Alex Lowe Peak

On September 12, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) bestowed an honor upon a late Bozeman resident whom Outside magazine once crowned “World’s Best Climber.” “Alex Lowe Peak” is the new name for a mountain in the Gallatin National Forest formerly identified by its elevation: “Peak 10,031.”

Lowe was a renowned climber of the world’s most challenging peaks. His accomplished resume includes scaling Mt. Everest twice, as well as many first ascents in remote locations such as Pakistan, Kirghizstan, Nepal, and Antarctica. He also was the first to conquer numerous challenging routes in North America from the Rockies to the Appalachians.

The BGN stipulates that in order to be memorialized in the name of a geographic feature, the person in question should be directly connected to the place. Lowe’s case is no exception. In 1997, Lowe and friend Hans Saari scaled “10,031,” which lies southwest of Mt. Blackmore at the head of South Cottonwood Creek, and made the first-ever ski descent of a couloir that they coined “Hellmouth.”

Terry Cunningham, a Bozeman resident, nominated Lowe for the honor. Though he never met the famed mountaineer, Cunningham claims that “Alex helped put Bozeman on the map… and was an enthusiastic mentor to local climbers. I thought it was only fitting for the community to return the favor by putting Alex Lowe on the map—in a literal sense.” The application received regional support from organizations such as the Bozeman City Commission and the Gallatin County Commission, and in Bozeman Chronicle editorials.

Lowe was two months shy of his 41st birthday when he died in an avalanche on the Tibetan peak Shishapangma in 1999. Jennifer Lowe, his widow, since started the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation to preserve her late husband’s spirit. The humanitarian organization offers direction and financial aid to indigenous people living in remote regions worldwide. More information can be found at