Jeff Lowe receives an Honorary Membership from the AAC - Up-Climbing

Jeff Lowe receives an Honorary Membership from the AAC

Jeff Lowe is to receive an Honorary Membership from the American Alpine Club, the club’s highest honor, for a life of extraordinary dedication. Recipients are judged upon three sets of criteria: climbing achievements, contributions to the climbing community and vision Says Jim Donini, one of Lowe’s climbing partners, “He was an all-rounder—he did it all. Although at the time, it was just known as climbing.”
Jim Donini, recent past president of the AAC and a top alpinist, credits Lowe with importing ice-climbing techniques from Europe. He returned with a renewed notion of what was possible. Such first ascents as Bridalveil Falls (WI6, 1974) in Colorado, and Keystone Greensteps (WI5, 1975), Alaska, are Lowe’s ice climbing legacy. Jim McCarthy, himself author of major alpine ascents, says, “He transformed ice climbing, period.” Lowe was a prolific mountaineer: in winter 1991 he soloed Metanoia on the North Face of the Eiger for the first ascent (5.10, M6+, A4).
In 1994 he essentially invented mixed climbing with his ascent of Octopussy (M8) outside of Vail, Colorado. His and his team members’ attempt of the North Ridge of Latok 1 (7145 meters) in Pakistan is considered to be one of the greatest alpine endeavors of all time.
Jim McCarthy calls it “by far the greatest failure of American mountaineering.” Lowe, Jim Donini, Michael Kennedy and Jeff’s cousin George Lowe spent 26 days on the mountain and came within 400 feet of the summit, a high point that still holds.
Donini cites diminishing fuel reserves, Jeff’s illness from a near-fatal virus and horrendous weather as the main reasons for their retreat. To this day, the North Ridge of Latok  awaits a first ascent, despite numerous attempts.

By Matthew Whiteman. Read more on: