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Expedition Dispatches
[Scroll Down for Dispatches]

[Conrad Anker Recounts Tragedy]

Memorial Fund Established: A fund has been established for Alex Lowe's three children. Those interested in making a donation can send to: Fund for the Children of Alex Lowe, Care of Norene Bancroft, US Bank, 104 East Main Street, Bozeman, Montana 59715

Avalanche Preparedness
Monday, November 29, 1999
"There are many precautions you can take when you are traveling in avalanche terrain, including wearing a beacon, carrying a shovel and staying spread out from other people. In hindsight, people have questioned why none of these basic rules were followed...."— Andrew McLean

Leader Remembers Dave Bridges
Wednesday, November 17, 1999
"As the trip wore on, Dave's talents became blatantly obvious. Instead of waiting for him to set up video shots, it was the other way around. Fully loaded down with camera gear and equipment, he'd break trail, rapidly outpacing the supposed "talent" as we tried to keep up with him...."— Andrew McLean

Conrad Anker Recounts Tragedy
"We looked up at it and we ran in all — we ran in different directions. I think they ran towards a crevasse, to hop in a crevasse and have the avalanche go over them and that was Andrew's observation..."— Conrad Anker

Post Trip Dispatch — Tibet
Wednesday, October 27, 1999
"At first glance, you might not want to spend a lot of time here. What changed my mind about the place was that I got a chance to hang out with some of the locals and find out what life was really like for Tibetans living under Chinese rule..."— Andrew McLean

Memories and Memorials
Thursday, October 21, 1999
"Even though Alex's climbing feats were legendary, they were a distant second to how people felt about him as a person — he was just an amazing guy that instantly inspired people and made the world a better place..."— Andrew McLean

A Bench-Like Chorten Built
Tuesday, October 19, 1999
"The rest of the team got the loads ready for the yaks and built a nice Chorten monument for Alex and David. We doubled the size of the existing Chorten and made it into a bench-like structure..."
— Mark Holbrook

Starting the Healing
Tuesday, October 19, 1999
"Being in the Himalaya with the team has been a good part of the healing process; now family and friends will take over. Every moment with them means so much..."— Michael Brown

Alex Lowe Remembered in Bozeman
Monday, October 18, 1999
In a private memorial service held on Sunday, October 17, friends, family and climbing partners convened outside Bozeman, Montana, to pay tribute to Alex Lowe.

Visual Tribute to Alex Lowe
Friday, October 15, 1999, with the support of many great photographers who have captured images of Alex Lowe's feats, has put together a visual tribute to Alex Lowe.

UPDATE: Honor the Memory, Spirit, and Energy
Saturday, October 9, 1999
9:36 a.m. (PDT)" It's been a hard few days for all of us, but life goes on and we all honor the memory and the spirit and the energy of our friends that were so tragically lost on the 5th of October..."

UPDATE: Lowe Taught Sherpas to Love Espresso
Friday, October 8, 1999
10:46 p.m. (PDT)"Wondering what was going on, I poked my head inside and witnessed a full-on Sherpa coffee orgy. Boudda was working the steamer and handing out lattes with a zeal. I politely took one, then watched as round after round was passed out..."

UPDATE: Dave Bridges Died Doing What He Loved
Friday, October 8, 1999
6:34 a.m. (PDT) Cameraman Kent Harvey reports from the mountain on the days before the tragedy that took the lives of Alex Lowe and Dave Bridges. Harvey recounts a conversation with Dave from a few days prior.

UPDATE: A Tribute to Dave Bridges
Friday, October 8, 1999
Aspen Paragliding partners and friends of Dave Bridges pay tribute to Dave Bridges whose short yet full life was full of many accomplishments.

UPDATE: What Next?
Wednesday, October 6, 1999
9 p.m. (PDT) Andrew McLean and Hans Saari discuss the team at "Beach Camp" and the difficulties of coping with the loss of Alex Lowe and Dave Bridges.

UPDATE: The Climbers Recount the Tragedy
Wednesday, October 6, 1999
9:40 a.m. (PDT) Expedition leader Andrew McLean and climber Conrad Anker, who was injured in the avalanche, report on yesterday's tragic events
7 a.m. (PDT) Expedition members Hans Saari, Kristoffer Erickson and Mark Holbrook give their accounts of what happened during yesterday's massive slab avalanche that took the lives of climber Alex Lowe and cameraman Dave Bridges.

NEWS: Alex Lowe Feared Dead in Avalanche
Tuesday, October 5, 1999
Alex Lowe, one of America's strongest and best-known climbers, is presumed dead after an avalanche struck on 26,291-foot Shishapangma in Chinese Tibet on October 5 (Tibet time). Also missing and feared dead is high-altitude cameraman Dave Bridges.

Remembering the Essentials
Sunday, October 3, 1999
"We ran into the same problem that Alex and Conrad had earlier in the day — no one had thought to hump up the silverware to ABC...."

High Altitude Video Monkey
Sunday, October 3, 1999
"The out-takes are where the real story is. It is difficult to resist the urge to film when someone does or says something 'not suitable for TV,'..."

Everyone Jazzed
Sunday, October 3, 1999
"A great day of skiing followed by a day of rest in Base Camp has gotten everyone jazzed to make the move up to our Advanced Base Camp. The snow is falling outside and I am sitting in my tent thinking..."

Walking With Authority
Sunday, October 3, 1999
"Anticipation of a day filled with experiences we cannot know, but relish in advance, pulls me on. And sharing all this with a friend — whose companionship requires no words — yields peace...."

Different Views
Friday, October 1, 1999
"An ICF showed up. There was a bit of mocking. Alex stood in the middle of camp, after his third latte, speaking in accent, 'This man in the Gamow bag is very strong. He is a great climber.'..."

Carry to ABC
Thursday, September 30, 1999
"Our loads weighed about 50-to-60 pounds each, with the exception of Alex and Conrad. They each carried about 80-100 pounds of food — it was the first time I have ever heard Alex say that a rest day would be appreciated...."

Alex Lowe in Motion
Thursday, September 30, 1999
"Pascal said, 'Our natures lie in motion, without which we die' — and he knew what he was talking about. We're feeling richly alive!..."

Magic Carpet Rides
Wednesday, September 29, 1999
"Today was a mixed foray on a formation known as the Ice Tooth, which is a popular 6,300m acclimatizing peak just outside of Base Camp. The outing begins with about an hour walk on a talus..."

Base Camp Puja
Tuesday, September 28, 1999
"...we still had to have the traditional puja on the mountain for mountain safety. To make this possible, Boudda and Ang Kami built a chorten (a small and simple shrine made of stacked rocks) on the day we carried to ABC...."

Film Crew Update
Tuesday, September 28, 1999
"Expedition production is never easy and we will not be sure of our success until we are safely home again..."

The Sherpas
Tuesday, September 28, 1999
"The first ascent of Everest in 1953 wouldn't have been possible without the assistance of the Sherpa people. Living in the shadow of the world's highest peak, the Sherpas have become the strongest group of people to work in the mountains...."

Espresso at 17,000ft
Tuesday, September 28, 1999
"We've got the espresso shop set up here. We've got Mark drinking coffee and Dave and Chris and Andrew, and Alex is at the controls here..."

High on Skis
Monday, September 27, 1999
"No gasping, no PE, CE, or other embarrassments! Hans loves his boots; Mark makes everyone envious with his flawless turns; Conrad shreds on a higher level; Kris records it all with artistic grace, and the film crew did a magnificent job...."

Pulmonary Edema Scare
Monday, September 27, 1999
"As it was about 12:30 at night, I debated holding out until morning and tried to remember anything I'd read about PE. Does it get better? How long do I have? After a few more minutes, I started to feel a definite pooling in my lungs..."

Advanced Beach Camp
Sunday, September 26, 1999
"We shouldered loads of gear to establish ABC and ambled for six joyous hours to a series of alpine tarns beneath the sweeping wall of Shish. We were — to a man — taken aback by the magnitude of our chosen undertaking...."

Energy and Determination
Sunday, September 26, 1999
"I was feeling poorly and felt the need to descend into Nyalam to work back a better acclimatization program than the one I subscribed to on the first trip...."

Realizing the Purpose
Saturday, September 25, 1999
"I often start into these trips knowing that there's an underlying purpose that transcends merely climbing a peak. I never know for sure what the defining event will be, but it always surfaces...."

Feather Duster Run
Friday, September 24, 1999
"We skied the peak from 5,910m (19,500ft). Whiteout conditions forced Mark, Conrad, and I to turn around very close to the top of the mountain...."

First Sighting
Thursday, September 23, 1999
"Today we blasted to 5,700m and it felt great. Shishapangma only gets bigger as we move closer to it...."

The Film Crew's Perspective
Thursday, September 23, 1999
"'The all-day hike from 13,800ft to 17,250ft was really tough for the team and provided good drama for our film. We arrived in a snowstorm to set up camp, which provided both humor and misery...."

Rubber Mallets
Wednesday, September 22, 1999
"'If we wanted to feel this bad, we could have just hit ourselves in the head with rubber mallets.'..."

Preparing For a Sphere of Gel
Wednesday, September 22, 1999
"Conrad and I had an interesting discussion about climbing at 8,000 meters. He said it feels like being in a sphere of gel, which resists movement slowing you down..."

Big Push to Advanced Base Camp
Tuesday, September 21, 1999
"...came all the way up to about 17, camped about 17,200ft. So, it's a huge day. Actually, a little bigger than was really sort of desirable..."

Semi-Preliminary Base Camp
Monday, September 20, 1999
"...tomorrow's going to be a big day. We're going to climb up to Base Camp, which will be about a 4,000-foot day and that will be definitely a test of everybody's acclimatizing...."

Expedition Comes Alive
Sunday, September 19, 1999
"I think the entire group felt a strong sense of where we are - Tibet - a harsh land harboring a benevolent culture, a proud, self-reliant and patient population, perched on the roof of the world...."

More Notes From the Crew
Saturday, September 18, 1999
"There's a visceral allure to these tough, gritty plateau towns. Hard places inhabited by hard individuals. It is wonderful to be back. Back amongst mountains that remind us of our vulnerability, our ultimate lack of control over the world we live in...."

Last Minute Embroidery Scramble
Friday, September 17, 1999
"The only major diversion from packing was the last minute embroidery scramble. It seems like everyone wanted Buddha Eyes or a dragon on the back of their vest or jacket...."

Notes From the Crew
Friday, September 17, 1999
"This is amazing. We are staying in a little guest house perched above some roaring class VI white water rapids, looking straight across the river into Tibet. The only thing separating us from going there is the Friendship Bridge, a seemingly arbitrary structure that isn't to be photographed, documented or seemingly even looked at..."

Thinking Through the Jet Lag
Friday, September 17, 1999
"Dogs barking in the distance, pigeons cooing on the windowsill and coughs heard through the open window above adjacent dwellings all conspire to prevent further slumber. Max, Sam, Isaac and Jenni consume my emotions in the quiet, predawn hours...."

Between Nepal and Tibet
Friday, September 17, 1999
"We are right at the border between Nepal and Tibet staring at the Friendship Bridge, which we're going to cross over tomorrow...."

Heading for Tibet
Thursday, September 16, 1999
"...I'm up early because I am excited; we're finally leaving Kathmandu, heading up to Tibet today...."

Strike Day
Thursday, September 16, 1999
"Irascible Maoist revolutionaries had organized a strike against the government, closing all the shops and cleansing the streets of the noxious black fumes..."

The Din of Horns
Thursday, September 16, 1999
"I tried to count how many times the driver used his horn, but lost track after 15 blasts in the first five minutes...."

A Message From The Rookie
Wednesday, September 15, 1999
"When we entered the Kathmandu airport, Conrad said, 'When entering the kingdom, you must replace your third vertebrae with a piece of foam.' What the hell does that mean?..."

Eating Gummy Squid
Tuesday, September 14, 1999
"I've heard tales of folks trying to heal an exposed nerve with Barge Cement and Krazy Glue — to no avail. The poor chap still couldn't eat and would probably prefer having their thumbs massaged in a nutcracker to drinking cold water...."

Starting to Twitch
Tuesday, September 14, 1999
"The team is starting to twitch a bit because we're realizing we've got a couple more days in Kathmandu...."

Ready to Ski
Monday, September 13, 1999
"Everybody's in good health, good spirits. We've stocked up on the Scotch and we're ready to do some skiing...."

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