By Jennifer McGraw

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A local couple is gaining worldwide attention after their wedding photos on Mount Everest go viral.

“The Mount Everest base camp trek has always been sort of a bucket list for us,” said the bride, Ashley Schmieder.

Climbing to new heights, the couple marked two off their list by also tying the knot more than 17,000 feet up.

“Slammed the brakes as soon as we touched down, then it began. Then it was a nine-day walk up the mountain,” said the groom James Sissom.

Ashley and James spent the past year training and the next three weeks living their wildest dreams.

“It was tough. It was really tough,” she said.

They made the trek with Charleton Churchill who captured every treacherous step of the nine-day journey. They dealt with the elements and altitude sickness and nearly had to quit the day before the wedding.

“That night we said, we’re going to go home in the morning because we can’t risk anything like this for a wedding,” Churchill said.

But instead, they’d make it to the big day but had to move quickly.

“I think I spent 10 minutes on my make-up sitting in a tent with my compact mirror,” Ashley said. “It is the farthest thing you can imagine for your wedding day. We had these visions in our head, we will do all these shots, we are going to have all this time, and we get up there and we had an hour and a half or so we thought to eat, get dressed, get married, and take our photos.”

In less than an hour and a half, James and Ashley became the first couple to exchange vows in a wedding dress and tux and the pictures are epic!

“I am really blown away with how good they are with what little time we had to work with,” she said.

Thanks to Charleton for capturing the moment and the idea to ever climb to such heights.

“That’s my passion is marrying the idea of mountaineering and outdoors and adventures with wedding couples and bringing that together to making some beautiful trending thing now,” he said.

Perhaps trending now, but the three know it’ll be tough to beat being on top of the world.

“Where is our next thing going to be? Mars or the moon? I think that if you were going to do something this big and never be able to top it, that’s ok,” Ashley said.

The three flew out of base camp together.

While they wished their family could’ve been there too, the altitude made it impossible.

“We had family members joke about flying helicopter up to base camp for the ceremony, but that wouldn’t have worked out because as soon as they landed they would have to turn around and come back because of the altitude,” Schmieder said.

They were, however, able to watch through Facebook Live and now able to look back at the pictures and feel like they were there.

The pictures have become so popular, Churchill’s website crashed and he gained 5 thousand new Instagram followers overnight.

This isn’t Churchill’s first Everest attempt. He first went up with a couple back in 2015, but a devastating earthquake in Nepal turned them around.

He said he’d love to do it again, but next time it will be mighty expensive.


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