Kristina’s Mountain

One Woman’s Struggle with Bulimia and Altitude

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to hike up a 14er in Colorado with an extra 20 pounds of expensive camera gear strapped to your back, just ask us. We’re here to tell you…it’s a challenge!

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to survive an eating disorder and come out the other side of it healthier in all ways—physically, mentally, and spiritually—just ask Kristina Bushman. She’s here to tell you…it’s a challenge!

Probably one of the biggest she’ll face in life.

kristina bushman quandary peak

Here at Stenbakken Media we are proud to be putting together a documentary about Kristina’s story called “Kristina’s Mountain.”

What it’s About

In 2015, as part of her recovery process from bulimia, Kristina Bushman came to Colorado from Minnesota to climb 55 14ers in one season (for those who don’t know, a 14er is a mountain that’s 14,000 feet tall or taller). That’s a pretty tough undertaking for anyone, much less someone from a sea-level state. Much less someone struggling with an eating disorder. Much less someone recently out of an inpatient facility, whose family and support network definitely did NOT think her plan was a good idea.

Nonetheless, Kristina was determined to do it. So she did it.

A Survival Story

There’s something very compelling about a person overcoming tremendously heavy odds and completing a self-set goal that is this difficult. We are excited to share Kristina’s story as seen through our lenses. During the documentary process, we interviewed her in Breckenridge, one of the mountain towns she traveled through, and climbed Quandary Peak alongside her.

The Logistics

Kristina Bushman Stenbakken Media Quandary Peak

And so the fun began! The climb was abnormal by anyone’s standards. The crew was loaded down with extra pounds of gear, and we were constantly looking for good shots to set up, then stopping, setting up cameras and having Kristina go back down the trail and come by again so we could film her.

Poor Kristina had to climb many sections of the mountain more than once so we could get good footage of her. Double and triple climbing notwithstanding, she maintained a good mood all day and was patient with our constant need to stop and set up all the equipment.

Geeking Out for a Moment…

Stenbakken Media Erik Stenbakken Quandary Peak

The photographer nerd that lives inside us has to take a moment to share the gadgets we took along on the trip. For the interview portion of the trip we set up two cameras, a Sony FS7 and a Sony A6300, a shotgun mic and slider, and battery-operated LED lighting.

For the climb, we took along a DJI Osmo, the Sony A6300 camera with three zooms taking us from 8mm to 105mm, a carbon fiber tripod, and carbon fiber jib.

Some Perspective

Lest you have any illusions that the average person can just climb a 14er on a whim with no issues, we the crew have to own to how hard Quandary was. All of us are Colorado residents, are in reasonably good shape, and all but one of us had climbed 14ers before. All that said, we struggled that day (in various ways and for various reasons). Make no mistake, what Kristina did is hard! She’s a strong woman who deserves a lot of credit for not only setting herself this goal, but completing it.

Stay tuned for a future blog that includes behind-the-scenes interviews with the crew about the experience.