“Torn” shows mountaineer Alex Lowe’s son reckoning with his avalanche death in 1999


Max Lowe was 10 years old when his father, mountaineer superstar Alex Lowe, died in an avalanche during an expedition to Tibet in October 1999.

Alex’s best friend and climbing partner, Conrad Anker, married Alex’s widow and raised Max and the sons of his two brothers. Now a filmmaker, Max has used his camera as a therapeutic tool for himself and his family, attempting to take into account the trauma of their loss through intimate interviews and digging through Alex’s archives at their Bozeman home.

The result is “Torn,” a revealing and radically intimate documentary filming across the United States since the Telluride Film Festival and recently theatrically premiered in New York City.

The Lowes and Anker were finally able to recover Alex’s remains from the Shishapangma avalanche site in 2016. But the process failed to come to a conclusion, Max Lowe recalled in a recent video interview. Instead, it had the opposite effect and caused him to overcome his trauma with his family on film.

“I made this movie in the hope that it would reach a larger audience of people and people who don’t know anything about rock climbing but know something about family and loss,” Lowe said. “I think anyone who has suffered any loss can relate to our history in some way. And it was powerful enough to hear the comments.

Read our partner’s full story at aspentimes.com.

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