Extreme Exposure: Climber Alex Lowe's remains found 16 years later
In this week's edition of Extreme Exposure—a weekly column featuring news and photography from the world of action and outdoor sports—Kai Lenny introduces downwind hydro foiling and Ryan Dungey wins third supercross title.
Alex Lowe’s Remains Found in Tibet
Alex Lowe was once widely considered the greatest climber on Earth. But 16 years ago, on Oct. 5, 1999, in an attempt to make the first American ski descent of Tibet’s Shishapangma (26,289 feet), he and cinematographer David Bridges were swept away in an avalanche, presumed dead as they were buried under ice and snow. This weekend, reports that their remains had been found surfaced after Swiss climber Ueli Steck and his partner, German David Göttler, discovered two bodies around the same spot where the avalanche had occurred. They contacted Conrad Anker, who was with Lowe, 40, and Bridges at the time of their deaths. “[Steck] said, ‘We came across two bodies,’” Anker told Outside magazine. “They were close to each other. Blue and red North Face backpacks. Yellow Koflach boots. It was all that gear from that time period. They were pretty much the only two climbers who were there.” Anker said that he had yet to see photos, and the bodies hadn’t been DNA tested, but he’s convinced. “We’re pretty sure it’s them,” he said.
Lowe, from Bozeman, Mont., was a force in the climbing world and his feats were well respected. He was the first to climb the Grand Teton’s north face in mid-winter, notched a solo climb up the Matterhorn’s north face and was the first to climb the northwest wall of Trango Tower in Pakistan. He was also a talented skier. His rescue of a lost climbing group on Alaska’s Denali has become the stuff of legends as the parks department flew him and another climber in to help. He apparently down-climbed to the distressed team, determined one man needed immediate evacuation, then proceeded to carry him on his back up the slope to a spot where he could be retrieved by helicopter. A park ranger said that Lowe single-handedly saved several people.
Kai Lenny Introduces World to Downwind Hydro Foiling
Kai Lenny is one of the most versatile watermen on Earth, able to surf big waves with the sport’s elite while also possessing the ability to hang with the best kite and wind surfers in the world. And he’s a gifted open ocean paddler. This weekend, he released a video of himself downwind hydro foiling. Downwind paddling is when SUP, wave ski, or canoe paddlers use open ocean wind swell to surf down a coastline in the open seas. Lenny has been experimenting with a foil on his boards. His heroes, Dave Kalama and Laird Hamilton often foil boarded behind jetskis. But Lenny simply uses a paddle. This is the incredible result of his experimentation.
Ryan Dungey Seals up Supercross Title
In front of nearly 60,000 fans at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Ryan Dungey won the third overall Supercross title of his celebrated career over the weekend. While his consecutive podium streak came to an end (he finished 4th), Dungey entered elite territory when he won the title: he’s the sixth rider all time to win three championships, putting the 26-year-old amongst the best of all time. “It's a bummer [to have the podium streak come to an end], but the real goal this year was to back up the title [from last season]. It was a tough challenge and we had to bring it every single weekend," Dungey said. “We kept fighting and here we are, back where we wanted to be.” While Dungey was winning his overall title, Ken Roczen captured his fifth event win of the season.
A Very Simple Session
It wasn’t exactly a packed house but BMX riders and skaters still put on a pretty intense show at the Simple Session event in Estonia over the weekend on the crazy Nate Wessel-built course. And they took home some serious hardware. France’s Aurelien Giraud won the skateboarding comp while Arizona’s Kevin Peraza won his second Simple Session title. It was a good event for the Americans as Beaver Flemming (skateboarding) and Reed Stark (BMX) took home best trick honors.