Alex Lowe and David Bridges: bodies found in the Himalaya, 16 years after struck by avalanche
The bodies of Alex Lowe, one of the strongest American mountaineers of all time, and David Bridges, have been discovered in the Himalaya 16 years after having been swept away by an avalanche while climbing Shishapangma (8027m), Tibet. Their remains were discovered by Swiss alpinist Ueli Steck and his German counterpart David Göttler.
Sixteen years ago Alex Lowe, one of the most famous American mountaineers of the nineties, was killed by a huge avalanche in the Himalayas. His body has now been found alongside that of his friend and cameraman (and double national paragliding champion) David Bridges. In October 1999 the two, the former 40 years old and the latter a mere 29 , were in Tibet climbing Shishapangma (8,027 meters), the lowest of the 14 eight-thousanders, in order to film a documentary for NBC Sports while they attempted to make the first American ski descent of an 8000er.
The "Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation" has now stated their remains were discovered last week by two mountaineers, Switzerland’s Ueli Steck and Germany’s David Göttler, who are currently on the mountain and poised to attempt a new route up its South Face. Göttler described the clothing and packs of the climbers to Conrad Anker, a member of the 1999 expedition who had miraculously survived the avalanche, who recognised them as belonging to Lowe and Bridges.
"Alex’s parents are thankful to know that their son’s body has been found and that Conrad, the boys and I will make our pilgrimage to Shishapangma." stated Jenni Lowe-Anker, Lowe’s widow who subsequently remarried to Anker. "It is time to put Alex to rest" she concluded.
Conrad Anker, who adopted Lowe’s three sons, said: "Alex and David vanished, were captured and frozen in time. Sixteen years of life has been lived and now they are found. We are thankful."
NBC News has stated that Lowe, Anker and Bridges wanted to become the first Americans to ski off the summit of Shishapangma, an undertaking that should have formed part of the NBC Sports documentary series entitled "The North Face Expeditions", presented by Sting.
A few months before his death Lowe, whose technical and physical skills had earned him the nickname "The Mutant" and the "Lung with Legs", was hailed by Outside magazine as the strongest living mountaineer. Originally from Montana, he had become famous for his climbs on the legendary granite walls of Yosemite before progressing to ice climbing and solo ascents on the world’s most inhospitable north faces, from Trango Tower to the Matterhorn and Everest, as well as having participated in several rescue operations. Referring to Lowe, Conrad Anker once declared: "We're all at this one level, and then there's Alex."
Francesca Colesanti - askanews
Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation