Monday, April 11, 2011

Jeff Lowe's Pack Recovered After 20 Years on the Eiger

In 1991, after 9 harrowing days on the North Face of the Eiger, American climber Jeff Lowe abandoned his backpack when he couldn't find any anchors at the end of his rope. Lowe untied and left the rope and his backpack behind as he free soloed the last 50 feet to the summit ridge where he was plucked off the mountain by a helicopter, just hours before a big storm would engulf the great North Face.

On Mar. 25, Josh Wharton spent over two hours chopping Lowe's pack out of the ice and snow, high up on the North Face of the Eiger. Lowe was anxious to see the condition of the pack after 20 years on the mountain. Wharton delivered the frozen, weather worn pack to Lowe on the deck of the Bellevue Hotel at Kleine Scheidegg, Switzerland.

Lowe was relieved to have this bit of unfinished business taken care of after all these years. Leaving the pack was contrary to Lowe’s Alpine Style ascents, but necessary for his own survival on that day.

Lowe was in the region filming Metanoia on the North Face of the Eiger (see EN, January, 2011). Support and sponsorship is still needed to complete the film. (For more information: see the video clip at;

The contents of the pack provide insight into what every good climber carried 20 years ago:

• 1 white Scott motorized goggles (a fan for defogging)
• 1 Thermarest stuff sack
• 6 Mazda AA alkaline batteries
• 1 Vau De prototype jacket designed by Jeff Lowe
• 1 Pair of wool socks
• 1 carabiner
• 1 small black stuff sack
• 1 pair glove liners
• 1 pair very thin/light glove liners
• 1 medium blue stuff sack
• 1 lithium battery dated 1/91
• 1 Black Diamond Red Lithium Battery Headlamp
• 1 Medium sized food bag (pretty trashed, but one Mars Bar and one snickers bar remained intact)
• 1 small black stove bag
• 1 large pink stuff sack for pots
• 1 hanging stove made by Jeff Lowe
• 2 nested pots, oxidized through on one side
• 1 potholder
• 1 small purple plastic cup
• 1 Ziploc bag
• 1 fuel canister
• 1 16 oz. white plastic Nalgene pee bottle
• 1 small zip lock with small roll of TP intact
• 1 compass
• 1 silver insulated water bottle bag
• 1 large purple stuff sack
• 1 medium blue stuff sack
• 1 pink and beige zippered side pocket
• 1 small pouch with repair kit
• 1 small clear plastic box with assorted safety pins (10+)
• 1 small tube sun cream
• 1 small film canister with a tissue and 3 pills - disintegrating
• 1 glasses case w/signature Jeff Lowe glasses, large, thick lenses w/Croakies
• 1 small can of vitamin C tabs
• 1 2” roll of medical tape
• 1 cut off 8” metal mill bastard file
• 1 extra ice pick (unattached)
• 1 hammerhead (unattached)
• 1 shovel head
• 1 green HelSport one man bivy tent with poles
• 1 black Vau De compression stuff sack
• 1 pink and purple Vau De sleeping bag (still frozen)

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