Mt. Shishapangma in Tibet - 26,260 ft


ShishapangmaOn October 5th, 1999 an avalanche on Mount Shishapangma took the lives of Filmmaker David Bridges and Climber Alex Lowe. This tragedy has effected many people in the mountaineering community and beyond. These two men will be missed by all who knew them. For those of us who were on the expedition and friends with David and Alex this tragic event has changed the color of every aspect of our lives and will forever.

Michael Brown's Journal from the day of the accident.

Sadly another member of this expedition, Hans Saari, was killed on May 8, 2001 while skiing in France. Hans had a great energy and was a good friend to all of us.
We will miss him and the games of chess, which he nearly always won.



The expedition to Shishapangma was a film project as part of the North Face Expeditions television series on NBC Sports. We were working for American Adventure Productions. Andrew McLean and Mark Holbrook organized the trip.

Alex Lowe and Conrad Anker were along as the high profile North Face athletes as well as being friends with Andrew and Mark. Hans Sari is an extreme skier who spends a lot of time with the others as well. Another friend Kristoffer Erickson was along as the expedition still photographer. Dave Bridges, Kent Harvey and Michael Brown were the film crew. The MountainZone also covered the trip and the team sent daily dispatches through a satellite phone.

Michael BrownDave was a strong climber and had brilliant potential as a cameraman. A couple days before the accident we sat down in the Clubhouse to review tapes. I expected to critique his work and point out problems. Instead I was blown away. His footage was great, better than great it was inspiring.

Photo (right) by Kristoffer Erickson.



Alex Lowe Usually the first one awake Alex made espresso and lattes for everyone. He even managed to get our staff of Tibetans, Sherpas and Nepalis drinking coffee.

MountainZone On the trek to BC Alex's Story
of Andrew getting Pulmonary Edema
-Winner of the "Best Film on Mountain Sports"
in the 2000 Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Photo (left) by Michael Brown
Ang Kami Sherpa and Alex Lowe in Base Camp




Base Camp was at 17,250ft about six miles from the base of Shishapangma. The team designated one two meter dome tent the "Club House." The Club House was complete with satellite communications, centerfold pinups, many bottles of scotch, film equipment, chess and cards, and anything else nine guys might want in Base Camp. Of particular interest to our Chinese Liaison Officer and Tibetan and Sherpa crew was the October issue of Penthouse Magazine. They had never seen anything like it and we had to demand its return after the Liaison Officer had it in his tent for two days.

Our memories of our time in base camp before the accident are like childhood memories. Everything was so good.


Links:
Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation
Michael's post trip dispatch
Film Crew Dispatch

MountainZone: Who team members look like
Alex's Espresso Follies
Video Information


Feather Duster
Kent Harvey near the summit of "Feather Duster. 
©1999 Michael brown

Shishapangma Base Camp
Conrad Anker, Michael Brown and Alex Low
walking toward Shishapangma Base Camp.
Photo by Kristoffer Erickson 1999

Michael Brown
Mark Holbrook, Dave Bridges, Alex Lowe and Michael Brown checking the Pulse Oximiter in the "Clubhose" at base camp.
Photo by Kristoffer Erickson 1999

Hans Saari
Hans Saari hiking toward Feather Duster

Feather Duster
Feather Duster got it's name from the Penthouse Magazine we had in base camp. Hans told a different story on Mountainzone. The real story, which we could not tell, was that 'feather dusters' were used as a pro in one of the features. It's not what you think ... it's worse.
Photo by Michael Brown

IMG0093.jpg (283123 bytes)
Conrad Anker, Hans Saari and Mark Holbroo
hiking up hill.

Conrad Anker
Conrad making turns on Feather Duster.

David Bridges
A touching and inspiring card from Dave's Family.
On the back it reads:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glint on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you wake in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circling flight
I am the soft starlight at night
do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep

-American Indian

Kris Erickson
Kris Erickson applying skins to his skis before climbing the "Ice Tooth." The peak is part of the Lang Tang Himal
and the border of Nepal and Tibet.
Photo by Michael Brown

Michael Brown
Kent and Michael climbed an opposing peak while the rest of the team climbed and skied the "Ice Tooth."
When shooting 16mm each roll of 400ft gives about 11minutes of screen time. This is actually quite a lot. With film we select shots carefully and only get the good stuff.
Michael Brown photo by Kent Harvey

High altitude Video:
Monkey "Brown Nosing"



Everest


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