Talk about a white wedding: Couple get married at Mt Everest Base Camp
When Ashley Schmeider and James Sisson decided to get married, they knew they didn't want a traditional wedding.
So the US couple got in contact with Charleton Churchill, an "adventure wedding" photographer and said they wanted to do something a bit different. Schmeider suggested somewhere tropical but Churchill had another idea.
The California-based photographer always wanted to photograph a wedding at Everest Base Camp and had tried with another couple in 2015 but the Nepal earthquake sent him back. When he mentioned his idea to Schmeider and Sisson, they loved it.
"It's one of the most epic and beautiful locations in the world that's difficult to get to, and nobody's done it before," Churchill said.
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So the three spent a year training for the journey to Base Camp, that sits at an altitude of more than 5000 metres.
"Ashley is tough girl who crushed it on the mountain trail and maintained a great pace. James is a great man who took care of Ashley, always looking after her needs."
Churchill wrote on his photography blog about the hardships they faced to achieve the epic photographs, saying there was no "glory without suffering".
"It started snowing hard a few days into the journey. According to our Sherpa guide, it dumped more snow on us than it had all winter," he said.
"Our hands would quickly freeze if left out of the gloves, like when I tried to film and take photos. I actually had to turn a live Facebook filming off because my hands were burning cold," he said, adding that the couple got married in -20 degrees Celsius.
Besides the cold, they had to deal with severe altitude sickness and food poisoning.
"The stories of hikers getting medevaced out from our location didn't help. Just a bit over a week prior to us, an Australian died of high altitude sickness from base camp," Churchill said.
But it was all worth it in the end. The couple exchanged vows in front of the famous Khumbu ice-fall, and with the stunning Nuptse Face in the backdrop.
"Adventure weddings" aren't too common, Churchill, who also teaches photography, says. "I'm leading the niche".
EVEREST MORE CROWDED THAN EVER
Nepal is bracing for a busy and potentially dangerous season on Mount Everest after the government issued a record number of permits to foreign climbers this year - 371 - the most since 1953.
Add to that the number of Nepali sherpa mountain guides and the number soars to 800.
Officials said that they expect "traffic jam" like conditions on the icy slopes as mid-May approaches and the mountain's formidable winds subside a bit, giving climbers a narrow window to push to the top of the 29,029-foot summit.
On average, every climbing season there are about three to four good days with appropriate weather conditions to allow a safe summit climb," says Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of Nepal Mountaineering Association. With 800 climbers attempting to summit within those few days, things could get problematic, he said.
Meanwhile Everest Base Camp - the tent city where climbers live for several weeks to acclimatise themselves to the altitude - has continued to grow, with more trekkers and tourists flying in by helicopter for day trips, and some even indulging in champagne breakfasts with a view.
Safety is a constant topic in the gossip and rumours of the camp, which is also home to more than 1500 volunteer medics, staff and mountaineers.