The first sighting...
There are few moments in a person’s life that are so profound they create a clear dividing line; life before and life after this instant are as different as night and day. This photo captures that moment in my life.
Our group had been hiking all day through the lush lower-reaches of the Khumbu valley in the Himalayas of Nepal. Our last obstacle was a steep 1200ft ascent before reaching the storybook village of Namche where fresh ginger tea and mo mos awaited. I was listening to "Rhythm" by AWOL One; for some reason it’s what the mood called for. I had just landed an award winning heel-click when Phula, our Nepali guide, called me over with the flick of his head. “Thash Everesh,” he stated pointing through the trees.
For some reason I didn’t rush over right away. I took my time walking towards Phula as though I knew that those steps would be the last in a life I had formally known. Life before Everest.
Prior to this point I had only entertained the idea of climbing Everest while procrastinating with co-worker and friend Toby Storie-Pugh in the comforts of our warm office in Brooklyn, NY. All such conversations resulted in elevated heart rates followed by strings of profanity uttered in-between sets of push-ups. It is easy to talk about doing something when the likelihood of it actually happening is, well, not-ever-going-to-fucking-happen.
When I finally approached Phula and peered through the branches to see the unmistakable silhouette of Everest towering over the Nupste-Lhotse Ridge it all became real. In that very instant I was able to say goodbye to my dramatic fantasy of Everest as a two-headed monster that eats ice-axes and crampons for breakfast. It was just another mountain; a really big and beautiful one. And since that moment life has not been the same.