauer, one of the survivors of the expedition, quoted Fox's terrifying experience and how she thought she was going to die as well. He wrote in his book, Into Thin Air, that Fox said: "I didn’t see how we were going to get out of it alive. The cold was so painful, I didn’t think I could endure it anymore. I just curled up in a ball and hoped death would come quickly."

The tragic incident was also the inspiration behind the 2015 film 'Everest' which was directed by Baltasar Kormákur and featured Josh Brolin, Keira Knightley, and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Fox's body was discovered by her friend, Kim Reynolds, at the foot of the stairs in her hom. Reynolds was staying with Fox at the time so that they could both attend the Mountain Film Festival. The two women had gone out for dinner but to two seperate restaurants. Reynolds came back to Fox's home at 10:30 pm and found her dead at the bottom of the stairs. The coroner still has to confirm the exact cause of Fox's death but they have not suspected any foul play in the tragic incident.

Reynold spoke to The Telluride Daily Planet and said: "Finding her body was a very shocking and difficult thing. We’re used to people dying in the mountains. I’ve lost count of how many friends I’ve lost this way. When someone dies of a long illness, it gives you time to process that; it’s even a blessing. It’s hard to find the blessing in this. It’s a huge reminder of how vulnerable we are; how risk is everywhere. You’ve just got to take stock and live your best, fullest life right now, every day."

Fox had reportedly told Reynols just before they both stepped out of the home for dinner that she was happy that she reached her birthday that took place recently. "She recently had a birthday, and she told me, 'I’m happy to be 61'." According to Reynolds, this last statement from Fox to her was like a "gift".

Fox had lived alone in the Colorado home. She had worked in the area for decades as a ski instructor. Reese Martin, Fox's husband, had died in 2004 in a paragliding incident. Reynolds told the media that she was happy that she was the one who found her dead friend and not "the mailman". She said: "To be the last person with her, with my hands on her heart, and to remember those last words she said to me, I have to look at it as a privilege instead of a horror. I mean, she lives alone: The mailman didn’t find her, and she didn’t lay there for three or four days alone. I got to send her off, with love. People helped me understand that."

Fox bravely continued working in the mountineering world after she survived the 1996 Everest expedition. She has climbed more 8,000ft peaks than any other American woman has done.