Author Archives: ben-nobel

Alex Lowe – The Greatest Mountain Athlete Of All Time

Alex and Jennifer Lowe skiing toward the north face of Notch Top in Rocky Mountain National Park in 1982.

Words by: Jennifer and Max Lowe

Alex and Jennifer Lowe skiing toward the north face of Notch Top in Rocky Mountain National Park in 1982.

Alex Lowe was a Montanan who arrived on the national climbing scene in the early eighties with a voracious appetite for climbing in all disciplines. He became known as the “Jack of all Trades” and “The Fiend”, climbing big walls and difficult free routes as well as forging steep ice and notable alpine ascents around the globe. Alex was known to be fast, bold and somewhat of a visionary in developing the direction of mixed climbing and technical ice routes. In the spring of 1999 he was called, “the world’s best climber” by Outside Magazine. He died in October 1999 at the age of forty, buried by an avalanche in Tibet.

Jennifer – The North Face of Notchtop was one of hundreds of adventures that Alex and I shared in the mountains during our first years together. Our Kletterwerks packs accompanied us as we explored the US and traveled to Europe, Alaska and South America to climb. In later years Alex went on to climb on every continent and we settled in Bozeman where he READ MORE >

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Camp Patriot Celebrates Its 6th Annual Rainier Summit Bid

Camp Patriot 2012 Summit Challenge


Andy, Art and Keith on their way to the summit during the 2012 Camp Patriot Rainier Climb

Tim and I summited Mt Rainier in July of this year with 2 men wounded in war.  One had a prosthetic leg above the knee, the other, 2 carbon fiber braces supporting his legs that had been violently destroyed.  They summited a 14,000 foot peak, whose average summit success rate is somewhere … READ MORE >

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Kyle Taylor Profile : Implement Productions

Kyle Taylor

Our friend Phil Baribeau just launched his new site, Implement Productions.  Check out his profile on Mystery Ranch Athlete, Kyle Taylor.


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Athlete Steve Popovich 2011-2012 Ski Edit

Big Poppy

Athlete Steve Popovich shreds. Hard. Watch his full 2012 season edit here!


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American River Hot Shots


The American River Hot Shots operate out of Forest Hill, California, and have been carrying the Hot 3 since 2010. Designed and built specifically for the long days, heavy loads, and intensive labor that are givens in the job, our packs can now be found on the majority of the Nation’s 110 Hotshot Crews, logging countless hours on the Fireline.

A Hotshot can call only a few things their own: boots, nomex, sleeping bag, pack, … READ MORE >

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Freeskiing World Tour Photos

Poppin new Saddle Peak colors...

Congratulations to the winners of the 2012 Freeskiing World Tour in Revelostoke!  Here are a few shots from our very own Meg Haywood Sullivan. Thanks again Meg.  For full coverage, follow this link:

The next stop on the tour travels to our neck of the woods.  Good luck to everyone at round 4 of the tour, at Moonlight Basin, Montana.

Poppin new Saddle Peak colors..


Finally, somewhere has snow this winter...


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Cooke Pt. 2

After spending a long weekend in Cooke, I was beckoned once again by the scale and availability of its spectacular objectives.


I couldn’t get the images of some of those lines out of my head and was fortunate enough to be able to load up, once again, and drive south.  This time, with a solid crew from Salt Lake City, including my good amigo Jay Beyer.


We had decided to spend a few days camped up where I had spent the previous weekend, to put us in good position for a solid assault on some big lines at a moment’s notice.  I took a scouting lap on my sled into the basin and found a stellar campsite in the trees located right below the immense wall, that I am nostalgically referring to as Churchbells.  After a few laps of running the boys into camp, we set out to see if anything was moving, and show the SLC crew the spectacular arena surrounding us.  I think they were impressed.

Eric Balken - still cracking me up.

We got back to camp and, after a few bouts of the Old Crow, we attempted sleep amongst the titans that surrounded … READ MORE >

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Cooke Pt. 1


If there is a heaven, I think it might be near the NE entrance to Yellowstone..

On another random Wednesday evening, Brad and I planned a quick and dirty trip south to rip big lines in classic Montana fashion.  The Tacoma adorned with my old Summit 700, a case of PBR, winter bags and a tarp, we blazed through the park, losing count of the numerous close calls with various hoofed animals.

Home sweet home

We had some big missions in mind, and thankfully, the snowpack in the region has been very conducive.  With no consistent weak layers, and a minor threat of wind slabs, our confidence in some of the bigger objectives started to overbear any fear of strength, ability or prowess.  We toured around day 1 ripping some beautiful east facing lines only to be blindsided by one of winter’s deadliest predators.  Skirting along a knife edge ridge, making it a point to stay as close to the windward side of the ridge as possible, Brad stepped just far enough to make everything go BOOM!!  Scrambling to secure himself back into terra firma, a truck sized cornice ripped itself loose and tomahawked downward.  Usually the best sign of … READ MORE >

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Sunday Funday

Sometimes, something beautiful happens in this world…

Ryan Walter's pillow hopping

In some cases that may mean falling in love, getting your dream job, or finding out that you didn’t actually break your back when you smoke a tree at 30 miles an hour…  On that note, the term Sunday Funday has a lot more credibility when the beauty of 2,500 foot faces littered with pillows, cliffs, and 2 feet of fresh are all of the sudden staring you in the face.

Meg and Ryan in the lifelong quest for powder

The quest continues....

Ryan reaping what he sows...

SW Montana can have a tough time staying consistent as far as snowpack goes.  The Bridgers can get pretty bad, pretty quickly, when 90 mph winds pillage any new snow that may have fallen in previous storms.  Gallatin Range, same thing…  And don’t get me started on the Crazies….  But fortunately, with a little exploring, some serious vert, and a couple hours trying to keep 4 wheels between the lines, something beautiful indeed, can happen.

If I had to describe the feeling, it was the best...

Ryan gettin' some with his TREW threads and Mystery Ranch Saddle Peak

MR Fuze and


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The First Day of the Rest of the Season.

Photo by Jay Beyer

So after a few injury laden weeks from an episode involving a stubborn tree and my hip, I finally made it back into the mountains.  Tradeshows brought me down to Denver for SIA and Salt Lake City for OR, to ride some pow with my good friend Jay Beyer (  The Wasatch doesn’t disappoint even with an ice layer from a rain sequence the week prior, as we found good snow on the backside of Mt. Superior.  Sunny skies and decent wind deposited enough new snow to cover up parts of that ice layer and make for some good photo opportunities and easy skinning.

My Fuze and I are attached at the hip throughout most of the winter and finally got a chance to ride my new DPS Lotus 138′s after staring at them for weeks.  A few laps on the north side of Superior on wind affected, but silky smooth snow, and a final push back down to Little Cottonwood.  If you haven’t ridden in the Wasatch….  You know what exclamation comes next…

That night, forecast called for a mild storm to roll in and we aimed our sights at the Y-Not Couloir … READ MORE >

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