David Bridges, R.I.P.: Bodies of CO Photog, Climber Alex Lowe Frozen in Glacier
Alex Lowe and David Bridges before their disappearance in October 1999. Additional images and a video below.
In October 1999, renowned mountain climber and adventurer Alex Lowe and David Bridges, an Aspen-based photographer, as well as Lowe's climbing partner and good friend, disappeared after an avalanche struck the peak they were scaling in Tibet.
Two years later, Lowe's widow, Jenni, married Conrad Anker, who had been on the expedition with Lowe and Bridges and narrowly escaped death himself — and under her married name, Jenni Lowe-Anker, she wrote Forget Me Not, a book about the tragedy, her grief and the path forward.
In Forget Me Not's last paragraph, she acknowledged, "Alex will melt out of the glacier one day...and I do not look forward to it."
Now, that day has come.
The website of AlexLowe.org, a charitable foundation Jenni and Anker run, has revealed that two bodies were recently discovered frozen in a glacier — and they're believed to be Lowe and Bridges.
"On April 27th, Conrad Anker and Jenni Lowe-Anker were in Kathmandu, Nepal, preparing to return home at the end of a month spent overseeing the ongoing construction of a building to house and sustain the Khumbu Climbing Center, a project that offers technical training for indigenous mountain workers," the release begins.
"Just before noon, Conrad received a phone call from Tibet. It was David Goettler and Ueli Steck, who were acclimatizing for an ascent on the south face of Shishapangma" — the 26,291-foot peak (the world's fourteenth highest) Lowe and Bridges were climbing when they vanished.
Goettler and Steck "had come across the remains of two climbers still encased in blue ice but beginning to emerge from the glacier," the narrative continues. "Goettler described the clothing and packs of the climbers to Conrad, who concluded that the two were undoubtedly David Bridges and Alex Lowe, Jennifer’s then husband.
"Both were buried in a massive avalanche on October 5th 1999 and never found. Conrad was climbing with Alex and David at the time of the avalanche, which he survived with minor injuries."
At that point, the release notes Lowe and Anker's marriage, as well as his adoption of her three sons with Alex and the lines from the book quoted above.
In the years since then, however, Jenni has gained a new perspective.
Today, she's quoted as saying, “Alex and David vanished, were captured and frozen in time. Sixteen years of life has been lived, and now they are found. We are thankful.”
She adds: “Alex’s parents are thankful to know that their son’s body has been found and that Conrad, the boys and I will make our pilgrimage to Shishapangma. It is time to put Alex to rest.”
We offer our sincere condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Alex Lowe and David Bridges — and encourage folks to check out AlexLowe.org.
Continue to see a BBC World News account of the latest developments.