Montana Geographic Names Advisor

Geographic Name Change Request

Alex Lowe Peak
Gallatin County, Montana

Status = Approved

Description summit, elevation 3,057 m (10,031 ft), in Gallatin National Forest, at the N end of Hyalite Ridge, 1.7 km (1.1 mi) SSW of Mount Blackmore; named for Stewart Alexander Lowe (1958-1999), renowned rock and ice climber and mountaineer
Location 45°25’38”N, 111°00’52”W
PLSS Location Sec 5, T5S,R6E
Proposal new commemorative name for an unnamed feature
Proponent Terry Cunningham; Bozeman, MT
Administrative area Gallatin National Forest
Previous BGN Action None
See also
GNIS ID 2076047
Local Usage None found
Published None found
This proposal, to name an unnamed summit in Gallatin National Forest, Alex Lowe Peak, was submitted by a columnist for an outdoors magazine in Bozeman. The summit in question has an elevation of 3,057 m (10,031 ft), and lies in eastern Gallatin County, 1.7 km (1.1 mi) south-southwest of Mount Blackmore and 28 km (17 mi) south of Bozeman.

The proposed name would honor Stewart Alexander “Alex” Lowe (1958-1999), a renowned rock and ice climber, backcountry skier, and mountaineer. A statement on the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation website ( reads: “Widely recognized as one of the world’s strongest, experienced and most able climbers, climber Alex Lowe was killed in an avalanche on Tibet’s Shishipagma on October 5, 1999. He had succeeded on difficult alpine climbs all over the world, including new routes on Nepal’s Kwangde and Kusum Kanguru, and had twice summited Mount Everest.” The website also describes Lowe’s dedication and passion for the mountains of Montana, and states, “Alex was also legendary among climbers for his positive attitude and his willingness to help other climbers while in need. He was a respected member of the Bozeman, Montana community where [he] lived.” In the 1980’s, Lowe and a companion climbed the summit now proposed to be named in his honor and also skied down the north-facing slope, considered a unique accomplishment (Select Peaks of the Greater Yellowstone; Turiano, 2003). Lowe also made the first solo ascent of the north face of Wyoming’s Grand Teton, and made numerous first ascents in Antarctica. In 2004, plans were underway to open a training school in the Himalayas in Alex Lowe’s memory; at the school, Sherpas are to be taught Western high-altitude mountaineering skills.

The County Commissioners of Gallatin County and the Mayor of the City of Bozeman have expressed support for the proposal for Alex Lowe Peak, as have the Headwaters Group of the Sierra Club, the Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation, and several individuals. The proponent has asked that the honoree’s full name be used, because it is “short and euphonious,” “to make the referent person unmistakable,” and to avoid possible confusion with nearby Lone Mountain or Lowe Peak in Utah.

The Montana State Board on Geographic Names and the U.S. Forest Service have both expressed support for the new name. However, the Crow Tribe of Montana, a Federally-recognized tribe, responded that they would require additional time to research the issue as the area is of historical significance to the Apsaalooke (Crow) Nation. The Board’s staff responded that a vote would be deferred until the September 8th meeting to allow the Tribe time to determine whether the summit might have an indigenous name. The proponent tried on several occasions to schedule a meeting with the Tribe to present his proposal, but did not receive a response. He also has requested that if possible a vote be taken prior to the end of September, that is, the close of the climbing season, so that if the name is approved, the Lowe family and friends can schedule a climb to the summit. The Tribe was advised that if no response was received by September 2, the Board would presume they had not located another name for the feature and would proceed with a vote on Alex Lowe Peak.

Montana Geographic Names Advisor Recommendation - Support (Thursday, December 23, 2004)
Domestic Names Committee Decision Date - Thursday, September 8, 2005
Domestic Names Committee Discussion - A motion was made and seconded to approve this new name.

Vote: 6 in favor
0 against
0 abstentions

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