In what will likely be an annual feature here (
here’s 2011), I’ve gone through all approximately 5000 photos from 2012 and picked out 10, well 11, that I liked the most. These aren’t necessarily the best photos, but the ones that I liked the best. They all have some kind of special memory associated with them.
Early last year I added a new camera to my photography toolbox. While I was never disappointed with my 50D, it is big, bulky, and heavy for longer climbs or ones with long approaches. On top of that it was a little difficult to pull out while climbing and get a quick shot. So I picked up a lightly used Canon G12. The first trip I took it on was up to the White Mountains with Chris. We did almost all the gullies in Huntington Ravine that weekend. When topping out of one of the gullies I snapped this shot of him. Originally I did it because he had some blood on his face from a piece of ice. However for some reason I though to put it into black and white and I think the end result is much better than the color. This shot gives a good representation of what climbing in the winter is like.
In July I headed to the White Mountains for some photography and some hiking. Since I was by myself I had all the time in the world to do whatever photo stuff I wanted. So I woke up around 3am and hiked above treeline on Mt. Madison to catch the sun rising there weren’t many clouds but the sunrise was beautiful nonetheless. This shot is a five exposure HDR.
While I’ve been climbing rock for a while now, and ice for a few seasons as well, I really haven’t been into the alpine terrain much. Or in truth at all until August. Mt. Washington is about as close as I’ve gotten. It can certainly be full-on there, but I was looking forward to doing something a bit bigger. Something with altitude. In August I took a trip to the Tetons with Chris and we climbed the Grand Teton via the Direct Exum Ridge. It was a spectacular climb and we had no major issues other than being in poor shape. While I’d like to think it was just living at sea level that was the problem we could have prepared more. However the weather was spectacular and we were able to make a very late summit of 4:15 pm. Being in that alpine terrain is amazingly special.
For our climb up the Grand we stayed at the Moraine camping area which is the second to last place to camp before attacking the technical section of the Grand. From here we woke up early and started to the base of the climb in the dark. Once up the first pitch we got a great view of the Middle Teton as the sun was just hitting it. The smoke in the air from numerous wildfires from Idaho made for a softer and warmer light than normal which really made this shot nice.
In a year of many great trips my one to Yosemite was one of the best. I don’t need to go into how it is a climbing mecca, so let me just say that being in the Valley is a special feeling. The rock possibilities are everywhere. Looking out across a green carpet of huge trees to see granite spires and walls looming above is one of the things that brings a smile to any climber’s heart.
On the last climbing day in Yosemite I wanted to do something bigger. Thus far I’d tackled 4-5 pitch climbs at most and Yosemite is known for its grade IV’s which take a full day to complete for most parties. Therefore I went up and did the Northeast Buttress of Higher Cathedral. The climb has amazing position as this photo shows. It has a commanding position looking up the valley. This belay thankfully had a nice, though narrow belay ledge. Getting some air to my toes felt awesome.
While the nine pitches of the Northeast Buttress of Higher Cathedral (5.9) are a grueling vertical slog through wide cracks and squeeze chimneys, the reward at the top is worth it. The peak of Higher Cathedral is directly opposite El Capitan and because of our slow progress we topped out at sunset. With the El Cap meadow spanning the gap between us we marveled in the enormity of rock that makes up El Cap.
Indian Creek is the center of the crack climbing universe. It is not hard to understand the definition of “splitter” when one sees a perfectly vertical, parallel, 120 ft long crack in featureless sandstone. I traveled there in October with friends from work and got served a helping of humility. I thought I was really becoming a 5.10 trad climber, but routes at the Creek are so sustained and unrelenting. There’s still work to be done for me. This shot was taken at the end of our climbing day before we headed back to SLC. Over our shoulder was a gorgeous sunset and on this side was a spectacular moonrise over the sandstone cliffs.
Desert towers are amazing places. Indian Creek has two such towers. While they don’t rival those in Castleton Valley nearby they are still great excursions. Here Paul and I topped out on North Six Shooter Tower after three pitches of exciting climbing. From the summit we had a great view of the wonderful desert landscape that is Indian Creek. Perhaps it is my familiarity with the Northeast’s scenery, but is there anything there that can compete with this kind of view?
Another image from Indian Creek. This route called Scarface (5.11) is an oft photographed route for obvious reasons. While I can’t say that I put any new creativity into shooting this route, it is still a stunning shot. The other reason I really like this photo is the opportunity to climb with Paul and Lauren. It was great to see them again.
Start and finish with a portrait. This is certainly a less than typical one, more of an ‘action’ portrait. At the beginning of December I attended the Bozeman Ice Festival. On the first day we climbed with some non-BD folks. Liz is a Patagonia rep and had never ice climbed. She had heard of the ‘barfies’ but had no idea what they were. After finishing her first pitch of ice she figured out what they are for herself. If you’ve never had them this shot pretty well epitomizes them. Her facial expression and hand position say it all. And trust me there’s no acting or dramatizing here. Favorite Photos of 2012 Gallery