Ben Ayers@jetbutterflies

Nepal, otherwise. Adventures.

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Always good to see old friends. #everest #amadablam #lhotse

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Learned that #TheLastHoneyHunter won the award for Mountain Culture at the @banffmountainfestival after catching a few errant whiffs of the Internet while hanging out with Mauli Dhan and the team in Saadi. I never dreamed this story would travel this far and inspire so many. Credit due to @ben_knight and @renan_ozturk - best friends formed in a forge made of bees and ether. Grateful for @climber.abiral @taylorfreesolo @m_synnott @sadiequarrier @irving_matthew

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So then we rushed back to Kathmandu, tight with stress, for an emergency that wasn’t an emergency after all. Or kinda was. Still unquestionably the right thing to do -if just for the few precious hours spent messing up photo shoots at a Harry Potter birthday party with the best people I know. Back into the thin air today, stay tuned. #whirlwind #dementor @sohamd @n.t.g.k @tuv.ting @shresthasubina1

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And then the rivers are literally paved with fossils and everyone here is all like no big deal. #Mustang @abovethecloudstrav

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The usual chaos. Half of the camera gear is lost somewhere between Chicago and Istanbul. Plans changed immediately and now we're scrambling to find a harness that will let us hang out the open door of the helicopter. It's barely 9 am. Life is good. #thelasthoneyhunter @renan_ozturk @climber.abiral #highart

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Jange Kulung stopped by on a visit to Kathmandu and got to see his photo in @natgeo! Getting excited to hear back into the mountains this week on a super cool project following @renan_ozturk as he makes art at altitude. But most looking forward to heading back to Saadi and sharing #thelasthoneyhunter film and magazine piece with Mauli Dhan and all of our friends there. Bringing the project full circle! Stay tuned for an exciting week. @climber.abiral

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I first met Maule Dhan nearly ten years ago, and his story has clung to me ever since. Thrilled to share the true story of this incredible man and his community with the world. After years of friendship; hundreds of hours of sweating, suffering, and leeches; and months of editing I hope we’ve stumbled upon something timeless. At least for now. @natgeo has released #TheLastHoneyHunter article online, and in the July edition of the magazine! Check out the link in my profile and do be sure to watch the amazing behind the scenes edit by @renan_ozturk linked in the article. Our short film with @ben_knight is going to be making the festival rounds for a while - so keep your eyes peeled!

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"You are the owner of the forest, don't be angy don't obstruct the way." #thelasthoneyhunter team asks for safe passage before the harvest begins. A bit of behind the scenes on #thelasthoneyhunter shoot with @renan_ozturk and @irving_matthew 🐝🐝🐝🐝

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Crossed a few deserts to drop in on #thelasthoneyhunter co-conspirators @taylorfreesolo and @baloointhewild to spend some time on a few works in progress.... stay tuned. @renan_ozturk @rudy.le

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😱🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝😱 So many moments this week where my life has fallen into a strange focus. The moments where you can’t believe this is actually happening. When you see yourself from the side. A child in footy pajamas plodding down the stairs on Christmas. The overwhelming weight of one’s good fortune. Tonight is the world premiere of #TheLastHoneyHunter, and I can’t really believe it. Overwhelmed with gratitude for @ben_knight and @renan_ozturk who have found and told the best story that I’ve yet known. Amazed at how deeply this story has now been woven into my own, along with friendships forged along the way. @sadiequarrier @taylorfreesolo @irving_matthew Actually I’m terrified.

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Magic everywhere. In anticipation of the upcoming #thelasthoneyhunter world premiere my super cool friends at @khalikhutta cooked up an amazing balm from some of the wild beeswax that I gave them. It's available on etsy - so check their IG if you want to get some. I promise it's not hallucinogenic.

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We've been spending a lot of time with this crew again lately. Our #thelasthoneyhunter film project is lurching towards a World Premiere at @mountainfilm in May, and the story will be out in July's @natgeo Magazine! It's really hard to believe. Eight years of dreaming now stacked upon countless sleepless nights is chiseling out something powerful. Something otherworldly, yet human. Something I don't believe any of us expected to find. Come witness it in Telluride! @ben_knight @renan_ozturk @taylorfreesolo @travisrummel @mariamibucheeri @sadiequarrier @irving_matthew @climber.abiral

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Two years. That’s half of a college education. A long time. Yet sometimes the earthquake feels like only days ago. I jump when someone slams the door. Did you know that airports, more than other buildings, shake and move constantly? I know this. It won’t go away. I have the luxury of condensing time thus. The landscape of rural Nepal, once muted and sublime with cozy mud and stone homes, is now repainted with bright sheets of zinc roofing tin, cobbled together like junkyard fences. Loud in the rain. Cold. Dark. Sooty. Leaky. Homes worn like a ragged uniform of poverty. The type of home that slows time, lengthens nights, a constant reminder of all that is lost. This type of home turns two years into a lifetime. Or two. Two years ago, international donors poured pledges of $4 billion into Nepal’s leaky hands. Divided into two years, that comes out to $3,800 a minute. Every minute enough to build a new home. For two years. If you believe the Nepal Government statistics, which many do not, only 3.5% of homes have been rebuilt. 3.5 percent. Two years on. #nepalquake

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During a serendipitous stopover in Edinburgh, I met with friends from the #royalbotanicalgardens to investigate how certain Rhododendron species contribute to the toxic honey we've been chasing in #thelasthoneyhunter project. It turns out that, completely contrary to popular knowledge, the toxins might come from another plant entirely. The science is murky to say the least, but now I'm obsessed with finding the answer. Check out my ig story for more!

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Slow Going. Photo @renan_ozturk Words @jetbutterflies ~ At least the first 150 kilometers went well enough. Granted, the roads were paved for the most part and the greatest risk was finding the flat grill of a massive TATA truck squarely in your lane on a blind corner. ~ Then the road got rough, it got dark, and things got very real, very quickly. To describe the next 40 kilometers using the term 'road' would be dishonest. The rough-hewn path is wide enough for a vehicle to pass, but strewn with massive boulders and ruts. At one point @renan_ozturk put on a motorcycle helmet to protect his head during the impromptu rodeo happening inside the jeep. ~ The bikes fell over and broke down. It was pitch black, not even stars visible. We lashed the wounded motorcycle into the short bed of a passing pickup. We limped into a small town, ate, and passed out in a local lodge. Spent. Exhausted. Dreaming already of the relative pleasures of Kathmandu - only a day behind, but a universe away. ~ Today, the road got rougher and cut a thin path across sheer cliff faces with the Marshyangdi river coaxing us a thousand feet below. The injured bike struggled, then died completely. It started to rain, thin at first then in sheets. ~ I guess this is what we signed up for. Working together, suffering, taking turns navigating northward. Tomorrow, after another ten hours of riding, we will leave the bike and the jeeps and the lodges behind and walk. Our own feet stepping onto the snows and deeper into the stories of the two amazing women who have inspired the trip. Stay tuned. @royalenfield With: @sodapopchamling @pasang_lhamu_sherpa_akita @climber.abiral @rudy.le @yeti @irish_goodbye #MotheredByMountains

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Photo by @renan_ozturk ~ Raju Gurung crosses an obscure 15,000 ft pass in Nepal's remote Rukum district, heading back to camp carrying the skin of a Himalayan Blue Sheep after a successful hunt. ~ Just coming back into spotty contact today after a surprisingly tough expedition deep into the rugged mountains of Western Nepal, and into the lives and spirits of the men and the animals that live there. ~ To study hunting is to study what it means to be human -- equal parts crucial and cruel, laden with stereotypes and deep passions. Hunting gives us a view into our relationship with the natural world, which ultimately is about our relationship with ourselves. ~ And it kicked our asses. Stay tuned for more dispatches later this week. Words by @jetbutterflies with @nomadicak49 @bennyob301 @yeti @camp4collective @sitkagear @thenorthface @sonyalpha @irishgoodbye #HimalayanHunt

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