climbing photography

My Outdoor Traditions

I had a whole blog post in the works, but my niece is in town, I have client deadlines to meet, a Mammoth trip I need to finish packing for, and not enough time to properly edit everything I want to say. Even though I don’t have any witty prose to accompany these photos, I hope you enjoy this handful of snaps from some climbing trips over the past few months with Outdoor Traditions and friends. Check out the photos and then check out their 40% sale before your favorite designs are gone.

PS. I’m also going to include the link to Angel’s Climbing Tattoo Special. You know… just in case you are thinking about getting a nature tattoo that also gives back to the community and outdoor spaces that shape us as climbers.

Enjoy the photos!

Preseason

It's preseason in the Buttermilks, but that doesn't mean you can't still touch some rocks. There's no iconic snow capping the Sierras, but the sunrises will blow your mind.

Week Deux: Fontainebleau

I've never been a believer in love at first sight. Even as a kid I knew that sort of wishful l thinking only existed in fairytales and bad romantic comedies. However, love at first sight is the only way I can describe my experience climbing in Fontainebleau. Climbing the sloping sandstone of Font has always been a dream of mine, and I couldn't shake the feeling that the stone wouldn’t live up to the high expectations I had unintentionally built up in my head. Instead, boulder strewn forest was everything I could have wanted and then some, as if it was created just for me. The only thing more I could have asked for was more time there with all my new friends, four days was definitely not enough to explore all Fontainebleau has to offer. 

Thank you to the US Adaptive Team for taking me and welcoming me to the family, René-Paul Eustache for being the most amazing host and guide, Pierre Boisson for putting a beautiful roof over our many heads, Ronnie, Mo, and Brian for all the rides, and everyone for making the trip as fun and unforgettable as possible! Au Revior! 


(I have more photos of everyone, but do to the amount of editing for each picture I couldn't post process them all!  I'm off to Yosemite for the weekend, but I'll share a link to all the photos when I get back!)

Week 1: IFSC Climbing World Championships

Sean Bailey high up on R2 during Men's Lead Qualifiers

It's currently 1:00 in the morning here in Paris, making it my official last full day here. My two week trip is coming to an end and as happy as I am to see all of your smiling faces again,  I wish I could stay here forever. This trip has been a whirlwind of competition and climbing while trying to squeeze in a little photo editing and as many macarons as possible.

This particular post is a short one about the first week of my trip which was spent "coaching" (according to my badge), photographing, and cheering on my friends Jillian, Sean, Sierra, and a bunch of new friends from paraclimbing who were all competing for the US Team in the IFSC Climbing World Championships in Paris, France.

Our story begins with Jill coming back from Paraclimbing Nationals with a first place medal and an invitation to Worlds. I had previous plans to use my vacation days for a road trip through Colorado with my dog, but as all of us who are friends with Jillian know, her excitement is contagious and she soon convinced me to join her in France instead. Flights were low and Airbnbs were plenty, so with my passport in hand and crème brûlée on my mind I said au revoir to my loved ones and email inbox. After a small miscommunication with Amtrak and a hasty rescue from the ever amazing Alexis Diller, Jillian and I found ourselves at LAX ready and eager for the rest of the adventures that lay ahead. One long nap and new friend later (I hope Portugal is treating you well Leah!) we were walking down a street full of strip clubs trying to find our hostel. The hostel ended up being quirky and cute with a short walk to Notre Dame and my favorite gelato stand. We spent our first two days walking around the city and visiting the gardens of Versailles while adjusting to the time zone. 


Jillian's first round of qualifiers for Paraclimbing was on Wednesday, where she kicked some serious ass and climbed her way into fourth place. On Thursday I ran around the stadium nonstop in order to catch Jillian's second round of qualifiers as well as Sean's qualifiers in Lead and Sierra's qualifiers in Bouldering. Jillian scored high enough to land a spot in finals the following day where she secured the fourth place spot in the Women's RP3 category. Ronnie Dickson also placed fourth in the AL2 category in his final World Cup competition. Maureen Beck took home gold with a first place victory in AU2 and Connor King finished with a sweet third place finish in RP1. Climbing competitions here in Europe are way bigger than anything I've ever witnessed in the US and it was a PSYCHED crowed that packed the AccorHotels Arena for finals on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

Since Jill will be writing her own extensive blog about competing I'll leave the post here for now. To see more photos from behind the scenes of the first day of the paraclimbing you can click here. Stay tuned for another blog about week deux in Fontainebleau to be followed by a post full of film from around the city.

It's now 2:30 am and I need to get to bed. Good Night! 

The Beginning: Behind the Scenes of IFSC Paraclimbing

Bonjour mon amies,

Today marks the end of the first day of qualifiers for Paraclimbing, Women's Lead, and Men's bouldering in the IFSC World Championship here in Paris, France. Jillian kicked some serious ass this morning and is heading into round two of qualifiers tomorrow in 4th place and only one point behind 1st place. Sean will have his first day of climbing tomorrow in Men's Lead and Sierra will have her first day as well in Women's Bouldering.

It's midnight here in Paris and I've spent most of the day photographing and then sorting and editing so I don't have the energy to say much right now. Instead I'm going to do a larger post summarizing the whole event with all the climbing photographs. I couldn't resist uploading my favorite non-climbing moments from the day before heading to bed though.

Please note, none of these photos have been posed or otherwise directed. Today I focused on trying to capture the athletes in authentic moments of preparation and focus

Profiter et bonne nuit. 

Moments

There's a feeling I get while on the road that's hard to explain. It's not a unique feeling; poems, songs and entire novels have been written about it.  It's the sensation when the sun is out, the windows are down, the radio is up and the past and future cease to exist. It's the act of fully enjoying that very moment, somehow both excited to be moving and content with where you are at the same time.

It's taken me a while to post this particular journal entry. I had a whole piece written out about my experiences over the past several months that have taken too long to write and even longer to decide not to post. But you're not here to read my life story, and truthfully I'm not brave enough to share it (sorry Alexis and Joseph). All you need to know is that it's been a rough few months for me lately, which is how I found myself loading my dog and my crashpad into my car and taking the familiar twists and turns of the 330 towards Big Bear.  As I drove, I could feel my spirit rising with the elevation.

Fresh pine, mountain air, a roll of film and the warm embrace of old friends is the best remedy for any existential crisis that I know of. Recently my life has been full of constant reminders that whether good or bad, nothing in this life is ever permanent.

Here are a few moments I particularly enjoyed from last weekend. Some are captured digitally and some are captured on 10+ year old 35mm film.

Stars, Strobes, and Spiders

I wanted to venture someplace new last weekend, so I asked my former-Gaucho friend Hunter to be our fearless leader/climbing guide for his old stomping grounds in Santa Barbara. After several long road-rage and reggae filled hours on the 5 freeway we finally found ourselves winding up the beautiful 5N12 with a car full of camera equipment, climbing gear, and Trader Joe's snacks (and by snacks I mean peanut butter pretzels and hard root beer). If people would only learn how to drive better in North County/Orange County/Los Angeles we may have been able to actually climb more on Saturday, but we did manage to make it to the Lizard's Mouth just in time for some spectacular sunset bouldering. Since the approach was fairly low key,  I brought my portable strobe along to play with when I wasn't climbing. We spent most of Saturday night around the Lizard's Mouth area making our way up fun and mellow sandstone problems while trying to avoid all the crane flies, centipedes, and spiders that kept trying to crash our climbing party. We ended the night by watching the moon rise above the clouds with a little bit of Led Zeppelin courtesy of Alexis and her guitar before crawling into our sleeping bags and snoring. Our Sunday started bright and early thanks to the local gun range and some early morning shotgun enthusiasts.  Not wanting to waste daylight, we made our way down to the Brickyard where I spent most of the day climbing and befriending lizards rather than photographing. It was a short but fun weekend with friends at one of the most beautiful crags I've had the pleasure of climbing at. 

A big 'Thank You' is owed to Hunter for showing us around his local college crag, and another major thanks to both Alexis and Hunter for agreeing to climb in the pitch dark so I could get the right long exposures. You guys rock.