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Construction on Charlotte Fox Memorial School in Nepal Ahead of Schedule

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After the mountaineer Charlotte Fox died unexpectedly in her home in Telluride, Colorado, on May 24, 2018, at 61 years old, friends and family set out to honor her life in the same way she lived it: by giving back to the mountain-based communities she had come to love.

During her career, Fox took several trips to Nepal, through which she became interested and involved in the dZi Foundation, and through her ascent of Mount Elbrus in 2014—the last of the seven summits Fox ticked off—she raised money for the dZi Foundation. The Colorado-based non-profit was founded in 1998 by mountaineers Jim Nowak and Kim Reynolds, and aims to stimulate local communities in rural Nepal.

In 2015, earthquakes devastated Eastern Nepal. The Shree Mayur Primary School in the town of Maheshwari was completely destroyed, leaving it unsafe for the 139 students. Fox’s friends and family knew that rebuilding a school in the area was the perfect way to remember the giving, caring and selfless climber. When finished, it will be named the Charlotte Fox Memorial School.

They set a goal to raise $53,355 and rebuild the school by June, but have raised $55,111 as of January 10, and plan to finish the project a month ahead of schedule.

Extra funding will goes toward classroom accommodations and play equipment. Nowak said, “The student population will grow, and something to take into account is that this school will last 40-50 years so it will serve the community for a long time.” He said that after the disaster, students were studying in bamboo structures with dirt floors and tin roofs, which people had carried in on their backs. They call these facilities TLCs, or temporary learning centers, and students will be out of these TLCs and in their new four-classroom school by May.

Fox was a mountaineer, rock climber, ice climber, loving partner and friend, and punctual card sender. A board member of both the American Alpine Club and the Access Fund, the North Carolina native bagged all of the Seven Summits. Famously, she was part of the “huddle” scenario on Everest in 1996—during which she suffered frostbite and her eyes froze inside of her head. When Rock and Ice editor, Alison Osius, wrote a memorial of Fox last May, she remembered asking her friend what it was like that night on Everest, to which Fox replied, “I thought, ‘Well, old girl, it’s been a good ride. No regrets.’”

If you’d like to give to the cause, reach out to Jim Nowak, President and Co-Founder, at jim@dzi.org.


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 Charlotte Fox, 1957-2018, Accomplished High-Altitude Mountaineer, Dies in Telluride