Finally, Alex Lowe and David Bridges' families can have closure. The two climbers' bodies have been found 16 years after a deadly avalanche claimed their lives on Tibet's Shishapangma.

According to a statement from the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation, the discovery was relayed to Conrad Anker, who was in the same avalanche as Lowe and Bridges, by David Goettler and Ueli Steck. On April 27, the two called Anker while they were getting ready to ascend Shishapangma's south face, telling him that they had come across two remains encased in blue ice that had been starting to emerge from the glacier.

After hearing the description of the packs and clothing of the climbers in ice, Anker was sure that the two were Lowe and Bridges.

On Oct. 5, 1999, Lowe and Bridges were hiking to check out a potential spot to ski on in Shishapangma, the world's 14th highest mountain. Along with Anker, they were looking to be the first Americans to ski on a peak nearly 5 miles high.

When the avalanche hit, Lowe and Bridges darted downhill and right while Anker ran to the left side of the mountain. Anker had a snapped rib and a gashed head, not to mention partially buried in snow, but he was alive. He looked for Lowe and Bridges with other skiers Mark Holbrook, Andrew McLean, Kristoffer Erickson and Hans Saari to no avail.

When Anker received the call about the discovery of the bodies, he was in Nepal with Jenni Lowe-Anker, Alex's widow. The two married in 2001, falling in love while they shared their grief over losing Lowe and Bridges. At the time, they were in Kathmandu overseeing the ongoing construction of a Khumbu Climbing Center, an Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation project offering technical training for indigenous mountain workers.

Lowe-Anker had previously said she's not looking forward to the day that Lowe's body will melt out of the glacier, but is thankful today for the closure brought by finding the two climbers.

"It is time to put Alex to rest," she said.

The couple will be heading back to Shishapangma with Lowe's children with Jenni during the summer monsoon and are likely to go to the nearest Tibetan town of Nyalam to hold a ceremony.

"The proper thing to do will be to take care of his body according to local practices," said Anker.

Like the last three, this spring had been particularly dry and warm, which is one possible reason why Lowe and Bridge's bodies melted out of the glacier so quickly. Lowe-Anker even thought that the event would not happen in her lifetime.

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.