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A 2200m descent never before skied

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

Honor the Memory, Spirit, and Energy
Lowe Taught Sherpas to Love Espresso
Dave Bridges Died Doing What He Loved
Aspen Paragliding Tribute to Dave Bridges
Climbers: What Next?
Climbers Recount Tragedy
Alex Lowe Feared Dead in Avalanche
Alex Lowe Interview
Alex Lowe Bio
Dave Bridges Bio

At 8,013 meters, Chinese Tibet's Shishapangma is the world's 14th tallest peak. Six alpinists, Andrew McLean, Alex Lowe, Conrad Anker, Mark Holbrook, Kristoffer Erickson and Hans Saari, will ascend via the Swiss/Polish Route and then make a first ski descent on the route. A film crew led by Kent Harvey, Michael Brown and Dave Bridges will be on hand to produce an NBC documentary of the expedition for The North Face.

The Ski Descent
High-altitude skiing represents the ultimate challenge in ski mountaineering. Successfully skiing the southwest face of Shishapangma will require all of the effort of climbing one of the world's highest mountains, plus the ability to ski some of the most difficult terrain on earth at an altitude where even breathing is difficult.

Fewer than 20 people have ever skied from the summits of 8,000-meter peaks and there is no organized history of the sport. It is believed that the Swiss/Polish line has never been skied and that no North Americans have ever successfully skied from the summit of one of the fourteen 8,000-meter peaks.

Couloirs such as the Swiss/Polish route offer the best skiing conditions, reduced avalanche risks and the chance to climb the line before skiing it. This route allows an uninterrupted 2,200-meter descent of the route from the summit to Base Camp.

In order to take advantage of small windows of good weather and prime skiing conditions, the team will be attempting the ascent/descent in a one-day push from Advanced Base Camp. Prior to the first summit attempt, the team will acclimatize by spending 21 days skiing successively higher peaks in the Chongdui Valley. With this alpine style approach, the team has the advantage of climbing the route immediately before skiing it and then descending it without heavy packs. It is hoped that going in the post-monsoon season will afford the most favorable snow conditions

The Team
Alex Lowe
Alex Lowe
The six team members represent some of the most experienced ski mountaineers in North America. Their chances of both individual and team success are enhanced by their focus on a common goal that all members are capable of achieving. The team will benefit from of a strong mix of high-altitude skiing and climbing experience. Amongst the group is a writer, a photographer (Kristoffer Erickson, who will dispatch photos), Tibetan veterans and first-time enthusiasts.

The Mountain
Shishapangma, "the range above the grassy plain," is the only 8000-meter peak located entirely in China. It was first climbed in 1964 by a Chinese team and was opened to foreign climbers in 1978. The southwest face hosts three distinct climbing routes, with the 1990 Swiss/Polish route being described as "the shortest and quickest line to an 8,000er." This beautifully direct 2,200-meter couloir climbs straight to the central summit entirely on snow and ice and is "usually 45° and rarely exceeds 50°."

Peter Potterfield, Staff

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