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Jeff Lowe's Recovered Pack Contents Revealed

The contents of Jeff Lowe's Vau De Backpack are finally revealed after being frozen into the North Face of the Eiger for 20 years!

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While in Switzerland filming for Jeff Lowe’s Metanoia, American climber Josh Wharton recovered Jeff Lowe’s pack from the Eiger after 20 years frozen into the great North Face. Click here for the original story.

In 1991, after 9 harrowing days on the North Face of the Eiger, Jeff Lowe abandoned his backpack when he couldn’t find any anchors at the end of his rope and free soloed the last 50 feet to the summit ridge where he was plucked off the mountain by a helicopter, just hours before a big storm would engulf the great North Face.

On March 25, 2011, Josh Wharton spent over 2 hours digging Jeff’s backpack out of the ice and snow, high up on the North Face of the Eiger. Josh delivered the frozen, weather worn pack to Jeff on the deck of the Bellevue Hotel at Kleine Scheidegg. Chris Alstrin filmed both the excavation and the heroic delivery. Watch the video clip here.

On Saturday, April 2, 2011, Jeff opened the mostly thawed, faded backpack and withdrew the contents one by one, along with a gritty sand like material, which turned out to be oxidized aluminum from his disintegrating cooking pots. See the video here

Some of the items included:

  • 1 Thermarest stuff sack
  • 1 Blue enslite pad, cut short
  • 1 Vau De prototype jacket designed by Jeff Lowe
  • 1 Black Diamond Red Lithium Battery Headlamp
  • 1 Medium sized food bag (pretty trashed, but one Mars bar and one Snickers bar remained intact)
  • 1 hanging stove made by Jeff Lowe
  • 2 pots, eroded badly with large holes in them
  • 1 glasses case with signature Jeff Lowe prescription glasses, large, thick lenses with a Croakies attached to them
  • 1 green HelSport one man bivy tent with poles
  • 1 black Vau De compression stuff sack
  • 1 pink and purple Vau De sleeping bag (still frozen)
  • 1 small plastic box of safety pins
  • 1 Compass

The sleeping bag remained frozen for many more days. The day before leaving Switzerland it was put into a sauna at 140 degrees F, for 10 hours. It slowly melted enough to be opened up and the zipper opened all the way. At the time it was packed up for the trip home there was still a fist sized ball of ice in the center of the bag… talk about great insulation!

Check out Jeff Lowe’s Metanoia Facebook page for the complete list as well as photos and videos, including Josh Wharton’s recovery of the pack in other “notes” 

Click here to see scenes from the making of the film.

Support and sponsorship is still needed to complete the film. Join SIGG, Asolo, Lowe Alpine, Griwarent, Petzl, Mammut and many more as a Sponsor Jeff Lowe’s Metanoia. Visit our sponsor page here to see the full list of sponsors. If you or your company is interested in donating or becoming a sponsor of Jeff Lowe’s Metanoia, please contact Connie Self at or 208.630.4477

For more information, to see our trailer or to request sponsorship information please visit or contact us at or 208.630.4477