Makalu-Barun National Park, Nepal

Kauma La is the first of three passes that carves a route through the initial barrier of the Himalaya to reach the upper Barun Valley and Makalu, the fifth tallest mountain in the world.

Some days I'm a little slower than I'd like to be. I was not at this spot early enough to set up my equipment properly but instead found myself in the harried position of being very near the top with perfect light, which was quickly slipping away. Not to mention the fact that the clouds were rapidly boiling up and over the range, about to obscure things, as they did consistently in the late spring of 2013.

Feeling the pressure of missing the shot, I put my legs into it and topped out just in time to stop, pull out my camera, and start panning around, staying just ahead of the cloud you see to your right. Made it in the nick of time.

Morning on Kauma La


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