50 years of mountain adventure

For 50 years Lowe Alpine have revolutionised the way we carry gear on the mountain and beyond, combining design expertise with a genuine passion for wild places.

By Lowe Alpine
Published 31 May 2017, 08:00 BST, Updated 8 Jul 2021, 15:21 BST
Ralph Lowe with Mike, Greg, Jeff in Ogden Utah, USA, 1957.

Ralph Lowe with Mike, Greg, Jeff in Ogden Utah, USA, 1957.

Photograph by The Jeff Lowe Collection

The Lowe family 

In 1934, 16-year-old Ralph Lowe and his uncle hitched up a buggy and drove from the range where they worked in St Anthony, Idaho, to the west side of the Tetons to climb the Owen-Spalding route on the Grand Teton. It was to be the beginning of Ralph's life-long love of the outdoors, mountains and of the Tetons in particular. It was a love that Ralph passed down to his three sons Mike, Greg and Jeff. In 1956, Ralph took his eldest son, Mike (then aged 10), up the Exum Ridge of the Grand Teton. In 1958, he returned to do this same ridge again but this time with his younger sons Greg (aged 8) and Jeff (aged 7), making Jeff the youngest person ever to do the climb. Climbing the Grand Teton with their dad was a rite of passage and over the next two decades climbing became a passion for the brothers as they quickly developed into good rock climbers and mountaineers.

An inventive mind

As their skills grew, so did their interest in more demanding routes, which in turn required equipment simply not available in the late 1960s. For Greg in particular, designing things had been an interest since childhood. As a kid, he was forever building telescopes, constructing model rockets or playing with chemistry sets. When Greg turned his ingenuity towards inventing outdoor equipment, an impressive series of innovations and ideas soon emerged. From humble beginnings in the basement of the Lowe family home in Ogden, Utah, Greg Lowe created a backpack that pioneered load carrying technology. The 1967 Expedition pack became the blueprint for all technical packs that followed, cementing Lowe Alpine's international reputation for innovative, high-quality backpacking products.

Designed by mountaineers, for mountaineers

Lowe Alpine first came to prominence by producing climbing packs that met the needs of the top performers of the day. 50 years on, the new Ascent Range featuring the Ascent Superlight continues this tradition. The 30 litre Ascent Superlight is one of the lightest fully functional packs on the market and shares a design lineage with Lowe Alpine's very first 

Expedition Backpack.


Watch Greg Lowe describe the need at the time for better equipment







Read More

You might also like

Explore Celtic heritage on a one-week road trip from Wales to Ireland
Venice is planning to introduce a tourist tax. Is this a sign of things to come?
National Geographic Traveller Reader Awards 2022
Remembering Dervla Murphy: a fearless, frank and inspiring travel writer
How to plan a road trip through Gangwon, South Korea

Explore Nat Geo

  • Animals
  • Environment
  • History & Culture
  • Science
  • Travel
  • Photography
  • Space
  • Adventure
  • Video

About us


  • Magazines
  • Newsletter
  • Disney+

Follow us

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society. Copyright © 2015-2021 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved