Circling the Massif: August in Tibet

Photos and poetry from the most remote, wild, and committed travel experience yet. 

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Three weeks. 5,000 kilometers. Traveling overland across the entire length of Tibet. For the better half of August, I was fortunate to join a trip of 18 professionals, artists, spiritual leaders and explorers from five countries, guided by author, adventurer and art historian Ian Baker (The Heart of the World) into Central and Western Tibet.

I decided on this expedition for several reasons, but mostly to participate in and study the famous circumambulation of Mt. Kailash, considered by over a billion people to be the most sacred mountain on the planet.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of Buddhist, Hindu, Bon, and Jain pilgrims make the demanding trip to Mt. Kailash to walk 30+ miles clockwise around the base of this 23,000ft Himalayan giant. For four days, we made the circumambulation around the mountain, then spent the remaining days exploring ancient Buddhist cave kingdoms, hot springs, and Everest Base Camp.

I am currently in the beginning phases of a book project // thesis idea on exploring this particular form of ritual and its relationship with the natural world, and this was the first research stop for the project. Here are some of the better images captured during my time there, along with a short poem, “Kailash,” at the end. More words coming. Lots of stories. The sheer magnitude of the land and the people and the heart of Tibet aren’t adequately represented in photo. I tried.

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