Airline Lost My Bags and I Have a Big Mountain to Climb
For a few years I have been taking shots of the most beautiful and inspirational places I have seen on my travels. From the Atlas Mountains to the Himalayas, I have been privileged to experience the natural world at its most sublime. For a similar length of time I have been troubled by the sheer ugliness of much of the modern world, and occupied by thoughts of how I might bring something of the beauty, adventure and wonder of my travels to the walls of the world!
Stayboundless.co is a platform for me to share my home and workspace designs and a place for me and others to share the stories which accompany our favourite adventure travel photographs.
Movies like Girl with a Pearl Earring and the Davinci Code show that a picture is even more interesting when it comes with a story. Many of my best posters and canvasses mean that much more to me because of the adventures (and misadventures) they represent.
I took this shot in 2017 when I climbed Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe.
The climb itself wasn't too hard for someone with a moderate amount of climbing experience. The hardest part of the adventure came not from nature but from the aforementioned modern world! Having lost ALL of my luggage including vital climbing equipment during my journey (at Amsterdam airport to be precise), I was forced to climb the biggest mountain Russia has to offer in bits and bobs I'd managed to borrow from my fellow climbers. Boots, harnesses and everything else were all cobbled together once I'd arrived in Cheget, a small and very picturesque town in the North Caucasus.
Although things didn't exactly go to plan, I feel like they worked out for the best as I experienced the best of the climbing community. I was moved by the kindness of strangers who not only let me borrow clothes and equipment, but even lent me money (although I hadn't lost my wallet, the only cash machine in Cheget had ran out of money!). Thanks to their generosity and trust I was able to make the ascent and witness some stunning scenery.
It was during this trip that I took this picture which I call "Floating", because looking at it makes me feel like I'm floating as if in a dream!
It was also during this trip that I met a woman who had a profound and lasting impact on me. Our guide for this expedition was Liza Pahl, a German climber living and working in Russia. As a female climber myself, I always take a keen interest in women who excel at outdoor pursuits, and Liza was an inspiration. She combined skill, professionalism and passion with an affability and great communication skills. She made us all feel like we were in safe hands without being overweening, and with her help the entire team bar one team reached the top.
My happiness at making the summit became pure elation once back at base camp when I received word that my luggage had been found. I could relax now and take in the sights (and enjoy the cuisine) of Cheget - a beautiful, traditional Southern Russian town which is well worth a visit. It had been a crazy week, but it could not have had a better ending. The adventure (and panic) was over. Adventure time turned to home time, and I floated away back to Britain!