The Loss of a Legend: Dr. Charlie Houston, 1913-2009

Dr. Charles Houston, 1913-2009
Dr. Charles Houston, 1913-2009
From Alpinist Magazine

This morning, from several people, I heard the sad news that a climbing legend, Charlie Houston, passed away yesterday at his home in Burlington, Vermont.

Dr. Charles Snead Houston was a legend in every sense of the word. From pioneering climbs like Nanda Devi in 1936 and K2 1938 & 1953 to pioneering the field of high-altitude physiology, Dr. Houston never stopped forging ahead, breaking new ground and being a leader in all that he did.

I've written a great deal about Charlie on this blog, and there's too much to recount about his life here and now. So, here's a few resources if you are interested:

And, as I think he would like it, I'm going to head out into the hills today, and think about life, about mountains, and about the ever present and ever important Brotherhood of the Rope.

Dr. Houston…thank you for the memories…for the inspiration…for the joy and the stories and the legacy you leave to all of us. You will be missed.

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

  1. Michael Gannett
    Michael GannettJanuary 24,10

    To my utter dismay this morning I find I missed knowing Charlie Houston. We lived on each other’s doorstep thirteen years here in Burlington. You see, I am a RPCV India XVI 1965-67. Charlie was India’s Peace Corps Director before I served. My friend George Fisher and I did a memorable trek over Gusainkunda Pass just before our termination in ’67. See We had the good fortune to meet Norgay Tenzing in Darjeeling in ’66 (I took his photo if you wish to have it). Here Charlie was all these years. My misfortune.

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