Marty Hoey (1951 – May 15, 1982) was a mountaineer who took part in the 1982 expedition to Mount Everest. During an attempted ascent that would have made her the first American woman to summit Everest, she plunged over the edge of the Great Couloir to her death, as the result of a climbing harness that came unsecured.
According to Everest expedition leader Lou Whittaker, Hoey was probably the world's best female high-altitude mountaineer at the time of her death. She had scaled Washington's Mount Rainier over 100 times and led expeditions on Alaska's Denali.
Everest Fall and Aftermath
Expedition teammate Jim Wickwire said that he and Hoey were perched on a 45-degree rock slope at about 26,600 feet (8,100 m), carrying gear to establish Camp 6, with the expectation of heading for the summit in the next day or two. Wickwire said that Hoey leaned back to let him go ahead, and a buckle on her harness opened, releasing her from the fixed rope, sending her plunging down 6,000 feet (1,800 m) into a crevasse.
Hoey's body was never recovered, and Whittaker said "I can't think of a more beautiful resting place; she fell into the prettiest place that ever was."
Whittaker cited Hoey's death as a contributing factor to the failure of the expedition to summit Everest, saying "If Marty had been with us, we would have made it." The 16 remaining team members, all men, would take a third and final attempt, being turned back shy of the summit by fierce weather.
Hoey worked for Dick Bass, as safety patrol chief at the Snowbird ski resort. She befriended him and accompanied him on his successful ascent of Mount McKinley and he was also a member of her climbing group when she perished on Mount Everest in 1982. When Bass eventually summitted Mount Everest in 1985, he dedicated his ascent to her.
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