I have been working with Outdoor Research on taking over their Instagram feed to showcase a bunch of photos from my climbing trip last summer to in Alberta, Canada. The trip involved visiting my partner Read's amazing family in Calgary and then frequently heading up to the Acephale crag (inbetween Calgary and Canmore) where he was working on and eventually sent a route called " Ojas", meaning vigor in Sanskrit, an 8b+. There I met some incredible climbers, who, just like Read were making the most out of the painfully short climbing season in Alberta.
It all started when I got up on a rope to photograph the stunning Regan Kennedy. With no joumar, Read and myself worked together to get me up Ojas, hanging and pulling on the draws and rope, with intermittent shouts of - "you want me to hold on to that?!" And "what the hell are your fingers made off. . no way ?!?". I couldn't believe what I was seeing; a foothold the size of a small crystal and the most horrible pinch I had ever touched. I thought about what it takes to climb something so horrid and a new level of respect filled me up. I kept going and finally clipped myself into a position just above one of the many cruxes Regan was going to climb.
Awkwardly hovering above and watching Regan work and stick the holds that I had fumbled on was just so impressive. It was in that moment something started up inside me; Regan was using everything she had to stick a very low percentage move and I started egging her on from just above. I realized that up there it was just me and her, and I went from being an outsider to someone who was completely immersed and involved in the action. Being so present and so close to the raw emotion and energy a climber has when they connect with the rock is a feeling and experience that I will never forget.
That day continues to resonate with me, and whenever I am shooting athletes in their environment I still get that buzz of excitement and nervousness that something awesome is about to happen.
Our trip to Alberta was regrettably short lived as we had plans to get to Europe for the Petzl Roctrip. In that time however, I was able to explore & climb at a few more crags, experience the stunning alpine and glacial lakes of Banff national park and most importantly make some new and inspiring friends along the way.
Special thanks to Josh, Regan, Read, Pete, Sue, Kelly, Bonar, Deb, Megs, TJ, Will, Jo & the bow valley climbing family for putting us up and showing us around.