Amazing Adventure & Climbing Instagrammers to Follow
Rock climbing is an amazing sport that brings people to the most beautiful destinations in the world. It also leads us through interesting adventures. I reached out to some climbing photographers and asked them, “What is the most memorable or exciting rock climbing or adventure shoot you can remember?” Here are their stories.
(feature image by Bruno Graciano @brungraciano of Rafael Furtado @mirandinhaaaaaaaaa climbing the boulder Blood America in Sabará MG, Brazil)
1. Kaare Iverson @kaare_iverson_photography
“I got this photo while retreating from a multi-day ridge traverse in the high sierras. I was exhausted, dehydrated and terrified that I would slide down the sandy face I was perched on and over a cliff below me. Despite having put my camera away entirely in order to make a safe descent, I couldn’t help but stop and unpack my bag on the edge of this mountain to get this shot.”
2. Tim Banfield @timbanfield
“I think that my most memorable day was from the last little bit of a route located in Storm Creek BC. Climber in the photo is Jon Walsh. I watched him climb up a pillar it broke and he rode it down sideways and took a good fall. Jon shook the fall off, got up and lead two mixed pitches to get us back to where we could access the ice above. During the mixed climbing he took another 30 ft fall and zipper a few pieces of gear which was interesting to watch. Definitively one of the more adventurous days I have had in a while. A 3 hour ski approach, several pitches of M6+, WI6 and then a sketchy ski out with huge packs in the dark.”
3. Jim Thornburg @jimthornburg
“I’m proud of this picture of Jvan Tresch because it took so much effort to make. First, Jvan and his partners, Ben Bransby and Brittany Griffith rousted me at 5:30 am to begin the steep hour-long trek up the wild switchbacks of the Angel’s Landing trail in Zion N.P. Their plan was to hike to the summit of Moonlight Buttress (5.13a), and rap in to recon the last five pitches for a free attempt from the ground the following day. I started up the trail an hour later, by myself. As I labored up under a huge pack (camera gear, water, two ropes and climbing gear) I kept reminding myself how good the pictures were going to be.
At the rim, I raced around, trying to figure out where the top of the route was. With uncertainty, I cast my ropes over the edge of 1000 feet of “don’t look down” exposure. After 400 feet of lowering I finally found my friends. Ben had already climbed a 5.12c pitch, and Jvan was just starting up a 5.12b fingercrack. I placed a small cam as a directional to keep me slightly to the side of the crack. I’ve found that you can miss a lot of action if you try to jumar alongside a climber, so I chose to stay in one place and follow Jvan first with a 70-210 2.8 zoom lens. As he got closer, I switched to a fast 50 1.4 lens, and finally to a 17-35 2.8 zoom. In this way, I was able to keep the lens trained on Jvan for the entire pitch, get lots of different perspectives, and stay calmly in one place. Jvan is so good that he made it through the desperate section (to my disappointment) with a minimum of struggling. Still, when he made this elegant stab for a tips lock, I was ready and in position. I set my camera to auto-bracket 3 exposures, normal, 1/3 under and 1/3 over during the reach, so as to be sure and get at least one shot perfectly exposed.”
4. Paolo Sartori @paolosartophoto
“For sure the most memorable climbing shoot I remember (except for that time when the ice fall, frozen waterfall, I was climbing to shoot from the top collapsed, but this is another story…) is the one I did last October on El Capitan, Yosemite, documenting the first repetition of The Secret Passage by Pete Whittaker and Dan McManus. The weather was really hot making impossible any attempt to free climb on El Cap, so I spent 25 days in Camp 4 waiting for cooler temperatures and praying to be able to get the shot before my flight back to Italy. Then a storm hit the Valley and for 4 days everything was totally wet. I got the shots on my very last day in Yosemite, coming down from El Cap in the dark and next morning driving straight to San Francisco to catch my flight.
Climber in this photo is Daniel Hill-McManus, with Pete Whittaker belaying.”
5. Bruno Graciano @brungraciano
“I remember once when I was hired to accompany 3 athletes with the intention of opening the highest Highline of Brazil in the famous Agulhas Negras in Itatiaia National Park. We left Belo Horizonte MG and traveled 500 km by car to arrive in Itamonte MG city near the park where we slept. We woke up early the next day and traveled by car 1 hour on a dirt road to reach the park entrance. We got information about the weather and everything seemed to be in good condition to climb the 2790 meters of altitude of the famous Agulhas Negras.
We started climbing and in about 2 hours we reached the summit. That was when a big storm formed quickly and caught us. We were fully exposed, without having a place to hide and very cold. Then it began raining with lightning and we were forced to abandon all equipment of the Highline, so we could go down as fast as possible. The way back had become a river and my equipment for shooting was all wet; I didn’t want to look. After a few hours hiking down in the storm we arrived at the insurance base. My equipment with some sunshine returned to work perfectly.
We returned the next day for our second attempt which was very successful and we won the highest Highline at altitude in the country, “Ar Rarefeito.”
6. Xande Alexandre Ferreira @xande.bh
“Since I decided to explore the climbing photography world my main goal is to capture emotions. Climbing is a sport full of emotions. You have the effort of the athletes, fear, the will to go beyond your limits and the joy of achieving your goals. These are only some examples. Every day I can find a new emotion I try to capture with my camera the best way I can. You asked me for one story, so… Here it is…
In Serra do Cipó (the crag I go to almost every weekend) there is one special route called “Sinos de Aldebaran”. It is graded 7B+ (French grade). So every climber that is starting to climb and visit this crag looks at this line and dreams about climbing it when strong enough. One of my friends had a special crush for this route. After a few years of practice he finally decided he would be able to climb it. After trying it a few times, he called me and said “Xande, I always dreamed of a picture of me climbing the final roof of “Sinos”. Can you please take it for me?” Of course I would! On the first day I was there to take the picture, it started raining when he was in the middle of the line. We had to cancel it, but I was still able to take a picture of his fall with the rain in the back. On the second day he sent the line and I took one of the pictures I am most proud of. I was really happy with the picture I took but seeing how happy he was with the final result was even better. I never thought someone could be so happy with a picture of mine. This picture also gave me a third place in a contest sponsored by Adidas. It was my first time receiving a prize for a picture I took. So far, this is definitely one of my favorites and one with the most emotions attached.”
7. George Bruce Wilson – Three Peak Films @threepeakfilms
“Thinking back on many trips I’ve had it has been amazing to have been able to see so many amazing places that I fall in love with. The world is a big place and there is a TON to see so when there’s an opportunity to go to a new part of it I have to jump on and go for it.
I had an opportunity to head to Mexico to shoot a piece for a climbing magazine. It was my first full story and photos so I felt the pressure. I have this theory that success of the images one creates is 70% showing up or putting yourself into the right spot to make/have things happen. A lot into this particular shoot and a this image was one of my favorites from it. It was a matter of being prepared before hand and putting my self into the right spot for it to happen, the timing, the lighting, the climber – it all came together and we made a good image. In the end, the shoot took help from a lot of people and the shoot was a great success.”
8. Jesse Weiner @jessewphoto
“My Instagram combines my current life as a rock climbing coach, and my past life as a portrait, music and dance photographer. A few years ago when my home gym ask me to take over the youth climbing team, @teamboulderdash, I never could have guessed how big the team would grow and how incredible the climbers would become. This year we sent 9 climbers to Nationals and were very successful there! In the real world our climbers sent V10 boulders and climbed 5.13+. Most of these photos and videos are snapshots that I grab in the few moments between coaching, spotting and belaying. It’s very rewarding to document each of these climber’s amazing accomplishments as they happen. Climbing has brought us all over the country and helped us form many priceless friendships. Follow our adventures! Here is one of our young climbing stars, @katie_malinowski on a lesser known boulder in the Malibu area.”
9. Dana Felthauser @danafelthauser
“Leading the final pitch on this first ascent of Dawn of the Desert Rat, Kevander Fox searches for a foot placement with Aaron Livingston on belay. This pitch is slightly overhanging with ring locks and offset thin hands making it a 5.12.
To get this angle I suspended myself on two ropes between the canyon walls, dangling about 300 feet for hours. I raised and lowered myself into the perfect angle with a gri gri and ascenders. A wide angle lens pointing straight down helps to capture height of the wall and exposure of the climb.”
10. Jason Gebauer @jasongebauerphotography
“For me, every shoot is memorable, I always love meeting new people and creating images. Exciting…. That’s a whole different ballgame. I was in Indian Creek about two years ago shooting with Pamela Pack and Pat Kingsbury. We hiked up to the cliff base to scope out some routes when it started to snow, which turned into 40+ mph winds, a thunderstorm, hail, rain, lightning. It turned into a mission to get back to camp… But that’s why we do what we do, moments like that.”
11. R. Tyler Gross @rtylerphoto
“I joined a few friends to go climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park two summers ago. I was on a month long road trip in my van and we decided to meet for bouldering in the park. We had beautiful weather all day and as most people are aware, it can change on a dime. We were working a line called Deep Puddle Dynamics when the sky began to darken on the horizon… My friend Ben Conner pulled on and as he hit the crux hold on the send, a bolt of lightning flashed in the distance and hail began to strike all around. We immediately had to take cover as a massive storm ensued for the next hour or so. Luckily Ben managed to complete the climb and that crack of lightning I will forever remember as Ben stuck the crux and finished it out.”
12. Wilson Hansen @amatterofwill
“In City Of Rocks Idaho we were doing a marathon run of the valleys best climbs. It had been hailing the whole day and our climbing windows were very narrow. As the sun was setting, the atmosphere burned away with the last bit of light throwing a perfect spotlight on our last route of the day. As the clouds broke and I could feel the heat of the sun I knew the shot had to be wide and from a distance. I fished my camera out of my pack, passed the belay to someone else and ran a few hundred yards up the trail and realized I was too low to see the rays hitting the route. I quickly scrambled up a nearby hill, threw on a longer lens and fired just as the evening storm blew in. Turned out to be a pretty good end to a long day.”
This blog post was written by Harmony Calhoun. She is a rock climber and a model. From her career and passion for rock climbing, her interests are travel, health, fitness, adventure, yoga, art, and enjoying the great outdoors. She travels the world to climb in new destinations and shares her travels on Instagram. She has also developed an Instagram climbing community for sharing the passion of rock climbing called @climbing_is_my_passion.