Photographer Tony Michaels recently started TMP Canvas, a canvas-making business featuring his photography. He plans to save the profits to pay for a summit to Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. Photo courtesy of Tony Michaels

Photographer Tony Michaels recently started TMP Canvas, a canvas-making business featuring his photography. He plans to save the profits to pay for a summit to Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. Photo courtesy of Tony Michaels

Mercer Island grad launches business to pay for Mount Everest summit

Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world and can cost as much as $90,000 to climb.

A Mercer Island High School graduate plans to summit Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, by 2023.

And he plans to pay for the $60,000 climb via his recently launched landscape photography business, TMP Canvas.

Tony Michaels currently works in marketing at a local startup, but realized he would need additional income if he ever wanted to see his aspirations become reality.

“I’ve been an outdoorsy guy pretty much my whole life,” Michaels said. “It’s easy to be that guy growing up in Seattle, being so spoiled with so much outdoor beauty in the area.”

Michaels took an interest in hiking the iconic Pacific Northwest day hikes back in high school prior to graduating in 2008. He hiked the easy Rattlesnake Ledge at 1,160-feet elevation gain all the way to the Mailbox Peak, a 4,000-feet elevation gain.

“And, eventually, a friend of mine and I started to step it up,” he said.

Literally.

The two summitted Washington’s Mount St. Helens (4,500-feet elevation gain), Mount Adams (6,740-feet elevation gain) and Glacier Peak (8,300-feet elevation gain).

At around the same time Michaels was ticking Washington mountain summits off of his bucket list, he started to travel as well. He went to Europe, parts of Asia and “on a whim” traveled to Nepal and the Himalayas.

There, he climbed Mount Everest’s neighbor, Imja Tse or “Island Peak” with very little training at the time. Island Peak’s total elevation is 20,305 feet and it took him three weeks.

“Ever since we did that, we’ve been really hooked,” Michaels said of he and his friend.

That ascent was two years ago.

Once he decided Mount Everest was next, the issue of how to pay for the climb was another mountain all together.

Summiting Mt. Everest is so costly because permits alone are $15,000. Then, tack on the time it takes to climb the mountain, which means two months worth of food, logistical support, a doctor’s service, sherpas, equipment, oxygen and more, and $60,000 begins to make sense.

The cheapest climb to Mt. Everest is somewhere around $35,000 with less support while the more premium guides cost up to $90,000.

Already with a passion for the outdoors and several major adventures under his belt, Michaels figured tapping into his niche landscape photography audience he’d already established on Instagram (with 20,000-plus followers) would be the best route to make some extra money for his Mount Everest expedition.

“I’m a landscape photographer and finding a cool way to showcase that photography is something I’ve been working on for a long time,” he said.

Not only has he started TMP Canvas, in which customers can purchase his work on canvases in an array of sizes, but Michaels’ art is currently being featured at LA Gallery Frames, 309 S. Third St. in Renton.

Michaels said he found the business through a friend who had one of Michaels’ canvases framed.

With each canvas, Michaels includes a story of where the shot came from. So far, he’s been to 29 countries and has plans to keep traveling.

This year, he plans to stay local and summit Mount Rainier at least two times. But next year he will travel to South America to tackle the tallest mountain on that continent, Aconcagua (22,841-feet elevation).

And while Michaels isn’t 100 percent sure his longtime hiking friend will join him in 2023 up Mount Everest, he does plan to bring girlfriend Ariel Garcia, who is also “obsessed with mountaineering.”

To purchase Michaels’ canvas photography and help him summit Mount Everest, visit www.tmpcanvas.com. Follow him on Instagram @tony_michaels_photography and on Facebook at Facebook.com/tmpcanvas.

Mt. Shuksan in the North Cascades. The climb is technical and can be very dangerous if not attempting with optimal weather. Tony Michaels Photography

Mt. Shuksan in the North Cascades. The climb is technical and can be very dangerous if not attempting with optimal weather. Tony Michaels Photography

A green, vibrant meadow along the Pacific Crest Trail in the North Cascades back country on the way to the summit of Glacier Peak. The photo was taken about 10 miles from any road. Tony Michaels Photography

A green, vibrant meadow along the Pacific Crest Trail in the North Cascades back country on the way to the summit of Glacier Peak. The photo was taken about 10 miles from any road. Tony Michaels Photography

A suspension bridge on the way to Mt. Everest base camp in Nepal. It is one of the last checkpoints before arriving in Namche Bazaar, a town cut into the side of a mountain at 11,286ft. Tony Michaels Photography

A suspension bridge on the way to Mt. Everest base camp in Nepal. It is one of the last checkpoints before arriving in Namche Bazaar, a town cut into the side of a mountain at 11,286ft. Tony Michaels Photography

More in News

Photo courtesy Sally McLaughlin
                                Dr. David Frank Wolter.
Mercer Island’s Dr. Wolter dies at the age of 95

David Frank Wolter delivered over 7,000 babies in his career as OB-GYN.

Photo courtesy of MIYFS Facebook
                                Mercer Island Youth and Family Services received a 4-yer grant prevention grant from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.
MIYFS receives 4-year prevention grant

The $48,500 per year will be used for the ongoing work to reduce binge and heavy-drinking rate of Island Youth.

Photo courtesy of City of Mercer Island
                                A cougar was captured by security footage on Aug. 5.
WDFW: Mercer Island cougar sighting ‘not unheard of’

The animal has not been spotted since the initial report was made

Stephanie Quiroz/staff photos
                                Covenant Living at the Shores residents and staff with Ageless Aviation pilot and team at the Renton Municipal Airport on Aug. 12.
Covenant Living at the Shores Residents take flight

Tom Norris, Sid Boegl, Doug Wilkinson, and Jack Nelson take flight in a 1942 Boeing Stearman.

The map shows ten areas of Mercer Island that require critical infrastructure and resources, should a natural disaster occur. Photo courtesy of the city of Mercer Island
Preparing for “the really big one” in a city surrounded by water

The Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan covers nearly 60 planning partners, including Mercer Island.

Photo courtesy of Juliana Kang Robinson
                                Juliana Kang Robinson’s public artwork, “Alone Together.”
MI artist completes Seattle public artwork

Juliana Kang Robinson designed the new artwalk intersection University and 1st Avenue near Harbor Steps and the Seattle Art Museum.

Dr. Richard Repass is the owner and medical director of Revolution Psychiatry. He has spent the last decade caring for patients who struggle with mental health illnesses and substance use disorders. Photo courtesy of Richard Repass
A new psychiatry clinic offers natural, alternative methods of detox various disorders

Revolution Psychiatry helps patients suffering with alcoholism or drug abuse, among other disorders.

Most Read