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Rock Climber Married Friend's Wife And Raised His Kids After Seeing Him Killed In Avalanche

Rock Climber Married Friend's Wife And Raised His Kids After Seeing Him Killed In Avalanche

Alex and Conrad were adrenaline-junkie best friends before tragedy hit and Conrad was left to pick up the pieces of a broken family

One man's dad lost his life in a tragic avalanche accident, however his best friend who survived later married his mum and became his father. A documentary has now been made detailing the story. Watch the trailer below:

Alex Lowe and Conrad Anker were adrenaline-junkie best friends, enjoying the likes of bungee-jumping off of mountains and scaling ice cliffs together. 

In a tragic turn of events, both were caught in an avalanche accident, and only Conrad emerged alive. 

However, in what became a well documented story within the mountaineering community, Conrad went on to marry his late best friend’s widow, then becoming a dad to his three kids. 

After such a traumatic and tumultuous period for the family, 33-year-old Max, Alex’s eldest son, has made a documentary on the events, entitled Torn


The story begins in 1999, when Alex and Conrad attempted to ski down Tibet’s 26,000ft Mount Shishapangma, which would have made them the first Americans to do so. 

The mountain that has claimed 31 lives experienced an avalanche, killing both Alex and their cameraman, leaving Conrad as the sole survivor. 

The climber, now 59, took on a paternal role almost instantly, vowing to look after Alex’s widow, Jenni, and their three sons. 

After just three months, romance grew between the pair and within two years they were married.

Torn/National Geographic

During the documentary, Jenni talks about her relationship with Conrad, saying: “Being close to him felt like being close to Alex. It felt like an old shoe.” 

Jenni’s two youngest sons, Isaac and Sam, were swiftly on board with Conrad becoming a father to them.  

Max, on the other hand, found the whole ordeal much harder to accept; he wondered if Conrad had stayed with the family due to ‘survivor’s guilt’. 


However, Max now calls Conrad ‘Dad’ and refers to his biological father as Alex. 

Max, who was ten at the time, told The Sun: “When Alex was killed, my trust was broken. I always trusted that he would come home and when he died that day, I understood death and I was also still a kid.” 

He continued: “My life had overlapped with Alex’s a lot more [than my brothers] and Sam had accepted this life with Conrad was his life. 

“More than me, he left Alex behind and held more resentment towards Alex. 

“It was resentment for the choices he made that landed us in this position of him existing as a story for our whole lives, which we largely didn’t have a hand in. 

“People knew us as the sons of this man we barely even knew.” 

Torn is now out in cinemas.

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Torn

Topics: News, Travel, Documentaries