Every day behind the lens is a good day, but when I saw this hanging ice dagger situated in the middle of a steep rock wall I was hoping it was going to be a special day in my photography career.
Ice climbing is a sport that requires the conditions to be just right and you have to work with athletes that understand what you as a photographer are trying to create.
It was a warmer than usual morning when myself and climbers Jen Olson and Kyle Vassilopoulos made the two-hour approach to this location. Seeing as they had to climb 30 meters of steep rock to access the ice, they couldn't tell from the ground if the ice conditions would be safe enough for them to climb.
Making the decision to give it a go, Kyle led the first pitch to gain the lower ice and deemed it safe for Jen to come up on second. Meanwhile I had hiked up the amphitheatre to get a better angle and was hoping the conditions leading up the dagger would be good enough to allow them to continue higher.
Jen was now at the belay and I watched as they gained the upper pitches together. Hoping it was a go, I had hiked higher and was now standing on a ridge parallel to them. The wind had also picked up, making for much colder conditions. Time was ticking and the climbers’ bright red jackets popped against the stark ice and dark wall. Waiting in anticipation, I saw Jen step off the belay and sink her axe into the pillar – it was on. Through the camera's viewfinder the hanging dagger looked dreamlike as Jen climbed higher. It was better than I could have imagined!