I have always loved the mountains. I grew up in Bulgaria where we are lucky to have a lot of them. Vitosha mountain with its highest peak―Cherni Vrah (Black Peak)―2925m is located right near Sofia, my hometown. I remember in the winters we used to go skiing for half a day and managed to go back home to have afternoon tea and do some work. When I was training in the summers, I used to run up the peak and rest in the small hut at the top where there was always warm tea and bean soup. Happy times
Fast forward to today―I live in Brussels, Belgium, and courtesy of the COVID-19 virus, we are all in confinement here. Being a photographer stuck at home is no fun, but I dream about all the photos I will take when we are finally allowed to travel again. So, one morning, I woke up with an idea for a project in my head. And I took my 5-year-old daughter along for a ride.
It’s an ongoing project. We make a new photo every day.
Sunday Funday, but rest assured no children or grown-ups were harmed during today’s adventure. As a friend told me a long time ago, skiing is the best way to clear your head since you are way too preoccupied with the task of staying alive to think about anything else.
6th of April. Day 9 of our mountain adventure at home
It’s been weeks now, since the start of the lockdown and every day feels like a “holiday,” so it’s about damn time we start decorating. The theme, as you have already guessed, is mountains. On to the next room.
7th of April. Day 10 of our mountain adventure at home
Lily is taking the lead today while we are tackling the west face of Siula Grande – a peak in the Peruvian Andes. This photo is inspired by the amazing movie “Touching the void” (2003) about two British alpinists trying to reach the top in “Alpine-style.” Highly recommended!
16th of April. Day 19 of our mountain adventure at home
We are in Antarctica today getting ready to start our journey towards the Vinson Massif (4892m) located a mere 1200 kilometers from the South Pole. Wish us luck. P.S. The hardest thing today was to keep all the ice from melting for long enough. It was 23°C outside.
17th of April. Day 20 of our mountain adventure at home
We are camping tonight in the forest just under one of my favorite alpine hikes around Chamonix – Grand Balcon Nord. It is dark and cold, and sitting around the campfire late at night is the perfect excuse to tell a scary story. Let’s go: “11:5… Almost midnight. Enough time for one more story. One more story before 12:00, just to keep us warm…”
18th of April. Day 21 of our mountain adventure at home
This morning we woke up and hiked the rest of the Grande Balcon Nord trail up to the Montenvers train station located just above Mer De Glace. We took the metal ladders and after a long walk over the glacier reached the base of the north face of the Grandes Jorasses – our target for today. Wish us luck.
19th of April. Day 22 of our mountain adventure at home
The unthinkable happened today – I managed to slip and fall while climbing. We are still in the Chamonix valley and our target today was Aiguille du Dru (3754m). I wasn’t being careful enough and you can see the result. Lily helped as much as she can. Don’t try this at home please, it is really painful.
20th of April. Day 23 of our mountain adventure at home
Fun day today, skiing down La Vallée Blanche. Lily is very competitive.
21st of April. Day 24 of our mountain adventure at home
We were going to hike to Lac Blanc today but first decided to do a quick stop at Planpraz, where Tanya was attending the yearly yoga festival. Being there, we couldn’t refuse to participate, so: Tanya is riding a bike in śīršāsana, Lily is chanting “ॐ” and I am doing whatever I can to make them happy (#fatheroftheyear#thehusbandshealwayswanted).
22nd of April. Day 25 of our mountain adventure at home
Short outing today and a fun climb on the Aiguille du Dru. Why fun? Lily, being a little monkey, insisted I carry her on my back instead of a backpack. So yeah. Disclaimer: Never ever climb the bookshelves at home. It is very dangerous and will result in an injury. Unless you are a professional photographer.
23nd of April. Day 26 of our mountain adventure at home
A dream of mine became a reality today – we stood on the top of the world. Climbing Everest (8848m) is no small feat and Lily was absolutely the perfect climbing partner. We left Camp 4 at midnight and summited at 10:30. The weather was awful, wind and snow, low visibility. Our trusty helper Tanya Sherpa took the photo just minutes before we started our way down. As far as we know Lily is the first 5-year-old to fake climb Everest without supplemental oxygen, so we will be contacting the Guinness Book of Records later today.
24th of April. Day 27 of our mountain adventure at home
We managed to sleep through the day after our epic climb yesterday. So, here is a behind the scene photo of our expedition tent. It may be small, but comfortable enough for me and what feels like a small octopus that sleeps next to me.
25th of April. Day 28 of our mountain adventure at home
We went bungee jumping today over the Bhotekoshi gorge in Nepal today. Contrary to what I taught, I couldn’t do it, but Lily went all in.
27th of April. Day 30 of our mountain adventure at home. Happy one month anniversary to us
When you are climbing in the mountains, knowing when to stop and turn back can literally be the difference between life and death. Turning back may sound easy, but imagine spending all that effort to go up and having to turn back just meters away from the top. To say that Lily was not happy is an understatement, but we were tired, the weather was bad and it was already quite late in the day. We will be back!
28th of April. Day 31 of our mountain adventure at home
Lily’s photography skills are getting better and better, so today we decided to have some fun at home. And believe me, trying to jump with skis in the living room is much harder than on the slopes! In the end, I did ok and Lily even better.
29th of April. Day 32 of our mountain adventure at home
Climbing in the dark today, remembering a quote by Martin Luther King that applies quite well to the current situation we all live in: “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
30th of April. Day 33 of our mountain adventure at home
“They’re all gonna laugh at you. Nobody will believe.” This is what Lily said when I told her I will show the photo we took early this morning. We were camping high in the Himalayas when a loud noise woke us up and we looked outside. We saw something beyond explanation, so I leave this photo here, for you to interpret as you want. Believe what you want. I know what I saw. It saw Yeti.
1st of May. Day 34 of our mountain adventure at home
Lily insisted we go with her idea today, you know, climbing the highest peak around us and just jumping down. She promised to catch me if I fall. Simple.
We are seriously running out of furniture to climb around here.
2nd of May. Day 35 of our mountain adventure at home
How to make your DIY sled go faster according to science? Close your eyes and scream.
3rd of May. Day 36 of our mountain adventure at home
Am I getting older or after 36 days of constant training Lily is getting much better? She had to stop and wait for me on every step of the climb today. I am not complaining, getting older has its benefits for sure. One of them to decide for yourself how much chocolate you are allowed to eat at the end of the day.