50th Anniversary Timeline

Moments combine to make a lifetime. Products designed, routes ticked and summits conquered - we are the sum of our experiences.

This timeline explores who we are. Lowe Alpine was founded by Jeff, Greg & Mike Lowe in 1967. Experienced climbers and mountaineers with an eye for design, the brothers saw the need for a company that made outdoor gear that worked. Lowe Alpine was born. We have a rich history, filled with innovation in the workshop and superhuman feats in the mountains. Discover more:

Jump to a Decade

1960's 1970's 1980's 1990's 2000's 2010's

1967

1960's

The Expedition Pack

The First Technical Backpack

Greg Lowe invented the modern backpack. In 1967, he started working on the 'Expedition' pack in the basement of his parents house in Ogden, Utah.

The pack was designed for climbing - it had a flexible internal frame, sternum strap and side compression. The new design kept the pack stable, supportive and lightweight. All modern, internal framed packs are a descendant of the Lowe Alpine 'Expedition' pack.

The Expedition Pack features in Outside Magazine' prestigious 'Most Influential Gear Of All-Time' list

1967

1969

The L.U.R.P

Just Hanging Out

The L.U.R.P was a tent designed to hang in midair from a single point.

It has a rigid floor so climbers could camp in the vertical realm without the need for find a ledge. This was the first port-a-ledge style tent ever used in the mountains.

1969

1972

1970's

Lowe Alpine Systems

Making It Official

Mike Lowe borrows $3000 dollars and the brothers officially register Lowe Alpine systems as manufacturing business that make outdoor equipment.

1972

1972

The HummingBird

Ice Ice Baby

The HummingBird ice tool was the first climbing axe to have interchangeable picks and a true curve that could reach around bulges and sink in.

Greg Lowe spent the winter of 1972 prototyping and testing these designs in a frozen swimming pool at his parents house in Ogden, Utah.

The Hummingbird features in Outside Magazine' prestigious 'Most Influential Gear Of All-Time' list

1972

1973

Cams

Ethical Protection

The Spring Cam was the first ever 'spring loaded camming device'.

A pre-curser to the modern cam, this piece of climbing protection along with the Split Cam  heralded a new era of free climbing. Protection could now be placed quickly, silently and safely, without scarring the rock.

1973

1974

Bridelvail Falls

The Birth Of Modern Ice Climbing

Using some of the innovations developed during the winter of 71-72, Jeff Lowe embarks on the hardest ice climb ever attempted - Bridelvail Falls (W15+/16).

Jeff goes on to solo the route years later and once again redefines the image of what is possible in the sport.

1974

1975

Travel Backpacks

Packs For Global Wanderers

The Kinnikinnic range were soft backpacks with stowable harnesses and internal organisation systems.

These features catered for the needs of travellers rather than climbers. This range pioneered the the travel specific backpacks we see everywhere today.

1975

1978

Military Packs

Fit For Battle

The Vector was the first Lowe Alpine pack designed for use by the U.S military.

Lowe Alpine have made a number of packs for military use across the world. A combination of hard wearing durability, load-carrying comfort and stability have made these packs famous, must have items amongst military personnel.

1978

1979

Ama Dablam

A Defining Moment For Alpinism

Jeff, Greg and their father Ralph joined an expedition to Ama Dablam in 1979.

Organised by a major TV network the aim was to become the 2nd team to make an ascent of what many consider to be the most beautiful mountain in the world.

The ascent was a success but Jeff was not content. He went on to solo the south face of the mountain the next day. An ascent well ahead of it’s time - this feat has never been repeated.

1979

1979

The ND (Female specific) Range

The Bliss Giving Godess

Lowe Alpine’s first female specific pack range is introduced in 1979.

It is named ‘ND’ after the Indian Godess Nanda Devi. The female specific design has a number of ergonomic adjustments to ensure the packs fit women better. Female fit packs have been an important part of the range ever since.

1979

1980

1980's

Plastic Buckles

Plastic Fantastic

Lowe Alpine pioneered the use of quick-release, plastic buckles on their backpacks.

Prior to this all packs featured heavy metal buckles that were difficult to use. The new plastic buckles quickly became the industry standard and now feature on nearly all backpacks.

1980

1981

Fall Line Movie

Roll Out The Red Carpet

Fall Line is a short film directed by Greg Lowe & Bob Carmichael.

It follows Steve Shea as he attempts to climb and ski Grand Teton. The film was nominated for an Oscar at the 1981 Hollywood awards ceremony.

1981

1984

Softshell

20 Years Before The Revolution

The Latok Diamond Pullover was designed by Jeff Lowe as a solution to the need for warmth and stretch in climbing clothing.

The Diamond Pullover was the first ever softshell garment, 20 years before softshell was a ‘thing’.

The Diamond Pullover features in Outside Magazine' prestigious 'Most Influential Gear Of All-Time' list

1984

1984

RATS Ice Screw

Screwing Safety

Protecting ice climbs was difficult before the RATS (ratcheting ice screw) .

The leader needed to carry a hammer and ice pitons to make a safe passage through their route. This all changed when the Lowe's developed the RATS. Climbers could now move more efficiently and protect their climb with these easy-to-use, screw in, ice pitons.

1984

1984

The Tuber

One Solution To Fix Them All

The Tuber was the first belay device designed to be used for both  belaying and rappelling that would not jam or twist the rope.

The Tuber design was not patented and was quickly adopted by other brands. It became an industry wide design and is still used by the majority of climbers today.

The Tuber features in Outside Magazine' prestigious 'Most Influential Gear Of All-Time' list

1984

1991

1990's

Metanoia, Eiger

Transcendence and Self Discovery

With his business struggling and his personal life in a difficult place, Jeff Lowe decided to take on one of his most difficult climbs ever.

Metanoia becomes one of the hardest routes ever to be climbed on an alpine north face. The route changes his life, he finds the clarity he needs to move forwards and regain control. Metanoia is finally repeated 25 years later on 30th December 2016 by a strong party led by Thomas Huber.

1991

1993

A.P.S Back System

Refining Carry Technology

The A.P.S (advanced paralux system) was a simple, clean adjustable back system for Lowe Alpine trekking packs.

It allowed the wearer to find a perfect for their body shape and back-length.

1993

1999

Dry Yarn

Giant-Slaying Waterproof Technology

Lowe Alpine have always chosen to blaze their own path.

While other brand were cosying up with big fabric manufacturers Lowe were finding their own solutions to the challenges of creating breathable, waterproof garments.

Dry Yarn technology provided almost near-permanent waterproofing - It wins an Outdoor industry award for innovation.

1999

2004

2000's

LoadLocker

Unbreakable Buckles

The LoadLocker buckle is a metal buckle designed for use on backback packs that suffer at the hands of climbers and mountaineers.

Plastic buckles can break when stood on or jammed against a rock wall. The lightweight LoadLocker design can be used with cold hands and big gloves and will not break, ever.

2004

2006

TFX

Precision Fit

The Torso Fit System (TFX) is the first overhaul of the adjustable internal frame back system for over a decade.

It creates a precise and easy to measure backpack fitting system. Retailers use this to ensure they are fitting backpacks accurately to users.

2006

2007

AirZone

Sweat Free Back

The AirZone back system is made from a suspended, trampoline like mesh that allows hot air to escape and cool air to ventilate the wearer's back.

This makes it perfect for long hikes in warm weather. AirZone is still one of the most popular back system technologies used by hikers today.

2007

2013

2010's

Axiom

Precision Fit Technology

Axiom is an adjustable back system technology for backpacking packs.

It uses a simple internal ratchet system to ensure a stable back-length specific fit. Axiom won an Outdoor Industry innovation award in 2014.

2013

2017

Ascent Superlight

Defining The New Era

50 years on from developing the first modern backpack Lowe Alpine have created an industry defining product for the very best alpinists in the world.

The Superlight weighs just 0.84kg when stripped but remains tough, comfortable to carry and fit for purpose.

2017

2018

Onwards

The Next 50 Years

Lowe Alpine are focused 100% on making the best technical backpacks in the world.

Our aim is to continue creating innovation led backpacking products that inspire people to explore further than ever before.

2018

Join the Lowe Alpine® Mailing List

Get the latest backpack news, advice and product information. We typically send 1 email per fortnight and you can unsubscribe at any time. We take your privacy very seriously and will only send you emails that we consider of genuine interest.

For more information please refer to our privacy notice.