WATCH FULL EPISODE // LINK IN BIO | There’s a danger in putting the cart before the horse - talking about goals where the appearance of success can be a mirage. In reality, behind any confidence or illusion of accomplishment on the horizon more likely lies a failure. In a day and age where our world is driven by content, we are sometimes forced to verbalize our present-moment ideas, which exposes us (me) to not just letting myself down, but those around me, as well. Conversely, stating our goals publicly makes us accountable to them.
By the numbers, the likelihood of @estebantopomena and me summiting Everest via a new route, without supplemental support or oxygen is about 10%. Regardless, there is value in putting this out there. It’s an opportunity to address the central tenets required in following goals to their ends, regardless of the outcome…to share in that singular human experience. My external goal of climbing a route like this on Everest mirrors my internal journey in getting there…We all have similar interior mountains, navigating and journeying through peaks of inspiration and valleys of self-doubt. My hope in sharing this story is not to celebrate a potential end, but rather to give light to the means by which all ends are achieved. The hope is that regardless of success or failure, a peek behind the curtain can act to inspire others to give voice to the pieces inside which can be defended over the roar of our own and others doubt.
Norbu, a Tibetan kitchen worker stands for a portrait at 21,000 ft., below a fierce wind plume blowing off the summit of Everest. Every year, over a thousand people come to Everest to climb. And every year, the climb is made possible by countless seemingly nameless individuals like Norbu. The infrastructure of Himalayan climbing is built, in this case literally, on the backs of people like him. Standing with a bag of freshly chopped glacial ice over his shoulder, part of Norbu' s job is to collect ice to be melted for water. This is a trip he makes roughly 10 times a day for around six weeks. @estebantopomena and I will be attempting a new route on Everest this spring supported by @adrianballinger and @alpenglowexpeditions logistics and it’s people like Norbu that make climbs like ours possible. #everest#climbing#alpine#mountains#portrait
SWIPE THRU // An interlude to the barage of climbing and Everest content: Of all the qualities children possess, I'm most moved by innocence and curiosity. We can't stay innocent, but we can remain curious. That's what drove me to photography as it is by it's very nature, a curious act. The most special moments to me are the most ordinary that by some alchemy become extraordinarily human, emotive, and transcendent. I started making pictures using extraordinary circumstance as a conduit to expose our most elemental human qualities. Over time, the pursuit has distilled and reduced and the art itself has become more an exercise of stripping away the crutch of the fantastic. I'm most inspired by the simple and unwanting moments that demand little more than being aware and open. When the grandiose, the hyper saturated, and the overt are eliminated, I'm forced to be more visually articulate. But to be sure, I'm very inarticulate in this genre...which is okay. I'm learning. On this platform, they are the images that get the fewest likes, the least engagement, and the last looks...the ones that fade into our waning interest as we mindlessly swipe up before closing the app and moving on to the next. That's okay. Like the moments themselves, they are easy to miss if you arent paying attention and staying curious. #staycurious
Im super excited to announce a collaboration with @Roam on an Original digital short Series - The Line. Roam will be documenting @estebantopomena and me attempting to climb a new route on Everest this spring. The series will take a deep dive beyond the kind of storytelling we've done in the past, exploring the mental and physical world that precedes an attempt like this, looking at the evolution of body and mind from inception to execution or failure, and the toll extracted in the pursuit. Episode 1 coming soon.
Everest 2016: Returning to the North Col after to climbing to 7,600 meters.
In 2016 @adrianballinger and I spent 10 nights at 7000 meters or above before making our final summit push. Climbing high, sleeping low...yoyo-ing our way higher on the mountain to build red blood cells that help oxygenate our bodies. It's a tedious process that can dig into your head like a tick. The balance between "have we spent enough time up high" and "are we depleting ourselves by too much time up high" is nebulous and subjective. This year, @estebantopomena and I plan to spend more time sleeping lower while climbing the higher peaks around basecamp before moving up to ABC and working the lower section of the route. There is no right way...and we are looking forward to unlocking ours.
It’s sometimes hard to grasp the enormity of the mountains, especially in the world of mobile technology. Two climbers (the specks in the upper right of the frame) help give scale to the view before them. #mountains#alpinist#travel#nature#adventure#natgeo
Pictured here #alpinist Adrian Ballinger (@adrianballinger) acclimatizes against the backdrop of Ama Dablam during our 2016 climb when we worked to summit Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen. Check back for fun unseen content from that trip as we lead up to this spring's attempt on an unclimbed route on the NE face with @estebantopomena