The Family Lowe
In 1934, sixteen-year-old Ralph Lowe and his uncle hitched up a buggy and drove from the range where they worked in St Anthony, Idaho to the west side of the Tetons to climb the Owen-Spalding route on the Grand Teton. It was to be the beginning of Ralph’s lifelong love of the outdoors, mountains, and the Tetons in particular. It was a love that Ralph passed down to his three sons Mike, Greg and Jeff. In 1956, Ralph took his eldest son, Mike (then aged 10), up the Exum Ridge of the Grand Teton. In 1958, he returned to do this same ridge again but this time with his younger sons Greg (aged 8) and Jeff (aged 7), making Jeff the youngest person ever to do the climb. Climbing the Grand Teton with their dad was a rite of passage, and over the next two decades climbing became a passion for the brothers as they quickly developed into good rock climbers and mountaineers.
As the Lowe brothers climbing skills grew, so did their interest in more demanding routes. Jeff, in particular, was very dedicated to climbing new routes in the USA and across the globe. Jeff has over 1,000 first ascents to his name including hard rock climbs, Alpine north faces and Himalayan summits. Jeff was a visionary, he saw potential where others saw impossibility. His unsuccessful attempt to climb the North Ridge of Latok 1 is often referred to as the last great line in the greater ranges. The best alpinists in the world have tried, but nobody has come close to reaching Jeff’s high point on the route.
An Inventive Mind
For Greg, in particular, designing things had been an interest since childhood. As a kid, he was forever building telescopes, constructing model rockets or playing with chemistry sets. When Greg turned his ingenuity towards inventing outdoor equipment, an impressive series of innovations and ideas soon emerged. From humble beginnings in the basement of the Lowe family home in Ogden, Utah, Greg Lowe created a backpack that pioneered load carrying technology. The 1967 Expedition pack became the blueprint for all technical packs that followed. cementing Lowe Alpine’s international reputation for innovative, high quality backpacking products.
Ralph Lowe with Mike, Greg, Jeff Ogden Utah, USA, 1957 from The Jeff Lowe Collection.
JUST THE BEGINNING
Lowe Alpine has recently renewed its focus on backpacks, and is now 100% dedicated to designing the best high-performance backpacks in the world. The AirZone range of hiking packs is the sum of its experience. Redesigned for 2016, the AirZone Pro is a highly breathable, adjustable hiking pack that puts comfort and reliability first. Lowe Alpine is as focused today, as when Greg Lowe was designing the world’s first internal framed pack 50 years ago, and looking forward to another 50 years of making the best packs in the world.
2017 sees Low Alpine celebrate their 50th Anniversary, this film captures the spirit of Lowe Alpine, the people who use their backpacks and the mountain ranges that call us to action.
20 June 2017 by George Fisher
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