Well, all this unexpected downtime has at least given me space to sort through backlogged computer work and re-live a lot of long forgotten moments. Like that one time I was convinced an alien spaceship was going to emerge from the sky like that scene from Independence Day. You know the one.
Thankfully that didn’t happen, and @climbwritekalman and I got to simply enjoy another spectacular sunset over the High Sierra. Swipe left for full pano.
That is all. Hope everyone has a great weekend ✌️
3 months ago
More abstract art in nature, and a good lesson in appreciating beauty in the small and mundane. Something more important now than ever.
It was the last day of our recent expedition in Chile. We’d been deep in the jungle for 20 days at this point, and over the past 36hrs we’d pushed our bodies and minds to the limit in an attempt to hike hundreds of pounds of gear out of basecamp and back to the road before a huge storm closed in. My brother and I slipped and slid down the muddy, mishapen excuse for a trail, the straps of our haulbags cutting off circulation to our arms. All the majesty and awe of the previous weeks was gone now. I just wanted to take off my pack and smoke our final cigarette. I just wanted it to be over.
I looked down and saw this shimmering puddle next to the trail. The kaleidoscope of shapes and colors on its surface cut through my fatigue and stopped me in my tracks. “Wow,” I said to no one as I leaned in for a closer look. The mesmerizing scene was made from thousands of little blobs of oils and minerals. The longer I stared the more intricate it became and the more beautiful it seemed.
I reached for my camera, but suddenly remembered it was in my brother’s pack, and he was well ahead of me now. Oh well. I tucked the vision into my memory and kept plodding. Two minutes down the trail I couldn’t think about anything else. “Ian! Hold up! I need my camera!” I yelled breathlessly as I raced up behind my brother. “Are you serious dude?” he asked with a frown. “Yeah, umm, there’s this cool puddle back up the trail...” my voice wandered off. “A puddle? For real?” He looked at me like I was crazy. After some more pleading and a quick bargain to take some of the weight from his load, he unshouldered his pack with frustration, handed me the camera, and took off again into the jungle.
I wiped sweat and dirt from my eyes and jogged back to the puddle. *click*
As I now sift through thousands of images from this trip, this one stands out as one of my favorites.
4 months ago
Patagonian Rorschach. 02/2020.
Enjoying the process of diving into the edit from this past month in Chile...
4 months ago
Well, we went looking for big granite, and we definitely found it. Phew! The last three weeks truly felt like a different universe. There will be a lot of moments from this trip to share, but this had to be one of the best. Soaking in the last rays of sun from our portaledge camp high on Pared de La Plata, having just finished most of our work to open a route to the previously unclimbed summit above us, finally getting a chance to simply relax and enjoy the stillness- a rarity during an experience mostly filled by brutal bushwhacking and biblical rain. Thankfully it was still happy hour at the “Serranía Saloon” (named after the 1300m wall in the background) and we took the opportunity to close the place down in style (swipe left for video :) I am beyond indebted to @siebevanhee@maxdidier_ and @iansiadak for their Herculean efforts, the bellyaching laughs, and for being the best team I could have imagined. ¡Son titanes!
5 months ago
Nice light tonight in the sleepy pueblo of Chaitén, Chile, after one of the most violent rainstorms I’ve ever seen. Currently packing the last of bags and ticking off the last of tasks before dropping off the grid in search of big granite walls nearby with @siebevanhee@maxdidier_ and @iansiadak. We don’t even have a photo of our main objective...but we have hope and trust and a lot of food :)
5 months ago
Patagonian panorama of the west faces of the Chaltén massif, taken from high on Aguja Stanhardt a few years back. Wishing good luck and good weather to all my friends currently playing the waiting game down south.
The skyline visible here forms merely the second half of the gargantuan Fitz Traverse, which @tommycaldwell and @alexhonnold climbed in February of 2014 after a season that had seen, up until that point, even worse weather than the current one.
5 months ago
Exposed and melting permafrost lines the banks of the Jago River in far northern Alaska, adding to the positive feedback loop of greenhouse gas emissions and human caused climate change. This patch was just one of many that I saw alongside @tommycaldwell@clare_gallagher_runs and @slukenelson on our overland trip last summer through the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Scientists estimate there are 1,400 gigatons of carbon frozen in the world’s permafrost, about four times more than humans have emitted since the Industrial Revolution, and that nearly 40% of that could thaw by the end the of the century. This could dramatically alter our ability to slow climate change, and will likely have dire consequences for the animals that live in these ecosystem and the indigenous communities that rely on them for survival.
Big thanks to @outdoorretailer for showcasing some of this trip and the need to protect the Arctic Refuge in the most recent issue of their print magazine. @akornylak and @a_zen_punk did a great job with the edit and layout.
One of these days I’ll get around to sharing a more complete story of this trip and its surrounding issues, but until then here’s a few of the images from the article and then some. For more incredible photos and stories on the changing face of the Arctic, check out @katieorlinsky and @kerioberly, who are both doing fantastic work.
6 months ago
"Where are you off to?" asked the woman next to me, raising her voice above the dull roar emanating from the thin window at our backs as another jet climbed into the sky over Phoenix. I told her matter-of-factly that I was going to spend the next few weeks floating through the Grand Canyon. "Oh that will be the trip of a lifetime!" she exclaimed. I nodded my head and tried not to cringe at the overused cliche. I expected this to be a really fun adventure, another one of the many that I am fortunate make up much of my time on this earth. But I didn't have the wisdom to grasp just how right she was. How in bearing daily witness to the impossible scale of the place, pressing the soft flesh of my palms against the burnished and whorled surface of primordial stone, it would become crystal clear just how infinitely long the river has been at work etching its wondrous, sinewy path, and just how infinitesimally short a time we as individuals will have to walk ours. How this would bring a vital urgency to the question echoing through the canyon, "What will you choose to do with your tiny, precious, beautiful moment?" And in that manner how it really would become, if not the trip of a lifetime, unquestionably a trip of Life and of Time.
Of course I didn't know then just how much meaning, tranquility, understanding and unbridled love I would find nestled between the rainbowed layers of stone towering over our heads, floating along the endless sheet of emerald glass sliding beneath, oozing out of the thick red mud smeared to our feet, hidden deep within the innumerable folds of both the landscape and my soul itself. That was still to come.
Or, in the far more succinct and profoundly true words of a dog-eared and now-slightly-soggy book I brought down the river, “He knew in his heart it was simply impossible to come away from an extended encounter with the greatest canyon on earth without acknowledging that human life, despite its frailty and insignificance, represents a bestowal of grace for which one has done nothing whatsoever to deserve - and that for this reason, the river world vibrated with a harrowing beauty whose principal dividends were gratitude and joy.”
6 months ago
A few of the shots of mine that I am grateful were included in this month’s @patagonia Journal. It is consistently a pleasure to work with this company due to its corporate ethics and stewardship, the incredible photos and photographers they curate - how about that insane @oskar_enander snowboarding shot?!? Or @kerioberly amazing work with the Gwich’in people! - and the outstanding group of folks I get to work with behind the scenes. Thank you.
I spend a lot of time dragging cameras around cold, remote, rugged places, and of course am always excited when this work sees the light of day. But damn if I didn’t get a huge smile on my face to see two images in here taken last season in El Chaltén at my favorite local watering hole @frescoelchalten. If only all my work could be done with a fresh Patagonian IPA in one hand while getting in a solid hack sesh with the amigos under a double rainbow...
7 months ago
Still working through photos from this season in Yosemite, finding a few good ones mixed in along the way. Here @tommycaldwell sets up for a wild 5.13b dyno on Pitch 6 of Passage to Freedom, where one has to jump from one vertical flake to another across a holdless 2m gap. Just another @leo_houlding special!
For the record, this shot is very much a pose down taken after Tommy and @alexhonnold successfully climbed the route. They originally sent this pitch in the middle of the night, but when we returned to the wall to clean up some fixed lines I took advantage of the opportunity and got a few shots of this spectacular move in the daylight.
Swipe left to see the video of Tommy sending the dyno for real, and also Alex’s (kind of) static beta that he managed to pioneer on the fly in the name of shoulder preservation (Sound On!).
7 months ago
If you’re anywhere near Boulder/Denver this week, my good friends @jessehuey@maurybirdwell@whitmagro and others will be presenting an incredible evening of stories and photos about our late friend Hayden Kennedy and the first ascent of “Gambling In The Winds.” This was a route that Hayden and Whit started years ago, and that Jesse and Maury finished this past summer. I was fortunate to spend a week out at Mt. Hooker documenting the climb and how it came to mark an important step along the path of grieving and healing for some of those closest to HK. Spreading his ashes into the endless sky above the summit is something I’ll never forget.
The event will be at Neptune Mountaineering on Thursday, December 12th, and proceeds from ticket sales will go toward the protection of public lands through The Hayden Fund. There will be lots of laughs, tears, tall tales and good beer. Visit the link in @jessehuey profile for tix!
7 months ago
Beth Rodden, one of the strongest and most beautiful women I know. I’ve been inspired recently by her vulnerability in sharing some of her struggles with body image over the years — “People often ask, ‘How could a professional athlete have body image issues?’ I don’t know how they couldn’t. The climbing community is welcoming in many ways, but we have a long way to go with body acceptance. ‘Can you suck in your stomach? Roll your shorts up higher? Pull your shirt up? Oh, um, never mind leave your shirt down. Can you smile with your chin out? You have skin bunching below your neck.’ These are all things said to me during photo shoots over the past twenty five years.
A few years ago, I was climbing with my favorite group of mamas, lamenting changes in my body. I grabbed my soft postpartum belly and joked ‘How do I get rid of this?’ We all laughed, but I saw my son watching me, soaking in everything I was saying. Motherhood has been a crystal clear reflection of who I am and who I want to be. I was setting a perilous example.
Last spring was the first time since being pregnant that my inner dialogue changed from criticism to acceptance around my postpartum body and shape. It’s taken me years to change what I tell myself, and it’s still constant work, but this past year I’ve been baring that soft belly with pride instead of fear. Next time you wonder if your body is worthy enough for a tank top or sports bra, ask yourself who made you think it wasn’t.
Let’s celebrate normal.” - @bethrodden.
I couldn’t agree more 🙏
8 months ago
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