“Family and mountain, this is how you balance those two” Conrad Anker says

Torn, directed by Max Lowe

On October 5, 1999, mountaineering star Alex Lowe disappeared with cameraman David Bridges in an avalanche on Shishapangma (8027 m, Tibet). Alex’s best friend and fellow climber, Conrad Anker, miraculously survived. After the tragedy, Anker and Jennifer, Alex’s widow, fall in love and get married. Anker raises Alex’s three sons. Torn, the film, is an intimate look at the Lowe-Anker family. It is a story about accepting risk and loss, about love and family. Or how to make peace with death. Ulysse Lefebvre met Conrad Anker a few days ago in Norway, during the Arctic Ice Festival: the opportunity to interview him in detail about mountaineering and the life that goes with it.

Alpine Mag : what about the original title “Torn” ?

Conrad Anker : Torn was Max’ (Alex’s eldest son, the movie director, Ed.) choice. For us, we’re torn between being in the mountains and fulfilling our goals in life and what is happy and beautiful, and being a family person. So, as you climb more and participate more in up high climbing and what we do, the loss is inevitable.
For the young climbers, there is this transition : until you’ve lost someone, it’s not close to you. Up until that point, climbing is the greatest thing in your life, it’s the gift that defines you and brings you these wonderful emotions. You connect with climbers, you wanna share with everyone. You think about loss but it’s abstract, it’s not you, it’s someone that made