Thursday, July 8, 2010

BD Journal

I know that it's just barely past the 4th of July and all, but here's more ice climbing...

Shot by Chris Hamillton, this is my first real attempt at video editting and has really turned me on to the idea of working in visual media. The goal was to produce a 2-8 minute clip for BD's online athlete journal. Chris didn't miss a moment of the action from his fixed line and handed me something like 48 minutes of raw footage - enter the learning curve.

Being a total nerd when it comes to climbing, I found it exceptionally challenging to eliminate footage. The words of my friend and colleague CJ Carter echoed strongly throughout the process, "try to use only the bare minimum needed to tell the story." Not so easy as it may sound, at least not for me - given my druthers, you'd be forced to sit through tight shots of every protection placement, complete with voice-over and slow-mo, just to be sure that the experience was thoroughly beat to death. So, anyhow, this is my attempt at a video snapshot of one of the finest, wildest, steepest pure-ice lines that I've had the pleasure to engage.


BD athlete Pete Tapley ice climbing in Hyalite Canyon, Montana from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Seasons Change...

Semi-annual blogging? Perhaps it's all of the pep in my step as the seasons turn and my enthusiasm for change wells strong and fast - I get excited and can't sit still. I have to find an outlet for the stoke and amplify to the point where the winds of spray fill my sails and I'm out the door, into the fray and on the fly, riding the flow of action. Or, on the other hand, it could just be slack...

Regardless, spring fills me with renewed excitement for alpine climbing and I spend bad-weather days hunched over doppler radar images and live webcams, waiting for the perfect storm to conjure last-rounds of ice climbing for the season. By this time, I'm typically tired of ice climbing. I can't count the number of days or pitches climbed this winter, but it was certainly enough for me to be keen on some nice, sunny rock pitches, so it's not necessarily a matter of needing to get in more days on the ice, or a matter of preference for the medium. I think it's the thrill of the hunt that gets me jacked as much as anything.

Not unlike the fall season, with early snowfall melting on the still-warm crags, re-freezing overnight and clinging to the shadows, spring brings its own unique conditions and occasionally the variables align to the the climber's favor. These occasions are rare however and you have to be keen (and flexible with your time) to catch them. I got lucky recently - with the feeling in my bones that things were setting up just right and a fantastic new partner who had some time on his hands, I struck out for Beehive Buttress near Big Sky.
We slept way too little, almost ran out of gas, got pulled over for speeding (and a busted headlight), then found the first warming rays of sun beaming onto the south face to reveal the best-looking conditions that I've ever seen on the wall - too good to be true. While the routes were fat with recent cover, they were still pre-mature and far from thunker ice. All the same, we had a very high-quality experience, complete with stone that fought tooth and nail when we tried to protect it and blunted our picks when we were duped by optimism and the illusion of ice in the cracks.
The video clip was assembled from the shots on my camera; Peter told me that it was "just a little too much all me, especially since you made the ascent happen" and passed forward the stills from his camera for me to incorporate in another edit. Of course, I've already either mis-placed or deleted the original files, so this is what we have...
ps - Being tech-challenged has it's moments...this time it has to do with the embedded video formatting. I suggest opening in another window in order to view full-scale. Just double-click the image below.