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Bodies of Famed American Climbers Lowe, Bridges Found in Himalayas

FILE - An aerial view shows the Himalayan mountain range along the border of Nepal and Tibet. Mount Everest, the tallest in the range, is also the world's tallest mountain with an altitude of 8,848 meters (29,028 feet), March 25, 2008.

The bodies of renowned U.S. mountaineers Alex Lowe and David Bridges, who were killed in a 1999 avalanche in the Himalayas, have been found by another pair of climbers, according to a charity founded and run by Lowe's widow.

Climbers David Goettler of Germany and Ueli Steck of Switzerland were preparing for an attempt to reach the summit of Shishapangma in Tibet, the world's 14th-highest peak, when they discovered two bodies encased in ice on a glacier, the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation said in a statement posted to its website on Friday.

The bodies had clothing and backpacks that matched the gear Lowe and Bridges were wearing when they disappeared.

NBC News reported the bodies were found last week.

Lowe, who was 40 at the time of his death, was regarded as the best American mountaineer of his generation when he and Bridges were swept away by an avalanche during an expedition that included plans to ski down the 26,291-foot (8,013 m) peak. A third climber, Conrad Anker, was injured but survived.

"Alex and David vanished, were captured and frozen in time," Lowe's widow, Jenni Lowe-Anker, said in a statement. "Sixteen years of life has been lived and now they are found. We are thankful. Conrad, the boys and I will make our pilgrimage to Shishapangma. It is time to put Alex to rest."

Lowe-Anker married Anker in 2001 and the climber adopted her three sons. She serves as president of the Lowe foundation, which provides advice and financial support to humanitarian programs that operate in remote parts of the world.

Fellow climbers called Lowe a "mutant" for his accomplishments, which included two climbs to the top of Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, as well as several first ascents in Antarctica and dozens of less prominent but highly technical ascents.

Lowe rejected the label of world's best climber. "There might be a fastest runner or a highest jumper," he once said in an interview with a specialty climbing publication. "But climbing is different. It's just too subjective. And it's a
lifestyle; it's not a sport."