After putting up a photo of Alex Lowe on the previous post and getting lots of comments from mutual friends, I had a pang of nostalgia for Alex and dug up a few more. I first met Alex in 1991 when we both started working at the newly formed Black Diamond Equipment in Ventura, California (it had yet to move to SLC) and although I only knew him for eight years, I have a ton of photos from that period as there was seldom a dull outing with Alex.
For a gallery with captions, click the link below:
Alex and David Bridges died in an avalanche in 1999, and as a friend later said, “His friends were the lucky ones as they actually knew him. It’s the people who never did who I feel sorry for.” Like anyone who got out with Alex, I learned a ton of technical tricks from him, but more than that, I learned a new way of looking at skiing and climbing. This first occurred when we were looking at a Chouinard Equipment poster of a guy climbing a ribbon of ice while he was getting hosed by an avalanche from above. My impression was that the line looked about as burly as it gets, but then Alex started pointing out possible mixed routes in the background of the photo and described them as “This is where things get really interesting!” It was much the same with skiing where I was looking at established classic lines, whereas Alex was looking at doing them in the dark before work, enchaining a series of them, connecting lines with rope work and generally blending the idea of skiing and climbing together in a way that had never even occurred to me.
Alex’s endless energy and love of being in the mountains with people meant that he got out with hundreds of partners over the years. It didn’t seem to matter how good or bad a climber/skier you were, as Alex inevitably led the charge, as well as all the pitches, broke trail and more often than not, made you breakfast. As an early Dawn Patroller in the Wasatch, Alex would often break trail and then do multiple laps to your one. It was fairly common to lose him in the dark, in which case the tiny glow from his headlamp way up ahead on some mountain top would merge with the stars, which is a fitting way to remember him.
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