Photographer Captures Mt. McKinley’s Toll on Climbers

For his new exhibition, Anchorage artist Tim Remick photographed emotionally and physically ravaged mountain climbers mere moments after they stumbled into Mt. McKinley’s base camp.

The large-format portraits are nearly 5 feet tall, heightening the drama of every hard-won blister and wrinkle, every haunted eye and guarded grimace. Remick’s solo exhibition, “After: Portraits from Denali,” will be on view Feb. 3 through April 15 at the Anchorage Museum.

“I really wanted to have a single frame at the end of the experience that caught the exhaustion, the adrenaline, the emotion,” Remick said. “The goal was to summarize the whole climb with a single image.”

Tim Remick, #12. After 54 years: 20,320 feet: 14 days

A climber himself, Remick’s own 2002 McKinley summit attempt was thwarted by stormy weather. But knowing the mountain firsthand, he believed the moment he wanted to capture would be lost by the time the climbers flew to Talkeetna. So he set up at base camp with a large format 4×5 camera for several weeks during the 2008 and 2010 climbing seasons, capturing climbers while they were still raw from the grueling experience.

The resulting 20 photographs in “After: Portraits from Denali” offer startling physical evidence of the journey’s toll. Through these images Remick reflects on the passage of time and mortality, while also celebrating the human capacity to endure.

“The photos are direct, detailed and instantly descriptive, providing a compelling narrative for a place and an activity that few experience,” said Chief Curator Julie Decker.

A former middle school science teacher, Remick earned a master’s degree in photography from Savannah (Ga.) College of Art and Design in 2009. He is anadjunct photography professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University.

This exhibition is presented as part of the Patricia B. Wolf Solo Exhibition Series, one of many ways the Anchorage Museum supports Alaska artists and encourages the creation of new art. The museum’s solo artist exhibition program is highly competitive. Remick was one of eight artists chosen from more than 70 applicants to present solo exhibitions in 2012-15.

The Anchorage Museum is grateful to the Alaska State Council on the Arts; the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; the Municipality of Anchorage; and the Anchorage Museum Foundation’s Alaska Airlines Silver Anniversary Fund.

“After: Portraits from Denali” will be on view Feb. 3 through April 15 at the Anchorage Museum