George Lowe at 62


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Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 22, 2006 - 08:45am PT
Most of you probably know of George as a famous Alpinist/Himalayan climber (the Lowe Buttress on Everest, North Face of North Twin - THAT sort of thing). Well, as incredible as those accomplishments are, he's also a pretty good rock climber who's going strong at 62.

George and I, who used to climb together quite a bit in the early '90s, a few months ago climbed Air Voyage in the Black Canyon - quite a test piece for a strong 25-year-old let alone a 62-year old. Around 1996 (at 50+), he climbed Astroman, the West Face of El Cap, and another long free route with Alex Lowe (no relation) on a one-two week trip to Yosemite.

Um, let's see, he's also a pilot, a physicist, and a father of three - and as modest a guy as you'll ever meet.

I'll be 50 this year and still have some climbing dreams (Stratosphere in the Black Canyon, Astroman repeat, among others). My model for going forward will be George Lowe.
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Mar 22, 2006 - 09:11am PT
Yeah Grug, I'm 50 at the end of May, and I am hoping to ramp up my climbing activity in the years to come and guys like George are an inspiration.

Isn't Bridwell 62 as well? Werner, what say you?

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Mar 22, 2006 - 09:52am PT
Theres's a full pic shot of George in the latest issue (#15) of Alpinist as well as a list of his accomplishments over the years. A couple years ago, my brother in Denver says he's working with a guy who he thinks is a well-known climber (bro don't climb). I ask who it is and he says "George Lowe". I'm still trying to arrange a meeting...

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 22, 2006 - 10:20am PT
I still haven't seen the new plane, got to buzz around the canyons a bit in the last one.
Yeah, George is a freak of nature. Perhaps he has a Dorien Grey type portrait festering away in that place above Golden, but I think he just lives healthy and the girls keep him young.
Still, after the Totem Pole incident, its hard to talk him into stuff on the rez.

right here, right now
Mar 22, 2006 - 10:22am PT
Jeff told me that Greg was really the Wunderkind of the 3 Lowe Bros.

Something of an unsung hero, with some very hard rock routes to his record, performed ahead of his time. He thought Greg's accomplishments were worthy of a retrospective.

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 22, 2006 - 10:29am PT
Apples and oranges.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 22, 2006 - 10:33am PT
(and FYI George is cousin to Greg and Jeff, who have something like a half dozen siblings including Mike, another accomlished climber)

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2006 - 10:41am PT
Tarbuster. Jeff and Greg are brothers, George is the cousin. From what I understand, Greg was the smarts behind the Lowe products - I knew he climbed, but I don't know much other than that. Turns out, I stayed with Dennis Sullivan for a couple weeks in Boulder before moving here - Dennis lived next door to's a small world.

By the way, I'm planning on using a MODIFIED George Lowe model going forward.

George Lowe -- Modified George Lowe
Doesn't drink -- Will drink
Doesn't do drugs -- Um, I'll modify this
Eats healthy -- I'll modify this one a little
Works out regularly -- Plan on changing my ways
Positive outlook -- Just like George


right here, right now
Mar 22, 2006 - 10:55am PT
Just the facts then.
Hey isn't there a 3rd Lowe Bro tho?

Speaking of the various others, I did meet some of those younger Lowe Bra when out on repping tour in Ogden. More hot shite climber types.

I used to have the Ascent with George and whatshisname on N Face of N Twin. 'Think I bought Knickers after that.

Ice climber
The Happies
Mar 22, 2006 - 11:33am PT
I used to have the Ascent with George and whatshisname on N Face of N Twin. 'Think I bought Knickers after that.

I think it was Alex Lowe(no relation) that was with George on NFNT.

to all the SoCal people, it was interesting to read that George's first roped climb was on the Trough at Big Rock.

right here, right now
Mar 22, 2006 - 11:37am PT
Nope, not to get all history-buffy:
But I think Chris Jones on the FA of NFNT?
Alex Lowe came later...


Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2006 - 11:46am PT
George did a number of rock climbs with Alex, who he would always say was "genetically superior".

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Mar 22, 2006 - 12:11pm PT
George did some very proud stuff in Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah. One of his finest was the Dorsal Fin III 5.10d (slab) in 1965. I bet it is rated R by todays standards (25 ft runouts) and typical of the Lowe's it was originally rated 5.9. Pretty amazing and you should definitely do this one route in LCC if you are ever out there. Here is a story I wrote about climbing with George in the early 80's...

The Wasatch has been home to many great climbers. I got the chance to climb with one of LCC’s most famous pioneers one day. My friend DH called me in the spring of 1984 and asked if I could go climbing with one of his buddies who was coming to town, George Lowe. DH had promised to go with him and had something else come up so he was trying to round up a partner for George. I am way past any hero stage in my life, with the exception of George. I blew off work so I could climb with him. I picked George up and while he seemed pretty easy going there was an intensity about the guy. Just by being with him you kind of knew that he could not sit still for long. He said he wanted to climb something he had not done before and was pretty new in the 10-11 range. Gordon’s Hangover Direct had recently been free climbed by Steve Hong and the initial beta I had was that it was 5.11R, and the crux was protected with RP’s. I had not ever been on it so I figured it was a good one for George and I. The rock in that area is stellar and I had heard the moves on the route were not too bad.

I am still not sure how I got the sharp end, but what the hell. That climb is really not too bad except for a couple moves. I got up there and hesitated for a pretty long time. When I finally pulled the moves off, I was psyched. I remember those moves as being very strange and tenuous, not like an obvious pull down or anything. While the pro was a little thin it did not seem all that bad either. As I belayed George I was impressed with the speed and surety of his moves. He did not hesitate at all on the crux and he just climbed right through the sucker like it was 5.7. Made me kind of feel like sh**. George said, “Good lead, I would not have had the patience and probably would have fallen by just going for it!” I said thanks and knew that he would have hiked it on lead.

The next climb we did was Catalyst , 5.10+. It had an awesome undercling (very sustained) followed by a powerful move over an overhang. In those days I remember being in the undercling dinking with some stoppers for pro. It was very strenuous and with small CAM’s pro would be simple. George’s lead. I was a bit surprised that George struggled with this a bit, but in those days I think George was more in shape for Himalayan peaks that strenuous rock climbs. Nevertheless, he got through the undercling after taking a fall and then cruised the 5.10 crack section above. George climbed fast and efficiently, that is the one thing that I learned from him. No wasted movement, throw the piece in and go. Some of those folks on who analyze everything down to the rats ass, triple up on pro for 5.7 and debate over minutia would learn a lot from George. I guess when you are on the North face of Alberta with a small rack there is not much time to f*** around, just go for it.

Mountain climber
Baldwin Park , Calif.
Mar 22, 2006 - 12:33pm PT
My pal Rich Henke did the Cassin with George many years back and said that he was basically towed up the thing by Lowe. Rich was in awe. George is on my list of "heros" and I hope I'm at least going at half his speed when I'm George's age. A recent issue of Alpinist had a great profile on Lowe. Check it out.
Tony Yeary

Trad climber
Fremont, CA
Mar 22, 2006 - 01:07pm PT
Wow this is very cool. I'm 45 and I have a huge list of things I still want to do. People like him are a great inspiration for me.

I remember when I was going to Berkeley, and I was cycling up around Grizzly Peak. This guy and his wife passed me as I was struggling up a very steep section. I asked if he would mind telling me how old they were. Ohh about mid 60s was the reply. It just floored me, I thought it was way cool.

Keep on truckin!

Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Mar 22, 2006 - 01:15pm PT
Sewellymon, yeah I had a pair of Galibier Super Guides, great boots.

I always thought Alex was a cousin or something of the others.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 22, 2006 - 02:29pm PT
Once again;

Jeff, Greg, Mike, and others; brothers

George; son of their father's brother

Alex; not related

(also not related, noted British Alpine Club member)

I'm so over it
Mar 22, 2006 - 02:29pm PT
There appears to be some confusion.

This is George Lowe:

He is best known for his ground-breaking ascent of the North Twin and for the voice of the animated character Space Ghost.

This is Space Ghost:

Jeff is George's (and Space Ghost's) cousin. This is Jeff:

Greg is Jeff's brother and thus George's cousin as well. This is Greg:

This is Alex. Alex wasn't related to anybody. He came from outer space and absolutely tore sh#t up.

Rob is Jeff's half-brother, Greg's roommate, and entirely unrelated to George. This is Rob:

Rob has a brother Chad. Chad is George's double under-cousin and Jeff's sworn enemy. This is Chad, on the right:
As you can see, Chad is not the most interesting thing in that photo. In fact, there are at least two things more interesting than Chad. As you can see, the three of them (Chad and Hillary Swank's breasts) were voted the #22 Hottest Couple in Hollywood. This being apparently before Hillary ditched him because she was a superstar with nine Oscars and he was just George Lowe's double under-cousin.

The #23 Hottest Couple in Hollywood turns out to be Jude Law and Sadie Frost.
I'm not entirely sure if Sadie was the nanny Jude banged and then married, or if he was married to Sadie whilst banging a different nanny, or how exactly. Sadie, though, is Tom Frost's daughter.

This is Tom:

Tom Frost, along with Jeff and Greg Lowe, did the second ascent of Ama Dablam in 1979. This is Ama Dablam:

George, Alex, Rob and Chad were not invited on the expedition. Young filmmaker David Breashears, however, was:
That is a swarthy man. This is a better picture:
Fabulous picture, in fact. That picture was taken during the filming of the IMAX Everest flick. The Everest IMAX featured Araceli Segarra:
I'm sure you remember, boys. But the interesting thing here is that Everest was first climbed in 1953 by a British expedition. One of the team members was a chap named Wallace George Lowe, OBE, CNZM.
As you can see he has a very stiff upper lip.

Now quit bothering me--I'm busy today!

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 22, 2006 - 02:52pm PT
"noted British Alpine Club member"

Too funny!
(terrible pic of George though. If it wasn't for the background I would think he was in the midst of undergoing a colo-rectal exam.)

Trad climber
Mar 22, 2006 - 03:02pm PT
30 years later it would still be a BIG accomplishment to do a George Lowe Rockies hat trick of the N faces of N Twin, Alberta, and Geiki. The closest anyone has gotten is Barry Blanchard with Alberta and N Twin.
A good quote from the late Dave Cheesmond about George and Alex. In 1985 Dave and Barry had their eye on climbing the North Pillar of N Twin and were wating for the right conditions. Dave phones Barry one day and frantically says "We gotta go man. George is gunning for the pillar and he's bringing Alex! If you bring Alex it's cheating!"
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