Climber Jeff Lowe has pioneered and conquered some of the world’s toughest routes, earning him a worldwide reputation in the climbing community.
Now, a legendary accomplishment of his that has yet to be duplicated nearly 20 years later serves as the centerpiece of a new film featuring the Ogden resident and internationally renowned master of rock and ice.
“Jeff Lowe’s Metanoia” uses the Eiger, a famously challenging mountain in Switzerland, as a backdrop for Lowe’s life story. For nine harrowing days in the winter of 1991, he pieced together a nearly impossible route up the very center of the Eiger Nordwand, the daunting north face of the monolith — without using the expansion bolts climbers normally use.
Nineteen years have passed, and Lowe’s extraordinary first ascent has never been repeated. Swiss climber Ueli Steck wants to attempt the route, and the film will weave Steck’s attempt into the fabric of Jeff’s life tapestry. Steck has successfully climbed several routes on Eiger, but not Lowe’s route.
“Metanoia”, the name given to the legendary route, derives its name from a Greek word meaning a fundamental change of thinking or transformative change of heart.
The film has brought on board Jon Krakauer, the famous author of such books as Into the Wild and Into Thin Air, as narrator. Krakauer accompanied Lowe on the original ascent to photograph and document the climb.
The plan is to send Lowe; his brother, director and alpine gear pioneer Greg Lowe; and a small crew to Switzerland in the coming weeks to film the route and Steck’s attempt to conquer it.
Lowe’s ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis forced him to retire from climbing years ago, but producers say a critical aspect of the film is to have him directing aerial shots from a helicopter so the film reflects his unique vision.
While the main focus of “Metanoia” is Lowe’s famous accomplishment on Eiger, the film will also highlight some of his other conquests from the Northern Rockies to the Andes to the Himalayas. Crews are currently collecting archival footage, and hope to complete it in time to submit it to the Sundance Film Festival this year before a late summer deadline.
However, the film is fast approaching a budget deadline and scrambling to come up with enough financing to bring the vision to life. More than 400 backers have pledged more than $80,000, but the film needs to hit the $125,000 mark by March 3 to continue with production.
Donations are being accepted online through the creative funding project website kickstarter.com. For more information on the movie or to make a donation, visit www.JeffLoweMovie.com.