From the archives: Gokyo Ri

My first trek was to Nepal in 2007. I went to the Everest region and climbed Gokyo Ri – which my computer keeps auto-correcting to Tokyo Ri – but it's a world away from Tokyo. It was also my first experience in high altitude and the airlessness was immensely exhausting for a first timer. On that trip I climbed it in thick fog and all alone. I reached the top and could have been anywhere. I was freezing cold but I waited at least an hour hoping for the clouds to sweep away. I was rewarded. Just as I was about to make my way down, the clouds fell into the valley below and I was surrounded by then biggest mountains in the world. Entirely speechless, I was hooked.

My reward; sunset on Everest. Taken before I owned a digital camera with a Nikon FE2 and fixed 50mm lens. 

Minutes after the cloud cleared, the moon rose between Cholatse and Taboche. Everest is the far peak on the left.

This image is from my second visit in 2008. A fellow photographer and writer (James Vlahos) was writing a story on the newly created 'Great Himalaya Trail' for National Geographic Adventure and invited me along. I didn't need asking twice. 

This was the view from the summit of Gokyo Ri at 5350m. Everest (8890m) is the black triangular peak to the far left. Then moving to the right is Nuptse, Lhotse (the fourth highest in the world) and Makalu (the fifth). Further to the right and in the centre of the image are the peaks of Cholotse and Taboche. In the far distance is Kantega and Thermserku.