I first met Kuntal Joisher in 2011, when I, along with friend Peter Noble and his son Connery joined a Pumori Expedition with Peak Freaks. Pumori (7161m) was being used as a training ground for Everest hopefuls, of which Kuntal was one.
Peter, Connery and I were challenged enough with our summit of one of the smallest Himalayan peaks called Island Peak, locally known as Imje Tse (6189m)! We were happy to be included in an expedition with such caliber climbers, it made for many an interesting story on those dark cold nights.
Kuntal’s 1st attempt to summit Everest in 2014 was halted one month into the climb when a tragic avalanche killed 16 Sherpa mountaineering guides in the treacherous Khumbu Icefall section between Base Camp and Camp One. A week later, all the expeditions on the South side of the mountain were terminated, including Kuntal’s. Kuntal found himself heading home a month earlier than expected at the end of April – which turned out to be my fortune! Due to flight delays (his to Mumbai and mine to Dhaka), we spent a memorable couple of hours catching up at the international airport in Kathmandu.
Kuntal’s 2nd attempt to summit Everest in 2015 was also halted as a result of the April 25th 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal so severely (and another large earthquake on May 12). The following is footage taken by Kuntal’s teammate, when the April 25th earthquake caused an avalanche at Everest Base Camp. Kuntal can be seen in the white t-shirt scrambling for cover. Serious stuff.
Kuntal describes himself as being heartbroken at the devastation the earthquakes left and felt the need to do something. Kuntal decided to use his photography to raise funds for the people of Nepal by donating all proceeds of his exhibitions to Empower Nepali Girls and Nepal Youth Foundation.
Kuntal words: “My main objective behind the events is to bring as many people as possible to the events so that more and more people fall in love with Nepal and do their bit in helping rebuild Nepal.”
So if you find yourself in Los Angeles CA on September 20th, 2015 or in Orange County CA on September 24th, 2015 – please be sure to go along to the exhibition and give Kuntal the support he deserves. He’s also an interesting fellow to speak with, so let him know you know me!
Kopeikin Gallery -Los Angeles – Sept 20th – Sunday. To register (tickets are free of charge!) click here.
Orange County – Sept 24th – Thursday – California Center for Digital Arts. To register (tickets are free of charge!) click here.