Barbara Cushman Rowell

January 29, 1948 — August 11, 2002
Barbara and Galen with the Dalai Lama
Barbara and Galen with the Dalai Lama at his home in India, 1990.

Barbara was born in Hawaii to Lucile and Irving Cushman while her father was stationed in the Navy at Pearl Harbor. At the age of five, her family was transferred to Texas for a brief stay in Kingsville before settling in California.

A gypsy at heart, Barbara eventually moved to Alpine Meadows, then to Tahoe City and on to Truckee to work and ski for several years before heading out to Aspen to design ski wear. She returned to the Central Valley to complete her studies in Textiles and Business, and graduated in 1978 from the University of California at Davis with Highest Honors.

BCR with
Redford in Nepal
Barbara with Robert Redford in Kathmandu, 1982.

Barbara met Galen in April 1981 while working for The North Face as the Director of Public Relations. She hired Galen to write text about a parka and a backpack for her company's catalog. They fell in love within the week and were married several months later.

The following year, Barbara quit her job at The North Face and joined Galen and Robert Redford on a month-long trek in Nepal. After they returned home, she began working with Galen out of their home. Initially she directed her energy towards promoting Galen’s work before striking out in search of her own passion for flying, learning the Spanish language, and travel in Central and South America.

Barbara in
Barbara in Pakistani helicopter, Baltistan, 1986.

Barbara joined Galen on the majority of his travels to exotic locations, including his National Geographic assignment in Pakistan to cover the highest war in history where they were flown throughout the Himalaya as guests of President Zia.

She also photographed many of her own foreign adventures. Her photographs have been published in National Geographic, as well as on book and magazine covers. If you asked Galen about Barbara’s photography, he openly admitted that she shot about one quarter of the film but had a higher shooting ratio than he did. If you asked Barbara, she said she shot ONLY when something strongly attracted her since she didn’t shoulder the responsibility of Galen’s assignments.

Barbara was the guiding light behind the business from its inception and was the president of Mountain Light Photography. Although she was not a commercial pilot, she was the company pilot and flew her Cessna 206 for the majority of Galen’s aerial photographs. She recently completed a book inspired by her flight to Patagonia. Flying South: A Pilot's Inner Journey is in bookstores now.

EASTERN SIERRA MEMORIES: The wonders of the Eastern Sierra with Galen and Barbara Rowell. WATCH THE VIDEO.
106 South Main Street :: Bishop, CA 93514 :: 760.873.7700 :: fax: 760.873.8229
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All images and content are © Galen Rowell / Mountain Light Photography, Inc., unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. No form of reproduction, including copying or saving of digital image files, or the alteration or manipulation of said image files, is authorized unless accompanied by a written license issued by Mountain Light Photography, Inc. For information regarding commercial or personal uses, please contact: Mountain Light Photography, 106 South Main Street, Bishop, California 93514. Telephone 760-873-7700, or email us at All prices subject to change without prior notification. Original web site design by Barbara Cushman Rowell.