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Denali

3000ft to Heaven

AK, U.S.
May 2014

 

I have never been to a place with such beauty. In fact, I couldn’t even have visualized it before. But now it floats in my head like a vision of what heaven is supposed to look like.

“Do you know what strikes me the most? Its purity. The composition of color is simple: black, blue, and white. But yet, the combined visual effect is absolutely stunning.”

First of all, how we got there was such a unique experience. We flew in on this old-school taildragger, and landed on the glacier. Yes, we used the glacier itself as an airport. We were immediately surrounded by three major Alaskan peaks: Foraker, Hunter, and of course, Denali. The scale of this place is beyond words: it makes us feel so small, so insignificant.

And that’s when mountaineering photography started to take root in me. Trying to capture all these sights through a lens has been such great joy. The way I see it, lots of people are making the world better by taking things away. Like disease, poverty, or abuse. And that’s super important; we need that. But personally, I am also trying to make the world better, just by adding something to it. By sharing the beauty of nature, the joy of overcoming, the possibility of life, and the capacity of dreams.

After spending 27 days on the mountain, I successfully achieved a perfect tan line that made me look like a raccoon. I lost 10 pounds. Even without summiting, I voluntarily refrained from showering for an ungodly amount of time. I think I kinda fell in love with this place.

My blister is still fresh and it hurts. My muscles are still sore and screaming. It is 3 AM in Alaska in a local motel. I am supposed to wake up in 3 hours to catch a flight back to Boston. But do you know what I have been doing? Thinking about coming back.