Stan & Yanyu’s Fremont Mission Peak Surprise Proposal

I can say with certainty that Stan & Yanyu’s proposal is, and will forever remain, one of the most memorable photo shoots of my career. Mission Peak is (according to AllTrails) a grueling 7.3-mi hike featuring a 2,135-foot elevation gain, by far the most intense hike I’ve ever attempted. It was quite the climb, especially when dual-wielding heavy cameras and carrying enough water to last me the ~6 hours I was out in the 90-degree sun. But the sweeping, panoramic views all along the way, and especially the resulting photos, made it all more than worth the trek! (I actually made the trip twice — once the day before, to ensure I wouldn’t get lost or show up at the wrong spot on the actual day… but that’s a story for another time.)

Stan’s choice of location for his proposal to Yanyu wasn’t simply due to the view. It was actually the location of their first date (what a surprise it must have been when he showed up for that!), and even more interestingly, it turns out that the pole marking the peak was installed on their shared birthday, making this location an extra-special spot for them. So when the ring arrived, he promptly asked her mom for permission, then put this hike on their calendar.

On the big day, upon arriving at the peak, the two took a quick water break while I quietly observed from behind. In the first photo below, I’m sneakily watching Yanyu adjusting her hair by looking at her reflection in Stan’s sunglasses. As they finished up, I quietly cleared out the area around the pole, and Stan made his way over to ask me, posing as a random hiker, to take a photo of the two of them. (Ok let’s be honest, maybe I didn’t play the role very well… the heavy cameras strapped onto me looked pretty out of place here!) From there, you can see the big moment unfold, and it was quite the occasion to witness and capture. Afterwards, we also recreated one of their first photos together (standing on the pole) and snapped some more photos. After we all spent hours getting up there, we definitely had to make the most of it!

One thing I only noticed after the fact: the butterflies! In the photos of the actual proposal, you can see a pair of butterflies fluttering around near them, and afterwards, they again appear (bigger & closer-up) in one of the other photos. That was a neat little surprise for me!

Ok, I’ve gone on long enough, and you didn’t come here to read my rambling. Scroll down and take a look at the photos of Stan and Yanyu’s Mission Peak surprise proposal!