Monday, May 02, 2016

The Remains of Alex Lowe and David Bridges Found on Shishapangma

There is a lot of news to report from the Himalaya over this past weekend, but I felt this story warranted its own post. One of the big stories to break over the past few days is that the remains of climbers Alex Lowe and David Bridges were discovered on Shishapangma more than 16 years after they went missing there.

Back in October of 1999, Lowe and Bridges – along with Conrad Anker – were part of an expedition to the 8027 meter (26,335 ft) mountain. The three men were scouting their route in anticipation of their ascent when an avalanche struck, sweeping Alex and David away in the process. Anker survived and was joined by other members of the team, who swept the face of the mountain for signs of their fallen comrades. They didn't find a trace of them.

Those of you familiar with this story know what happened next. Anker returned home, grieving for the loss of Lowe who was his best friend. He sought solace with Alex's widow Jenni, and the two eventually married with Conrad becoming the step father to the couple's son. In the years that have followed, Anker has gone on to be one of the most accomplished alpinists of his generation.

Last week, Ueli Steck and David Göttler were scouting a new route on Shishapangma in preparation of an alpine style ascent this spring. The two men – who are also highly accomplished climbers - discovered the remains of Lowe and Bridges, who was a talented cameraman sent to film the 1999 expedition.

The bodies of the two men were revealed as climate change has started to cause melting on Shishapangma. And while they haven't been conclusively identified as of yet, the gear from the era that they went missing, and the location of the bodies on the mountain, all point to bodies being Alex and David.

The discovery does bring a measure of closure to the families of the two climbers who are no doubt grieving again with revelation of the remains of Alex and David being uncovered. Our thoughts are with those who were close to the two men. Hopefully this discovery helps them to find a further measure of peace.

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