Head in the Clouds: Photographs of life in the melting Himalayas

Multimedia journalist Ed Giles spent three weeks during February 2015 documenting the effects of climate change on the people and landscape of the Solu-Khumbu region in Nepal, home to the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest.

As well as being home to some of the world’s highest mountains, the region holds some of the world’s largest and highest glaciers. Many of these glaciers have begun to show signs of increased and rapid melt. The Khumbu glacier, which lies at the foot of Mount Everest, has begun to develop ponds of water on its surface over the last decade. Scientists say these ponds could develop into a much larger lake on the glaciers’ surface if warming trends continue, a phenomenon that has occurred to other glaciers in the Himalayan region. Research indicates annual mean surface temperature in the Himalaya has increased by 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial temperatures.

During the assignment, Ed produced photographic content that was filed to his photographic agency Getty Images, and a series of social-media ready video stories for the climate-change advocacy group the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), who had sent a team of their members to Everest Base Camp on a fundraising venture. Video content was filed from the field via local internet connections, using a laptop-based video editing system powered by a solar panel charging kit, and shared on AYCC’s social media network as the journey of their team progressed.

The Mount Everest massif, center, with 6812-meter Ama Dablam at right. Shot from the town of Tengboche in the Solu-Khumbu region of Nepal, February 9, 2015. Ed Giles

The Mount Everest massif, center, with 6812-meter Ama Dablam at right. Shot from the town of Tengboche in the Solu-Khumbu region of Nepal, Feb. 9, 2015. Ed Giles

Young Nepalese men play ping pong on an outdoor table during a snow storm in the town of Lukla, Nepal, Feb. 18, 2015. Ed Giles

Young Nepalese men play ping pong on an outdoor table during a snow storm in the town of Lukla, Nepal, Feb. 18, 2015. Ed Giles

A young Nepalese girl washes her face during a snow storm in the town of Lukla, Nepal, Feb. 18, 2015. Ed Giles

A young Nepalese girl washes her face during a snow storm in the town of Lukla, Nepal, Feb. 18, 2015. Ed Giles

A cattle train, carrying supplies, moves past houses in a small village on the trail to Mt Everest, Nepal, Feb. 17, 2015. Ed Giles

A cattle train, carrying supplies, moves past houses in a small village on the trail to Mt Everest, Nepal, Feb. 17, 2015. Ed Giles

Ponds of melt water, frozen in cold winter temperatures, on the surface of the Khumbu Glacier, near the base of Mount Everest (at far left, 8848m) and Everest Base Camp in the Solu-Khumbu region of Nepal, Feb. 12, 2015. Ed Giles

Ponds of melt water, frozen in cold winter temperatures, on the surface of the Khumbu Glacier, near the base of Mount Everest (at far left, 8848m) and Everest Base Camp in the Solu-Khumbu region of Nepal, Feb. 12, 2015. Ed Giles

A young Nepalese woman runs through a snowstorm in Lukla, Nepal, Feb. 18, 2015. Ed Giles

A young Nepalese woman runs through a snowstorm in Lukla, Nepal, Feb. 18, 2015. Ed Giles

A Nepalese man walks across an airstrip in Lukla. Feb. 18, 2015. Ed Giles

A Nepalese man walks across an airstrip in Lukla. Feb. 18, 2015. Ed Giles

About Ed Giles

Ed Giles headshot Ed Giles is an award-winning Australian multimedia journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Formerly based in Cairo, Egypt, Ed works with photography, video and multimedia production methods to explore in depth, human stories.

In 2011, Ed was awarded a Walkley Award for Online Journalism for work with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Online Investigations Unit. In 2013, he was nominated for the Nikon-Walkley Award for Feature Photography for work covering the overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically elected President, Mohammed Morsi, for Getty Images. His photographic work is represented by Getty.

See more of his work: edgiles.com or on Instagram @edgiles.