Climbing Adventure Engagement in the Sierra Nevada Mountains || Megan + Derrik

Alabama Hills Camping Adventure Session in California || Mammoth Wedding and Elopement Photographer

I don’t have enough good things to say about these people, this weekend, or this place. My dear Pepperdine friend and old roommate, Megan met her person, Derrik, and they could not be more perfect for each other. They are stewards of the outdoors and fellow Sierra Nevada adventurers–– they fish, rock climb, backpack, and all the good things in between. When Megan reached out about engagement photos, it was an easy choice to head up the Sierra to one of our favorite climbing spots. It was also the perfect precursor to their wedding in Mammoth, CA.

The Alabama Hills in Lone Pine are situated in between Los Angeles and Yosemite on California’s iconic I-395. Also situated close to Mammoth Lakes, It’s part of my favorite area in California with so much in the surrounding lands–– climbing routes for all levels, BLM (Bureau Land Management) camping, skiing in Mammoth, hot springs. Lone Pine sits at the base of Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the United States, the crown jewel of the Sierra Nevada–– and, not so coincidentally–– somewhere special to Megan and Derrik. Hiking Mount Whitney had been one of their many great adventures, so it made the perfect backdrop for their adventurous engagement photos.

Conrad joined me for this camping engagement and we treated the session as, “mostly a fun hangs climbing trip plus some pretty photos.” We met up with Megan, Derrik, and their best friend Berto, grabbed a few beers, and sent a few routes while the light got soft. I documented them in their most natural, dirt-bagging state because few things would be more classically “Megan and Derrik” than rock climbing engagement photos. There’s something about the nitty gritty real stuff that you can’t always capture in the pretty posed pictures. Fingernails filled with chalk and dirt, the two of them changed in the backseat of their car, and we chased the sun as it set behind the Alabama Hills. Derrik asked if he should wash the chalk off his hands and climbing pants, but we all agreed that it represented them and their relationship too well to wash away.

After the sun sank behind Mount Whitney, the five of us staked out a little campground surrounded by some massive boulders. One of the great things about the Alabama Hills and many other parts of the Sierra Nevada are the massive amounts of accessible and free camping. More on that in a blog post to come! 

Derrik prepared a delicious dirtbag dinner of a mixture of all things hot and delicious and we sat around a fire, chatting well into the night. Some of my favorite photos from the day happened during this part of the day. Megan and Derrik were in their most natural, comfortable element, and it was exactly what a camping engagement session should be.

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