Mikkel Aaland

"It's All An Adventure"

MT. SHASTA PORTRAITS

Mt. Shasta in northern California is one of my favorite mountains and in 1982 I hauled a portable photo studio up its slopes and took portraits of climbers after they reached the summit. The work was published in Outside magazine, and several other magazines around the world.

The studio was made with PVC pipe, a gray backdrop, and a white nylon cloth cover which diffused the bright mountain sunlight.

Here we are carrying the studio in pieces up the mountain.

My friend Greg Mitchell holding the model release forms we had the climbers sign.

This experienced mountain climber was disheartened by the carnival-like atmosphere on the mountain; the day he climbed some people were flying kits near the top.  Otherwise, although it was his first ascent of Mt. Shasta, it was an uneventful climb.

A Sacramento bureaucrat who has climbed the mountain five times.

My brother, Erik, a Citroen car mechanic.  He helped carry the studio up the mountain.

David, a video game repairman and his dog Lander.  This was their fourth climb on Mt. Shasta together.

“I guess I had something to prove to myself,” said this 59-year-old high school teacher.

The county assessor for Los Angeles County, Alex Pope.

The first time he attempted Mt. Shasta he almost died from hyporthermia.  This time blisters on his feet kept him from the summit. He was furious that he didn’t’ make it.

He has climbed the mountain six times, she twice. He is a graduate student; she is a full-time nurse with six children.  “Mountains have an energy of their own,” she says, “and they give you energy.”

 

The former US ambassador to Nepal and leader of the 1978 Mt Everest expedition, Phillip R, Trimble. “When climbing a mountain,” he said, “there is a sense of challenge and, unlike many things in life, no ambiguity: you get to the top or you don’t”.

 

William Siri, the former president of the Sierra Club, first climbed Mt. Shasta 36 years ago.  He hopes the day will never come when he is denied the mountains, “whatever else age may deny.”

©2017 Mikkel Aaland

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