Alex Lowe Appreciation


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Messages 21 - 37 of total 37 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Chad Umbel

Trad climber
Blue Diamond, NV
Apr 19, 2010 - 02:32am PT
Another bump for Alex.

Trad climber
A trailer park in the Sierras
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 19, 2010 - 03:48am PT
I heard a story, kind of offhand, that someone asked Alex whether or not he used a fifi hook. He smiled and curved his finger into a hook shape, "You mean like this?"
Maximus Prime

Trad climber
Bozeman, MT
Apr 20, 2010 - 03:18pm PT
Just want to thank everyone here for the comments of admiration and appreciation. Being able to look into my father Alex's life through so many stories from so many different people has really opened my eyes to what an amazing person he truly was. He was always and will always remain to be my hero, as a father is to a son, but to see that he was also a hero to so many others, is truly inspirational. I wish I could have known him longer, but to have been able to spend the time I did with him feels like a treasure, and I will always aspire to make as lasting an impact on the people around me as he did to the people around him. Much love to my mother Jennifer, Father Conrad, two brothers Sam and Isaac, and all of our friends and extended climbing family who help to keep the memory of my father Alex alive.


Me and Dad
Me and Dad
Credit: Maximus Prime

Apr 20, 2010 - 03:33pm PT
Nice work Max!
Hi to the family.


Trad climber
Las Vegas
Oct 28, 2013 - 04:14pm PT

Bumpity bump

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Oct 28, 2013 - 05:55pm PT
Big Bozeman Bump dammit.

More pics please!

I was always suspicious of the claims of "greatness" especially on a world level because, well, he was from Montana. Over the years though I see he really did hone his skills here in our backwoods playgrounds to the point of international fame. Amazing! When he went out into the "real" climbing arenas he not only stacked up with the rest, he left em all behind.


Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Oct 29, 2013 - 11:38am PT
"I will always aspire to make as lasting an impact on the people around me as he did to the people around him"

He taught you well Max, the very best to you and your family.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 29, 2013 - 11:58am PT
I was always suspicious of the claims of "greatness" especially on a world level because, well, he was from Montana

Lived there since young, but, not technically "from" Montana. Not that he wasn't considered local...

Born in Frederick MD.

Great thread!

Grizzlyville, WY
Apr 29, 2016 - 07:13pm PT
The first time I ever saw Alex climb was up Hyalite Canyon. We were teenagers toproping "Theoretically", a fun 5.10 finger crack. Alex walked up, said hello, put on his shoes and soloed "Tough Trip Through Paradise", a much longer and harder (11c?) climb. We were positively mesmerized by his fluidity and confidence, none of us had ever seen anything like it. He finished his climb in just a few minutes and disappeared over the top of the crag. A short while late after he walked off the top, he again stopped, gave us a couple pointers, put on his running shoes and was off. I was never a good friend or partner with Alex, but met him a quite a few times. He was always genuinely excited to find out what we were up to and what was next. It was always fun to talk to him. I hope his family finds some closure or solace in this news.

Credit: WyoRockMan

The Good Places
Apr 29, 2016 - 07:58pm PT
thanks for sharing that story rockman!

20-shot-a-day espresso habit - respect!

Mountain climber
Apr 29, 2016 - 08:18pm PT
In Hyalite Canyon, over Christmas break from school in 88, a blur of a climber soloed by our humble ice tribulations. Rich "The Stitch" Ellison was whimpering on top rope as his left crampon dangled by its sad strap . . . Four of us thrashed about, not getting much accomplished but having a sheer blast, mocking one another mercilessly and slowly figuring out the shadowy methods of slow freezing belays, and even a bit of climbing.
My partner, Paul had finished his lead when the fast man descended, untethered, unlike me, who was solidly tied down, almost trapped in place. I hunched into the wall as the ice chunks smashed my helmet and shoulders, stinging in a special way.
"Hey Man!" I screamed. "What the F#%*!"
It was the great Alex Lowe. Of course I had no idea who this maniac was, and he screamed "So o o o r e e e !" in the sincere tone of someone who really was. He just kept moving, like a creature fully adapted to its environment. And like he appeared, so he was gone.
I will never climb as well or as fast, but what I remember, is the empty brilliance of that day, and my good friends, and that it was true what he said about "the best climbers" and how he must have been having a great time way up there, free-soloing, and you just can't stay mad at a guy like that.

Social climber
May 14, 2016 - 07:18pm PT
From Andrew Maclean's reminiscence posted on Alpinist's website.

After losing so many friends, I always wince when I hear their names being used as words of encouragement—Trevor would do it, Alex would do it, Shane would do it. I don't know. I've never actually conversed with the deceased, but I'm guessing that most of them, from the other side of the grave, would say dying is not worth it. Chill out, wait for perfect conditions, come back tomorrow, enjoy time with your family, expand your horizons, pet a dog or simply enjoy the moment. Risking your life is obviously a personal choice, but it has real, long-lasting consequences for those who are left behind.

Interesting to note in Andrew's story how the expedition morphed so that Alex, David and Conrad came to be in the path of the gigantic avalanche on Shishapangma. Amongst the morality tales and bad jokes I told my daughters as they grew was always the one about the 'Mosquito Moment.'

"We live our lives between powerful forces that could crush us at any moment. Consider the mosquito quietly taking his supper on your arm when suddenly the sky is darkened as a gigantic hand from nowhere flattens him."

You can be the best in the world and still be caught by the cataclysmic forces at play around us. Nonetheless, Alex remains a hero and shining example of a man to me. I have mad respect for Jenni, Conrad and family for holding things together for themselves and moving on in Alex' honor.

the east
May 14, 2016 - 08:25pm PT
I grew up a long long way from the US, alaska etc. the sort of stuff being done in those days was pure legend to me. A few names filtered thru on posters in gear shops, on packaging and magazines.

Alex was ubiquitous even in that distant scene, because he seemed loved and inspiring in an era before hyperbole took over. Smiling in photos, doing the good stuff in good places.

Years later i went to BZM and felt kinda like a climbing groupie on pilgrimage. Alex's name and image were in everything (it was the ice fest). Hyperbole was the meme.

But i got to hear him spoken about by those who really knew him. Not just the climbers, but the guy in the gas station, the climbers whod met him as kids etc.
and i learned he was #1 a great guy and #2 a great climber, adored because he was the real deal across the board a legend before he died.

Theres a few of these guys, who give a center of gravity to an entire scene. Some have died, others will soon, some will see it thru.
Still today i regard Alex for his vision of what climbing can be and the way he went about it. He didnt need the industrial hyperbole of today to get the message thru.

Huge respect to Conrad too. Losing a brother in arms is hard.

Trad climber
May 15, 2016 - 08:10am PT
I did a few short climbs and hung out with Alex for a total of about a week in the 80's so I only knew him in passing. The best thing about Alex was that he was a lot of FUN to be around and even if you weren't climbing you still wanted to hang with him.
One story about his physical prowess concerns the 1986 American K2 expedition which included some very strong climbers like Dave Cheesmond and Steve Swenson. Everyone had to do an identical load carry one day. The other members picked up 1 load each. Alex was the last to start and picked up a double load. He was the first to arrive at the top and was passing others on his way down.
Stewart Johnson

Mountain climber
lake forest
May 15, 2016 - 10:28am PT
One of the nicest people I've
Ever met !
Alex was the guy having the most fun.
CA Dreamin'

San Jose
Oct 5, 2017 - 08:29pm PT
In rememberance. I still remember reading the newspaper this day in high school.
Happy Cowboy

Social climber
Boz MT
Oct 6, 2017 - 09:49am PT

Bozeman Daily Chronicle 10/6/1999
Bozeman Daily Chronicle 10/6/1999
Credit: Happy Cowboy
May his spirit not be forgotten.
A sad day for the Bozeman community.
The headline always disturbed me, no "Mountain" killed my friend.
I believe he like I would feel it lacked respect, for that which we love.

I first met Alex in Yosemite spring 1980, much like Perry's (Chief) post^^^ but mabey the spring before. I dropped by C4 to see 5.10 Scott (as he was referred)a friend from Bozeman. Alex was also with them and lived in Missoula, soon to make the jump south. When "1096" came up for the days plan I took interest. Could I resist after the 73'Ascent...w'young eager leaders? Sure, I'll meet up at Arches around noon.

I rounded into the alcove, could hear them talking and found Alex on lead, a third the way up 1096. His voice was casual, excited, and climbed the same. I was about 8 yrs older and a pretty experienced climber, and thought to myself, he's good, that fist/squeeze suppose to be a brawl...
We mere mortals then took our turns. I had a killer arm bar, which I was happy to use on TR. Afterwards I said to Alex "you made that look easy" probably my first revelation regarding the beast.

It was fun and games until Alex then flakes the rope off to the left. I ask what's that, A responds "it's hard might be a twelve", all both of us need to know. I start packing ready to head for afternoon plans as Alex starts up belayed by Scott. I watch for abit as A nears the awkward crux and then whips, reaffirming "Hangdog Flyer".

The next morning I head to C4 early to check interest in a longer climb. I see Scott clutching morning brew and settle myself at the table and ask how'd it go (after I left), did he get up it? Oh yeah. I mention my thoughts of long and fun routes. Soon Alex pops out. Big grin on life, he exclaims "I'm so psyched", my second revelation. He really, really was.

RIP dear friend

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