Alex (right) and Max (left, age 3) in December 1991 in Zion National Park, Utah.
Alex (right) and Max (left, age 3) in December 1991 in Zion National Park, Utah. (Photo: Jennifer Lowe-Anker)
Adventures in Audio

A Father’s Death in the Mountains—and What Came After

Alex (right) and Max (left, age 3) in December 1991 in Zion National Park, Utah.

In 1999, Alex Lowe was a star climber and father to three young boys when he died on Tibet’s 26,335-foot Shishapangma along with expedition cameraman David Bridges. The lone survivor of the accident was Conrad Anker, Alex’s climbing partner and best friend. A year after the tragedy, Anker married Jennifer Lowe, Alex’s widow and mother to their three young boys, Max, Sam, and Isaac. Ever since, storytellers have been captivated by this tale, but now a powerful new documentary by Max Lowe, Torn, reveals how grief can evolve over decades—and how love can heal even the deepest emotional wounds. In this episode, Lowe shares what it’s been like to tell his family’s story and what he hopes we can all learn from it.


This episode was brought to you by Fat Tire, maker of delicious, easy-drinking beers and a company that’s taking action to address climate change. Join Fat Tire in calling on the International Olympic Committee to require all future sponsors of the Games to be be climate leaders at PointOfSnowReturn.com.

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Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since expanded our show and now offer a range of story formats, including interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, as well as reports from our correspondents in the field.