@rickridgeway pulling his cart through a torrent of mud water on the border of the Chang Tang Plateau and the Taklimakan Desert. During the summer of 2002 the late Galen Rowell, Rick, @jimmy_chin & me embarked on a @natgeo expedition to document the migration and calving grounds of the endangered chiru, a small goat also known as the Tibetan antelope. The chiru is under pressure from poaching and habitat loss due to gold mining. Our goal was to supplement the work of the biologist George Schaller, encourage the Chinese government to expand the boundaries of the park these animals needed to survive and bring attention to illegal fur trade. For 30 days we walked from the southern edge of the Chang Tang to the Taklimakan Desert, following the migration of these hardy animals. Over the 432 km (270 miles) of high altitude desert we didn’t see a single tree. There were a few tiny plants, stipple grass and burzel, to support these antelope like caprids. The chiru is the food source for wolves and Tibetan bears. Luckily we didn’t see any bears and the lone wolf we met was long in the tooth and curious. Perhaps the wolf understood we were not hunters and there by paid us a visit. Our own challenges were focused on finding water each day. (This image is from the last day.) From scooping up sand speckled snow to finding saline seeps water was a constant worry. After this journey we all had a deeper appreciation for water. On this trip Galen opened up and shared his knowledge of photography with Jimmy. From the practical of how to care for your camera to the art of working the light Jimmy was a sponge. If there was one salient lesson it was work hard. Jimmy already had this built into his ethos, thanks to his dad. This was Galen’s last expedition as he and his wife Barbara perished in a plane crash one month after the expedition. Rick was a veritable encyclopedia of bird knowledge. For a more detailed overview check out the April 2003 National Geographic Magazine, available online in the digital archive. For an in depth look please read “The Big Open” by Rick. #drogpapoints
It’s good to have friends. @davehahn.climb and I climbed together while we were working as guides on the Vinson Massif in Antarctica. This snapshot has us enjoying a warm beverage and shooting the breeze after a day in the mountains. One piece hardshell outfits were “de rigueur” back then. _____________________________ Dave introduced me to the 1999 Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition. We topped out on the 17th of May, via the NE Ridge, in somewhat adverse conditions. Thirteen years later we were at the same place on the 26th of May 2012 with @melissaarnot and @khfilms, climbing from Nepal. It was warm and windless - Dave noted it was the best weather he had ever seen on summit day. A few years before, Dave joined @ivo_ninov, @jimmy_chin and me for an ascent of the Pacific Ocean Wall on El Capitan. It’s worth looking up his story for Outside Magazine, “Aces High” about this adventure. We’ve crossed paths on Denali & Kilimanjaro and always joke about the expired mashed potatoes we subsisted on while living in the blue weather port at Vinson Base Camp. Dave is the one of the funniest and most gentle guys around.
@jimmy_chin :: January 2005 Photograph by a @khumbuclimbingcenter student. @freesolofilm is the talk of the town. Watching @alexhonnold “hike” the boulder problem on Free Rider, El Cap is going to bring diaphoretic palms to every movie goer. This film wouldn’t be possible without the vision and dedication of Jimmy. In the 19 years we have tied in, Jimmy has had the eye to bring what we experience in the throes of gravity to still and video. Freesolo, debuting this weekend at the Telluride Film Festival 2018, is a result of an incredible team, not the least is @mochinyc. Thanks for the friendship Jimmy. #alwayscheckyourharnessprussik
Jeff Lowe, as a climber, added to the collective knowledge and ability of mountain craft through his bold ascents and revolutionary approach to technique. As a friend and a mentor in the climbing community, Jeff was most welcoming and encouraging. The energy for sharing his passion was genuine. As such, happiness and a smile were always with him. 1971: a 21 year old Jeff climbed Moonlight Buttress in Zion. The exposure of this climb was mirrored in winter three years later with the first ascent of Bridalveil Falls, opening the realm of vertical ice. The Latok 78 adventure with his cousin George, Jim Donini and Michael Kennedy is synonymous with commitment in the high alpine. At Lowe Alpine Systems Jeff created the Snarg, a staple of the 80s ice rack. Jeff was an early proponent of competition climbing, launching the sport with Snowbird and Berkeley events. Seeing the sport represent in the 2020 Olympics has a bit of the the momentum that Jeff created. 1991: at 41 Jeff found the drytool discipline in the ‘tree of climbing’ and brought us all along. The motivation Jeff brought to the sport is part of its evolution. Climbing is centered on overcoming adversity and challenges; largely ones we create. Jeff had climbed ominous and forbidding peaks, perhaps giving him a balance of view that accepted an 18 year struggle with ALS. There was no rest and no easy way. Jeff was incredibly strong. While Jeff’s body was moving ever slowly to the next place, his mind was sharp and love was with him. With empathy for the family and loved ones of Jeff. We miss you Jeff 😌. Images: 1. Jeff Lowe Ama Dablam 1979 photo by Tom Frost 2. Micheal Kennedy, George Lowe, Jeff Lowe Latok 1978 photo by Jim Donini. 3. At the base of Metanoia, Eiger 1991 photo by @krakauernotwriting 4. #jefflowe Portraiture by @pullphoto 5. A conversation about his top 10 climbs. 6. The list. 7. With @claudialopezphoto and our three boys. Thanks for being an “uncle” to them and sharing stories of their father Alex.
A polymath is a person of wide-ranging knowledge and learning. If there ever was a climber that fit this description, it was Tom Frost. His early forays into climbing in the Tetons and Yosemite were visionary. Climbing with less encumbrance was his way of enriching the experience. His 1964 ascent of the North American Wall on El Capitan with Chuck Pratt, Royal Robbins and Yvon Chouinard was the first foray to the steep side of El Cap. The year before, he visited Nepal and was part of Ed Hillary’s work to build schools in the Khumbu. He also managed to climb Kangtega, the first ascent of this striking peak. In 1970 he was part of the South Face of Annapurna expedition, almost reaching the summit of this 8000 metre peak. In 1979 as part of a filming expedition to Ama Dablam he snapped the iconic image of Jeff Lowe setting a piton. In between climbing he used his engineering background to further the development of climbing equipment at Great Pacific Iron Works. In an amazing cross pollination of his photography and climbing skills he co-created Chimera (@chimeralighting) 1980, a line of light banks and filters. Taking the concept of geodesic tents to the film industry was pretty cool. His love for Yosemite led him to champion Camp IV, placing it on the National Register of Historic Places. His tireless work kept it from being developed or forgotten. Tom was excited by the progression of climbing, as evidenced by his genuine fascination of seeing the Salathé Wall (via the Free Rider variation) be climbed by Alex Honnold (@alexhonnold) in the purest and boldest style. Photo by @tom_frost_documentary_film On a personal level he an I shared a common thread, in that we both suffered a heart attack in our mid 50s. He would smile and quip that it only slows you down if you let it. Tom and Joyce moved to Oakdale, Calif. and from his study he would share ideas. Tom was a very kind and gentle person. He connected with people in a manner that we can all aspire to. Tom ~ you added to the collective goodness of humanity and with in our small tribe of gravity warriors you were legend. Tom passed away with dignity and with Joyce at his side. Rest In Peace Tom. #tomfrost
Climbing builds upon trust, clear communication and a shared experience. Wether your goal is the summit of Rum Doodle or the alphabet route in the gym, you depend upon others to experience the magic of a tussle with gravity. 🏞🏞🏞 Climbing pits the individual and the group against the unknown. There are no rules, no time clock, no loser or winner. As long as you don’t end up maggot fodder as a result of playing with gravity, you win. Even with it being a frivolous pursuit it still creates a fine way for humans to interact with each other. You don’t score, you don’t hit; you simply send and summit. Before we invented balls we climbed. Out of the trees, across the deserts, over the passes and to the top of the mountain. We wanted to know. In the process we found challenge, community and a way to get & stay fit. 🏔🏔🏔 When nature presents walls we climb them. We might better our understanding of humility and compassion or we might do it for the sheer surge of adrenaline that risk creates. Either / both ways: it’s what we do. 🐒🐒🐒 @thenorthface believes in the benefit of climbing. #globalclimbingday2018 is 18 August. With participating gyms around the world, this is your chance to check it out for the first time, haul your reluctant yet curious friend to try gravity or flail on some madness. You’ll help the @khumbuclimbingcenter,a vocational training program in Nepal. 👌🏾👌🏾👌🏾 Thanks. If you are in western Tennessee stop by @memphisrox 10-8. #wallsaremeantforclimbing#encouragement
El Capitan, Yosemite // 3 June 2017 \\ @alexhonnold basically smashed the mind riot barrier of what is possible in the realm of climbing. Freerider, a 3000’ 5.12d climb, is a feather in any climber’s cap. But to do this without a rope? Simply thinking about this makes my palms sweat. If this is the type of sports action you like or are curious about, the “Free Solo” film is for you. The trailer is a glimpse into the full film which releases in September. The film team - Chai Vasarelhyi (@mochinyc) & @jimmy_chin are top drawer storytellers. Layer up the A team production crew and one has an amazing insight into what drives our planets most gifted free soloist. @thenorthface@natgeo 🐒🐒🐒🏞🏞🏞 Photos by @jimmy_chin Trailer link in profile.
200,000 to 130,000 years ago the Bull Lake glacial period carved out the classic U shaped valley at the head of Lava Lake in southwest Montana. 🔭🔬 Always humbling to stand amongst 2.5 billion year old Gneiss, look up to the sky, splash a touch of water on our forehead and understand our insignificance. #leemetcalfwilderness#publiclands