World-class photographer and trekker – 2002
Rowell, a photographer and trekker, had mastered an ability to capture unrepeatable moments in the outdoors on film, and with it, had won world renown for his celebration of the natural world and its beauty. He has also supported many Bay Area conservation groups and conferences by donating his Mountain Light photo gallery as a base for meetings and conferences.
Rowell made his first roped ascent in Yosemite Valley at age 16, the first of more than 100 new climbing routes in the Sierra. In the years that followed, Rowell had extended his adventures to the world’s highest mountains on all seven continents. These include the first one-day ascents of Denali in Alaska and Kilimanjaro in Africa, and the highest summit ever gained on skis in history, Mustagh Ata, 24,757 feet, in China. He also completed a landmark 285- mile cross-county ski traverse of the Karakoram Himalaya in winter.
He has captured moments from these and many other expeditions in magazines and large-format books, including the best-selling “Mountain Light,” and the recent “Bay Area Wild.” Rowell lived in Bishop with his wife, Barbara, a pilot and accomplished trekker.
Rowell, his wife Barbara Cushman Rowell, pilot Tom Reid, and Reid’s friend Carol McAffee were all killed in a plane crash near the Inyo County Airport in Bishop, California, on August 11, 2002.
A personal glimpse: “What I do is a continuing pursuit in which the art becomes the adventure, and vice-versa.”