A proper farewell for Francys Arsentiev

Gexev1034 On May 2 on, I reported on the story of Ian Woodall’s intentions to give final resting peace to Francys Arsentiev, a Colorado climber and mother who perished on Mount Everest in 1998 with her husband Sergei.

A touching article came out today in The Rocky Mountain News detailing Woodall’s success in putting Fran to rest after all these years. But, more importantly – and more poignantly – the article serves as a wonderful tribute to Fran as both a climber and a person, one who was full of life, a fantastic mother, and far more than simply the "Sleeping Beauty" she has been portrayed in by the press.

I never knew Fran personally. I only knew the story of her tragic final days on Everest and my subsequent interaction with her in 1999. It is wonderful to learn more about her, about a life infused with passion, love, and tenacity. Her memory lives on, and I am happy to hear that she might finally be at peace.

[Read the Rocky Mountain News article here.]

Jake Norton is an Everest climber, guide, photographer, writer, and motivational speaker from Colorado.

  1. Cynthia M Andersen
    Cynthia M AndersenJune 9,11

    I read another story referring to Francys and Sergei being Romeo and Juliet in the climbing community. The article said it was never known what happened to Sergei but he left his ice pick and axe near her body.

    The article weighed heavy on my mind for days. You see i am not a mountain climber – i have a huge fear of heights but i am obsessed with all things that have to do with climbing Everest & K2. The trials and tribulations are gut wrenching to say the least but this story ripped my heart on so many levels.

    But what i wanted to say or ask – Has anyone ever thought that Sergei (Romeo) was so devastated and full of guilt at leaving his wife and then hearing she was dying that when he found her he was beside himself. He left his rope and his ice ax as his clue that he was there and then lept to his death to be with his Juliet………it is just a thought but the story of how the climbing community thought of them that way maybe little did they know they really were.

    That is all i wanted to say. I can’t imagine even if i were close to death walking past someone who said “help me” …………….no mountain is worth it but that is just my opinion.

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