Jeff Lowe’s pack found after 20 frozen years on the Eiger

Posted By: The Ski Channel on May 2, 2011 9:11 am

In 1991, after 9 harrowing days on the North Face of the Eiger, Jeff Lowe abandoned his backpack when he couldn’t find any anchors at the end of his rope. Jeff 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.

Last friday, Josh Wharton spent over 2 hours chopping Jeff”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. Josh delivered the frozen, weather worn pack to Jeff on the deck of the Bellevue Hotel at Kleine Scheidegg. Chris Alstrin filmed both the excavation and the heroic delivery. Getting the frozen pack onto the helicopter was quite precarious for everyone involved.

Photo: David Black

Jeff was relieved to have this bit of unfinished business taken care of after all these years. Leaving the pack was contrary to Jeff’s Alpine Style ascents, but necessary for his own survival on that day. Josh also delivered a Jumar and a Gibbs Ascender, and bits of rope cut away with the pack. 

The contents of the pack:

  •   1 Thermarest stuff sack
  •   1 Blue enslite pad, cut short
  •   1 Vau De prototype jacket designed by Jeff Lowe
  •   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 hanging stove made by Jeff Lowe
  •   2 pots, eroded badly with large holes in them
  •   1 glasses case with signature Jeff Lowe prescription glasses, large, thick lenses with a Croakies attached to them
  •   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)
  •   1 small plastic box of safety pins
  •   1 Compass

Great progress was made all last week and continues this week on the filming for Jeff Lowe’s Metanoia on the North Face of the Eiger in Switzerland. Josh Wharton got his first look at Jeff Lowe’s route, Metanoia, where it comes close to the Hinterstoisser Traverse and then again from high up on the mountain. Chris Alstrin was filming on the face, while Jeff and Greg Lowe did fly by’s in a helicopter.

We are pleased to announce the generous support of individual backers on where we raised $35,917. This money will be used to help fund helicopter and camera time on the North Face of the Eiger.