Gifts of Kangchenjunga
Summiting sacred Kangchenjunga May 6, 2022 was an astonishing, life-expanding experience. Years of experience long distance trekking, living and training at high elevation, summiting technical peaks, photographing extensively and producing a mountainfilm all went into the endeavor. But the most important tools were strength of spirit, focus, respecting the local culture and traditional spirituality – the things we needed when faced with two nights out in the Death Zone. At 28,169ft/8,586m Kangchenjunga is the third highest peak on earth, but known for being one of the hardest 8,000m climbs because of the long, often disorienting. rocky summit route. Only 300+ people have summited Kangchenjunga, compared to Everest’s 6,000+ and I was amazed to be the first American-born woman to do so.
Being able to translate the experience into artful photographs was a supreme challenge. I used the Leica SL2 below Camp II (22,000ft) and the Leica Q2 to the summit and back. The cameras were trustworthy even at extreme temperatures (-30ºlow to 32ºhigh) for weeks, as long as the batteries were warm. I am grateful to have captured the otherworldliness and grand vistas of the Kangchenjunga massif as well as the intensity of being on a mountain that is a massif.
Kangchenjunga translates to “The Five Great Treasures of Snow” and indeed, it was a gift to experience. I share those gifts with you here, in this new collection of carefully made and lovingly selected photographs, “The Gifts of Kangchenjunga.”
Full collection: Gifts of Kangchenunga
Tremendous thanks to my dear, inspiring, mountain-sister and climbing partner, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita, and the Pioneer Adventure team.
As always – keep dreaming, focus forward, and each step, each breath, just keep going…