Twenty years ago, as he was completing a gnarly nine-day climb of the north face of the Eiger, Jeff Lowe couldn’t find a place to anchor his rope. With a massive storm licking at his heels, he abandoned the pack and free soloed to the summit, where he caught a helicopter lift back to Zermatt. Last Friday, during the shooting of a movie about Lowe and his unrepeated ascent of a route he named Metanoia, Josh Wharton chipped the pack out of the ice where it’s been lodged for two decades and delivered it to Lowe waiting below.
Lowe is one of climbing’s most legendary heroes, but he’s been unable to climb since 2004, when the effects of his muscular sclerosis made it impossible. He was reunited with the pack in Zermatt, where he’s assisting in the filming of Metanoia, which is being narrated by Jon Krakauer and just yesterday completed its latest round of fund raising via Kickstarter. The filmmakers needed $25,000, but almost $36,000 has been pledged.
The pack was frozen solid. It will be emptied later this week, after it thaws.