Alex Lowe and David Bridges' Bodies Found on Shishapangma

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

On October 5, 1999 Alex Lowe and David Bridges were buried in a massive avalanche on Shishapangma in Tibet. This month, over 16 years later, their bodies have been found.

Shishapangma Alex Lowe Tibet Mountain
Shishapangma, the 14th highest peak on Earth. Photo: mountainspirit/Flickr; CC BY 2.0

On April 27, alpinists Ueli Steck and David Goettler came across the remains of two climbers encased in ice, emerging from a glacier. The pair planned to climb the south face of Shishapangma and had been acclimatizing. Conrad Anker and Jennifer Lowe-Anker (Alex’s widow), were in Nepal when they received a call from Goettler. After hearing a description of the clothing and packs of the climbers, Anker concluded that the climbers had to be Alex Lowe and David Bridges.

Conrad Anker had been with Lowe and Bridges during the avalanche. The trio planned to become the first American team to ski down the 26,291-foot Shishapangma, the 14th highest mountain on Earth. While crossing a glacier, they saw a serac break 6,000 feet above, triggering a massive avalanche. When they realized they were in its path, Anker ran left, Lowe and Bridges ran right. Anker suffered broken ribs, head lacerations, and a dislocated shoulder. Lowe and Bridges were never seen again. Anker and other members of the team searched for 20 hours, but they could not locate the two men.

Alex Lowe was known as one of the best all-around mountain athletes of his generation, and famously stated that “The best climber in the world is the one having the most fun.” David Bridges was a two-time US national paragliding champion, up and coming mountaineer, and a cameraman for the expedition.

In a statement put out by The Alex Lowe Foundation, Jennifer Lowe-Anker said:

“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.”

Film: How Matt Cornell Free Soloed One of America’s Classic Hard Mixed Routes

"The Nutcracker" explores the mental challenges of solo climbing and the tactics Cornell used to help him send the route.