The images we’re all used to seeing from climbing in the Himalaya are from just a very small piece of the overall experience. All the many things that go on leading up to, around, and after are the vast majority of where time goes on an expedition. We joined Ueli Steck and David Göttler for their 2016 Shishapangma Expedition, the focus of which was to climb a new route on the remote south face.
A terrible spring weather pattern played a huge role in how the trip would play out. More often than not we woke to fresh snow and cloudy, threatening weather. There were a few encouraging forecasts that got Ueli and David’s hopes up, but these would quickly deteriorate as the time drew near. In the end, there was a lot of time spent not climbing. Thankfully, the basecamp in which we found ourselves for 5 full weeks was a mountain paradise, full of bouldering and peak hiking.
The final result wasn’t all bad. Ueli and David made two one day efforts on Shishapangma via different routes, both in true alpine style, but both hampered by bad weather. For Janine and I, we spent 5 weeks documenting the experience by photographing only real moments.