From the 1970s through the late 1990s, Utah's Jeff Lowe was one of climbing's guiding lights, setting new standards for light-and-fast alpinism with ascents in the Himalayas and Alps and helping to establish the sport of modern mixed climbing with his efforts in the mountains of Colorado.. Now 63, Lowe suffers from an ALS-like neurodegenerative disease that confines him to a wheelchair, and relies on round-the-clock care to help him eat, communicate, and perform most other functions of daily life.
On Tuesday, June 24, climbers and adventure-philes will give back with A Tribute to Jeff Lowe, an evening of climbing film and presentations at the Boulder High School auditorium aimed at raising funds for Lowe's ongoing medical care. See also: Paddlers, bikers and climbers at the 2014 GoPro Mountain Games
"Friends will be speaking. It will be a bit of a roast for Jeff," says Connie Self, Lowe's partner.
The event, sponsored jointly by the Boulder Climbing Community and the American Alpine Club, will start with a social hour at 6 p.m. and feature appearances by pioneering Yosemite free climber Lynn Hill and Lowe's relatives and fellow alpinists, brother Greg Lowe and cousin George Lowe.
Starting at 7 p.m., guests can catch a program of climbing films on subjects ranging from French alpinist Catherine Destivelle's ascent of Pakistan's Trango Tower to the first climbing World Cup held in the U.S. Among other highlights, the makers of Jeff Lowe's Metanoia, an upcoming film about Lowe and his magnum opus on the Eiger, will give the audience a sneak peak at yet-unreleased scenes from their documentary. Into Thin Air author John Krakauer, who was a photographer on the ascent, will introduce the film and share some slides from the climb.
While Lowe's made plenty of friends over the years, Self says she's still surprised by just how much support Boulder's climbing community has offered to them. And not just money either: Self shares the story of one acquaintance who spends two nights a week at Self and Lowe's home, tending to Lowe's needs while Self catches some much-needed shut-eye.
"I said "What do you want to do?"" Self recalls. "He said, "I want to do whatever you need the most.""
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