Savannah Cummins may be the youngest and least experienced climber in the group, but she considers herself more of an adventure photographer and storyteller than a hardcore rock crusher. Most would say she does it all well.
Raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cummins fell in love with the mountains when she moved west at age 18. After sustaining a shoulder injury within her first year of climbing that kept her off the rock and ice, she decided to pick up a camera and document her friends on their climbs while she recovered. She discovered a passion for visual storytelling and saw how photography could be a way to continue leading an adventurous lifestyle while also making a living.
Prior to this expedition, Conrad Anker gave Cummins some “homework” to do in preparation for Antarctica—the same homework that was assigned to Anker long ago by his first mentor, Mugs Stump (a leading alpinist of the 1980s who died in 1992). “Mugs told me you have to climb Denali [in Alaska] and El Capitan [in Yosemite National Park], because if you can do those two things on your own, you’ll be able to climb just about anywhere,” says Anker.
Cummins climbed Half Dome in Yosemite and some other big walls in Zion National Park earlier this year. She also climbed up to “17 Camp” on Denali while documenting Katie Bono’s speed ascent in May.
Cummins has traveled to the Arctic Circle in Greenland to document professional mountain runner Kelly Halpin, and she recently established several new routes in India’s Zanskar mountains last August alongside Anna Pfaff and Lindsay Fixmer. Cummins says climbing in Antarctica, as well as learning both expedition and photography skills from her teammates, is an unbelievable opportunity.
- Age: 25
- Years climbing: 4
- Number of Expeditions: 3
- Nat Geo Expeditions