Brother killed on K2 lives on in inspirational art

Summit, one of Denali Schmidt's paintings.
Summit, one of Denali Schmidt's paintings.

The sister of a man killed on the world's deadliest mountain has organised an international exhibition of artworks he never got to show.

Marty Schmidt, one of New Zealand's best mountaineers, and his son Denali, 25, were killed by an avalanche on 8611-metre K2 on the Pakistan-China border in July last year.

Marty, 53, and Denali were aiming to become the first father-and-son team to reach the summit of the mountain.

CLIMBING K2: Marty and Denali Schmidt.
Altitude blog
CLIMBING K2: Marty and Denali Schmidt.

Delani, who graduated from the California College of the Arts a month before he died, left behind a San Francisco storage unit full ofartworks inspired by mountaineering and climbing.

His sister, Sequoia Di Angelo, 23, has spent the past year organising a campaign to take his paintings and installations around the world.

The works will go to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, New York City, London, Berlin, Sydney and Wellington - all cities with''special significance'' in Denali's life.

A crowdfunding cause set up to raise $330,000 to fund the Peak Inspirations  exhibition, being run though Kickstarter, launchestoday.

There will also be 300 people at an event in Bear Valley, California, where Denali worked as a ski patroller.

Sequoia, the daugher of Marty and his first wife Joanne Munisteri, was born in Napier and lived there until she moved to America to finish her last year of high school.

Marty, his second wife Giannina Cantale and Denali moved to Christchurch and bought a house soon after Sequoia left New Zealand. Sequoia became an entrepreneur and started a magazine called Houston Youth, which later developed into a publishing company.

She said said the Peak Inspirations  exhibition was a way of channelling her grief into something positive and meaningful, usingher contacts in the media industry, but it was far from easy.

A video she and some friends made for the Kickstarter cause had to be re-shot because some of the footage was from only a month after theirdeaths and she was still in shock.

''We had to go back and do it again. I think the one thing I have learnt about grief is that it is something that will never go away,''she said.

Sequoia said for her brother to pursue a full-time career as an artist was equally as brave as climbing ''great monoliths'' like Denali - thehighest mountain in North America, and K2.

''The mountains [Denali] climbed shook his soul and provided him with life and death insights he was able to express through his artpractice," she said.

Denali and Marty's bodies may never be recovered but their family members are in regular contact with guides on K2 in case they are. One of the last paintings Denali did before he died was of K2.

- For more information on the  Peak Inspirations  exhibition see