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FOWLER/BOSKOFF SEARCH NARROWS
Posted on: December 18, 2006
Colorado-based climbers Charlie Fowler and Christine Boskoff remain missing in China, and are currently presumed to be either on or below a remote mountain near the town of Dequen in Yunnan Province, or near the towns of Litang and Batang in Sichuan Province.
On December 11, Mark Gunlogson, President of Boskoff's guiding company, Mountain Madness, confirmed that the pair was not on their scheduled flight back to the U.S. on December 4. On December 12, the Fowler-Boskoff Search Committee (FBSC) was formed in Telluride, Colorado, to coordinate the search efforts for the two Americans.
The FBSC assembled information from Fowler and Boskoff's last email communications with friends and family, and from Fowler's computer, which had been left behind with a business partner. Based on this information, the FBSC has narrowed the search for the pair to two areas: either on or below a remote, unclimbed 6509-meter mountain that Fowler had identified as a possible objective near the town of Dechin (aka Dequen) in Yunnan Province, China; or near the towns of Litang and Batang in Sichuan Province.
On December 15, the Fowler-Boskoff Search Committee (FBSC) enlisted two China-based field managers to assist in the search, and four teams are currently searching for Fowler and Boskoff in the two locations noted above. In Dechin, teams are checking both entrance points to Unnamed Peak 6509. In Batang, teams have coordinated their search with local government authorities. On December 18, the field manager in Chengdu reported that two foreigners were sighted about a month ago in a village near Yangmalong Peak north of Batang. A search team in the area was directed to focus their efforts on tracking down more information on this report. No records of the Americans have been discovered in hotels, but one possible sighting was reported from November in a local restaurant.
In Litang County there was a confirmed sighting of Fowler and Boskoff in an Internet cafe around the time of a November 8 email to friends in the U.S. Two unconfirmed sightings of the pair between November 15 and 20 were also reported. A driver stated that Boskoff had inquired about cars to Dechin in November. A team is also researching rumors of a car accident on the Litang-Ganzi road in Xinlong County north of Litang.
Boskoff had also cited the monasteries at the base of the 6200-meter Genyen, so searchers are focusing their search here with the assistance of a high monk.
The FBSC also reported that in October, two New Zealanders were robbed at knifepoint in the Genyen area. They did not resist but their interpreter was injured. The attackers have not been found.
On December 18, the Chief of the Consular Section U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu, China, reported that the governments of Yunnan and Sichuan Province and the Tibetan Autonomous Region are officially working on the Fowler-Boskoff case. The U.S. State Department is working on the case in coordination with Chinese authorities. Also, China's Public Security Bureau is checking lodging records and bus depots and questioning drivers in Sichuan and Yunnan for any sightings of the pair while en-route to the mountains.
The FBSC has established a funding goal of $75,000 to execute all elements of the search. An account established under the non-profit umbrella of Mountainfilm In Telluride enables the FBSC to accept tax deductible donations for the search effort. Information about the account is available at http://blog.mountainfilm.org. Another blog, the Fowler-Boskoff Search Engine, has been established to collect information from anyone that has recently spent time in the region as well as for funds to maintain the search effort.