The Business of Everest
For this personal project I travelled to Nepal with a group of climbers hoping to summit Everest and Lhotse, respectively the highest and 4th highest mountains in the world. My aim was to shoot a series of portraits of Nepalese people who earn their living from servicing the foreign obsession with Everest, whether it's trekkers walking up to see Everest base camp, or climbers aiming to climb the mountain itself.
I spent almost 3 weeks trekkiing up from Lukla to base camp, and then 7 days at base camp itself, and photographed a wide variety of people along the way, from porters and trekking guides, to guest house owners, to climbing Sherpas, to the Icefall Doctors, who fix the route through the incredibly dangerous Khumbu Icefall.
Many of these people have farms in the lowlands of Nepal, and just spend the couple of months of the trekking season working in the mountains, which provides valuable extra income to supplement their subsistence farming.
One thing that particularly struck me meeting the climbing Sherpas was that many of them have summitted Everest 6, 8 10 times, which if they were Western climbers would make them celebrities and celebrated athletes, yet they are completely anonymous, unsung heroes of the mountaineering world.