U.S. Climbers Still Missing in China After One Month

The search for two U.S. climbers missing for more than a month has narrowed to a single mountain in southwestern China after their last known contact — a local driver — said they planned to climb the peak.

Christine Boskoff, a top female climber, and Charlie Fowler, apparently took their climbing equipment and left their luggage with the driver, who dropped them off in a small, remote town not far from the Sichuan province border with Tibet on Nov. 11.

Boskoff and Fowler told him they would climb Genie Mountain, a 20,354-foot mountain that is also known as Genyen Peak, Liu Feng, a senior official with the Sichuan Mountaineering Association, said Monday.

"The driver said he was supposed to meet them on Nov. 24 so they could pick up their bags, but they did not show up or call," he said.

Boskoff, a top female climber, and Fowler, a well-known climber, guide and photographer, were reported missing after they failed to return to the United States on Dec. 4.

Unlike the case of the missing climbers on Mount Hood in Oregon, the search has been complicated because the two did not leave detailed plans and rescuers initially did not even know which province to search.

A Web site set up by friends of the climbers to raise funds for the search said the bags Boskoff and Fowler left with the driver had been opened, and showed that they had taken all of their climbing equipment with them.

Last week, Gao Min, another official from the Sichuan Mountaineering Association, said the chances of survival were slim after being missing for such a long time in the region.

Boskoff has ascended six of the world's peaks over 26,000 feet, including Mount Everest. She owns Mountain Madness, a Seattle adventure travel company.

Fowler is an expert on climbing in southwestern China. He has guided climbers up Everest and climbed some of the tallest and most difficult peaks.

Both climbers are from Norwood, Colo.