Friday, December 03, 2010

TONIGHT - The Hammers Inc Art Festival

Yes, it is finally upon us.  The 4th Annual Hammers Inc Art Festival is tonight from 5pm to 10pm at the Crandall Building in downtown SLC.  The building is located at the NW corner of 100 S. and Main St.  I will be showing a few pieces and would love to have you see them.  We have a great mix of artists this year as well as a ton of gear and prizes for the auctions and raffles.  All of the proceeds go to the Access Fund.  Come down and say hello.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Petzl Roc Trip Mexico

Liv Sansoz - Jilotepec, Mexico

“¿Dónde está el baño?”

I don’t remember much from my Spanish classes in Junior High (sorry, Miss Rush), but I am pretty sure this means, “Petzl Roc Trip Mexico is the best Roc Trip ever!” I heard so many people go up to the event organizers to say this with conviction that it couldn’t possibly mean anything else.

Petzl Roc Trip has been all over the world - Kalymnos, Greece; Squamish, British Columbia; Zillertal, Austria; Red River Gorge, Kentucky; Millau, France - just to name a few. This year the Petzl team visited a couple towns and crags in Mexico. The first stop was a beautiful old colonial town called Taxco.

Taxco, Mexico at sunset

About a 20-minute drive and a 30-minute hike from Taxco resides a cave lovingly referred to by the locals as “El Chonta.” The cave itself is massive. It is riddled with hanging stalactites and tufas making the area look like something out of science fiction.

It was inspiring to see the athletes approach this new area and get psyched about the routes and the climbing. These people travel all over the world to climb yet they still get excited about seeing something new and the challenge of working out new problems on the rock. These are the best climbers in the world and you could see it as they put down route after route in this intimidating arena.

Whitney Bolland works through pinch after pinch in El Chonta

After a couple of days climbing in El Chonta, we moved on to a small town just north of Mexico City called Jilotepec. The Las Peñas cliffs loom over you no matter where you are in this town. The climbing is quite different from what we had just seen in El Chonta. The main wall in Jilotepec seemed like a ginormous egg that sat in the middle of the canyon. It was far more technical climbing with bouldery starts, crimpy moves, and long finishes.

Liv Sansoz shows what it means to "pull down"

This is where some of the athletes really started to shine. On just the second day here, Steve McClure sent the new hardest route in Mexico – a 14c called Cruz Diablo. He was one of the first athletes to the crag everyday and kept relatively quiet while climbing harder than anyone else. Not to be outdone, Mickaël Fuselier and Jérôme Pouvreau sent Las Chicas Superpoderosas our last day at Jilo, which was said to be “a little bit harder than Cruz Diablo.” Watching professional athletes performing at this level was inspiring. Linking their motivation and skill on the rock together made many of them virtually unstoppable.

Said Belhaj rests halfway up this 120’ route

All of this combined with a visit to ancient pyramids, a traditional Temascal sweat lodge, cultural presentations, uber-friendly locals, etc., I can definitively say that this was the best Roc Trip ever. Therefore, I must agree with what was said by so many others during these ten days:

“¿Dónde está el baño?

“¿Dónde está el baño?” indeed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hammers Inc Art Festival 2010 - Artist Bio - Adam Barker

There will be a lot of talented people at this year's Hammers Inc Art Festival.  Beyond that I, too, will be exhibiting some work.  Among the featured artists will be Adam Barker.  Adam is one of the premier landscape and action photographers in Utah.  It was a privilege to go up to Heber with he and Garrett Smith last weekend to shoot this little bio video.

Artist Profile: Adam Barker from HIP VISUAL ARTS on Vimeo.

Be sure to put the Hammers Inc Art Festival on your calendar.  It is December 3rd at the corner of 100 S and Main St. in downtown SLC.  Garrett and Molly (his sweet wife) have also worked hard to have it featured as part of the monthly SLC gallery stroll.  The event will be a fundraiser for the Access Fund, an organization that protects climbing areas across the US.  Come on by and show your support, see some great art, spend a little money (if you feel so inclined), and enjoy yourselves.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hammers Inc Art Festival 2010 - Artist Bio - Kandyce Groesbeck

I have been more involved in the marketing and promotion of this year's Hammers Inc Art Festival.  Here is the first of five artist bio videos we (me, Garrett Smith, and Nathan Balli) are producing for the event:

Artist Profile: Kandyce Groesbeck from Hammers Inc. Photography on Vimeo.

Be sure to make it down to the Fourth Annual Hammers Inc Art Festival, December 3, 2010.  I will be showing some work, Kandyce will be showing work, there will be a silent auction benefitting the Access Fund, and more!  More details to follow.

Friday, October 01, 2010

VIDEO: New Line of Petzl Ice Tools

I worked with the Petzl team in France to create a video for the new tools that has a bit more of an international feel.  They did the final edit and I am psyched with how it turned out.

New line of Petzl Charlet ice tools - QUARK NOMIC ERGO from Petzl-sport on Vimeo.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Pecha Kucha Night - August 12, 2010 - Salt Lake Art Center

I would like to invite all of you who are reading this to a presentation I will be giving at the first ever Pecha Kucha Night here in Salt Lake City.  The night will be filled with great creative presentations from many different fields.  Each presenter is given 20 seconds for each of their 20 slides.  This assures that the presentations keep moving and nothing gets too boring.

I will be speaking about ski mountaineering, photography, and the creative process that brings them both together for me (there will also be some discussion about beards).  Please come and join me at the Salt Lake Art Center (20 S West Temple - just north of the Salt Palace) on August 12, 2010.  Doors open at 7 and presentations start at 8.  You must RSVP for the event by August 10 at 5pm in order to get in.  So send your RSVP request to Laura at or call her at 801-532-1727.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I shoot a lot of video for work as well as some personal projects.  The first big shoot I did was for Petzl at the Ultrafest event up at Snowbird before Winter OR this January.  We had just received the new camera earlier this day so I was skeptical on how it would turn out.  I was pleased with the result.

By the way, if you haven't had the chance to try out one of these headlamps, I would highly recommend it.  The only problem is that it makes sleeping harder and harder to find time to do.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I just wanted to post a quick note about some blogs out there that have recently shown some of my work.

First, - the online blog home of Climbing Magazine.  This post was written by Sara Lingafelter.  We met down at the Red Rock Rendezvous this spring in Nevada.  After setting up our booth, we took advantage of some free time to do a little bouldering.  I brought my camera along and this is what came of it.

Two weekends ago I was asked to go up to the Wasatch Back Relay to shoot some photos for a Petzl blog post.  We were the headlamp sponsor for the race.  Stacy and I went up in the early evening and stayed a lot later than we had planned.  We were enjoying ourselves and I think the photos turned out pretty cool.

A friend of mine over at Deuter Packs asked me a while ago if I would be interested in writing a blog post for their blog.  I agreed to it and said I would put something together.  I showed him my series on ski mountaineering in the Wasatch and he decided to just cross-post one of my entries from this blog with a little intro about me.  I think the presentation looks a little better on my blog than theirs, but it is still cool.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Heart of Darkness

Late season can be a great time to get in some chutes that you didn't have the chance to ski when the snow was flying.  This is what I was thinking when I decided to ski the Heart of Darkness.  I was wrong.  Sort of.

It was late April and I wanted to get in another chute before I started to focus on training for the Ironman.  I called up a couple friends and we decided on the Heart of Darkness.  It looked super cool and none of us had skied it before.

Bootpacking can be fun.  Cardiac Ridge in the background.  Skier: Molly Barker

The walk in Spring is a little different than the walk would be in Winter.  You have to boot a lot more.

We were pretty sure we were in the right place.  Skiers: Molly Barker and Mark Hammond

From the summit of Mt. Superior you can clearly see the top of the couloir.  Once you drop into Mill B South it is not as easy to see where you are going.  So we just hiked up assuming we would find it.  We did.

Yep.  Those are the walls of the chute behind her, and that is why she looks so psyched.  Skier: Molly Barker - shot on the Holga

The Heart of Darkness is a bit different than the other S5's I did this winter as the rappel is at the top.  This means there are no real "no fall zones."  Just do the rap then figure out how to put your skis on in such a tight and steep area.

The line you can see in the background is called the Skyramp.  Mark wanted to do this on the same day, but changed his mind when we felt some movement on the approach.  Skier: Molly Barker

The rap is fairly short and just a matter of getting past the unskiable stuff at the top.  Then we were hoping for something worth skiing inside the chute.  This wasn't really the case.

This chute is so aesthetic.  Who would not want to ski this?  Skier: Molly Barker

It was pretty much just ice down the chute.  In ideal conditions I could see how this would be super fun to ski, but in the conditions we were in it was difficult to even try to make turns.  But hey, we got up there, learned some things and got down a classic line.

The Heart of Darkness from the bottom looking up.

Now that the objective was accomplished it was just a matter of skiing down Mill B South to our stashed car in Big Cottonwood.  This proved to be more adventurous than we had planned.

At the end of the skiable patches of snow.  Skier: Molly Barker

We skied what we could ski, but ended up hiking out the last of it.  It was a fun day, but I definitely need to come back when the skiing is a bit more favorable.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Venture Outdoors Festival

Just to let you know, I will be showing some photos at a booth at the Venture Outdoors Festival tomorrow - Saturday, June 19, 2010.  There will be activities all day, but the booth part of the festival goes from 3-10pm at Canyon Rim Park at 3100 S 2900 E.

I am sharing the booth space with a friend of mine, Garrett Smith, of Hammers Inc. Photography.  He was kind enough to offer the space and I thought it would be a great venue to show some photos.  His photos will be reason enough to come by.

If you feel so inclined, stop on by and check things out.  I will be selling and showing prints.  If you can't make it but are interested in buying some prints, send me a note and I will put something together just for you.

The Great Salt Lake.  Prints available at the festival.

You can find more information about the festival here:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pfeifferhorn - NW Couloir

My birthday is March 29th.  This was always nice growing up as I would usually ask for ski stuff for Christmas and baseball stuff for my birthday.  Things are a little different now.  I no longer play baseball and it turns out that chute skiing in the Wasatch is prime in late March.  Huh.  Who would have thought?

Can anyone think of a better way to celebrate one's birthday than to ski something any sane person would never consider?  Me neither.  I called Mark Hammond about skiing this line and he was a bit hesitant.  He had done it before and knew better.  But he eventually agreed to it (I am sure, as a personal favor to me).

The peak.  Skiers: James Good and Brook Golling

The approach to the Pfeifferhorn is a bit longer than the typical Wasatch walk, but once you get in view it begins to pay off.

A dude was headed up there while we were yet approaching.  He helps give a little bit of scale to this peak (that is him as he approaches in the lower left of the frame).

The bootpack up the actual peak isn't too bad it is the walk across the ridge getting to it that was scary.  It is pretty exposed in spots and I have never been great with that.  I don't know what it is, but I am much more comfortable on steep stuff when I have my skis on.
Our objective for the day was to ski the Northwest couloir (the Northeast face is what you see in the above photo).

And this is just the beginning.  Skier: Brook Golling

Here it is.  A 50 degree couloir that just seems to get steeper as it approaches the rappel.  The conditions weren't exactly ideal for skiing this type of terrain.

The business end of the chute.  Skier: Brook Golling

It just gets steeper and icier.  The final 10 feet approaching this anchor got my heart beating a bit faster than usual.

Everything changes once you are on rope.  Skier: Brook Golling

I was psyched to finally ski this chute.  The skiing was marginal all the way out, but a lot of the time with this stuff you don't do it for the skiing.  You do it for the overall adventure.  And it was a good one.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Memorial Couloir #3 - Mount Olympus

During the winter I somehow found myself with a few extra days of time-off from work.  Whatever shall I do with this time?  I called Mark Hammond and asked if he wanted to join me for some skiing.  He said he had his eye on the Memorial Couloirs off Mount Olympus, and it sounded good to me.

We approached from Neff's Canyon and up the backside of Mt. Olympus.  You know the main chute that faces the city between the North and South summits?  We walked right up the other side of that.

Contemplating which line to ski.  Skier: Mark Hammond

We went back and forth a bit about which chute we wanted to ski (and which chute was which according to the guidebook).  We decided to go from the North summit into what we thought (I am still not sure) was Memorial Couloir #3.

I knew I learned to climb for a reason.  Skier/Climber: Mark Hammond

After a bit of an interesting final approach, the view from the summit was pretty cool.

Remember when Zeus cried, "Release the Kraken!"? I imagine he was somewhere near here.  Skier: Mark Hammond

We then had to drop in just about ten feet or so to get to the top of the chute we had decided on.  Just so we didn't lose any of our gear, we slung a rope around a rock and lowered ourselves into it.

The West-facing chute was too cool-looking to not make a quick turn or two for a quick photo op.  Boarder: Zach Clanton

The chute we actually skied was the east-facing one opposite the above photo.  It was super tight and super cool.  Zach went ahead to make sure it didn't cliff out halfway down.  It didn't… much.

Nice.  Boarder: Zach Clanton

There was, instead of a big cliff, just a short section where you had to point it and hop over a few rocks.  I got going a little too fast and had to bail into the snow.  The only problem was that just under the snow was a rock that was just itching to make acquaintance with my face.

I think I am pointing at the rock that got the best of me.  Ph: Zach Clanton

If anyone knows if this is actually Memorial Couloir #3 or not please leave a comment below.  I question it because the guidebook is a bit unclear on this and it seemed more technical than S4-, but maybe that is just the blood talking.

For more photos be sure to check out:

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Y-Not Couloir

I feel like Andrew does a great job describing this one in his guidebook, The Chuting Gallery:

Y Not? A 40' cliff in the middle of a 45º slope is one good reason!  This is the Y Couloir on steroids.  Shorter, steeper, narrower and scarier by far.  An out-of-control fall in the Y-Not would lead to a graphic death as the victim pinballed down the chute, over the cliff and was torn to bits in the rocks below.  Falling is forbidden.  Timing is critical.

This is the type of ski line description that you don't show your mother (sorry if you are reading this now, mom).

As soon as the snow conditions began to settle this season, the Y-Not was first on my list to hit.  My beard was right on the edge of full and big.  It did not necessarily play a huge role in the actual skiing of this line, but the correlation of both the skiing and the beard was easy to see - they were both awesome.  I got two friends together and we headed up one morning in early March.

The approach is simply 3,000 feet of bootpacking straight up the Y.  We happened to be doing it on a day with a lot of snow and no existing bootpack, so the walk took a bit longer than it has in the past.

James Good and Mark Greenwood lead the way up the Y Couloir.

The top section of the Y-Not is super tame.  Just wide open skiing with a lot of snow.  Then it begins to steepen up.

I have other shots of skiing the upper section, but I just kept going back to this one as my favorite.  I think I just like its generous emptiness.  Skier: Mark Greenwood

The approach to the rappel anchors is where the descent becomes steep and serious.  A fall over this cliff/cave would not end well for anyone.

James Good makes his way to the rap.

The rap anchors where completely mangled due to rock fall (or something) so we had to improvise.

Sometimes rappelling requires a tree and a little more rope than you were planning.  Skier: James Good

Once you get on rope you can begin to relax, smile, and get psyched for what is below.

A freehanging rappel midway down a nearly 3,000' ski descent.  This is cool.  Skier: Mark Greenwood

The bottom section of the chute is tight, steep, and super fun.

The Y-Not is a Wasatch classic for a reason.  Just show the line the respect it demands and you will be glad you did it.

For more photos be sure to check out:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wasatch Steep Skiing - Intro

Those of us who are lucky enough to live in and around the Wasatch mountains are spoiled when it comes to skiing.  We have some of the world's best skiing just minutes from our front door.  The backcountry is pristine, the access is unmatched, and the snow is phenomenal.  I know of no other place where you can live in a major city (yes, I consider Salt Lake to be a major city) and still be able to be geared up and on snow in about 20 minutes.

But one area of backcountry skiing in the Wasatch that is overlooked by many is the amazing ski mountaineering opportunities that are so accessible.  They get skied plenty, but there remain a lot of backcountry skiers that haven't even touched these lines.  They don't know what they are missing.

Steep skiing has a rating scale that is pretty easy to understand upon first glance: the higher the number gets - the steeper, more technical, scarier, etc. the line is.  S1 is like a green run at a ski resort.  S2 is a blue run.  S3 is black. S4 begins to have dangerous fall potential.  You'd be lucky to live through an S5 fall.  A painful death will occur upon a fall in S6 territory.  S7 is "just plain ol' steep as hell" (A. Mclean).  And S8 is supposedly the future of steep skiing.  Allow me to show this scale in a more illustrative manner:

I would like to now show you my progression in steep skiing, but in order to do so I feel as though you need a physical marker that will give you a sense of time.  My beard.  Those of you who know me are aware that I have had a beard to some degree or another ever since I have been allowed to have one depending on my place of employment.  Again, I think a graphic will help illustrate the different stages of my beard (all self-portraits):

The last several years have been very good to me as I have been able to ski some great lines with great snow conditions and some great skiers.  Here is a little breakdown of how my skiing (and beard growing) has evolved over the years:

Over the next several blog posts, I plan to share with you some photos and experiences I have had as I have skied some of the classic lines here in the Wasatch this season.  Stay tuned.  Here's a little teaser photo for you (you can see a few more over at

Brook Golling - Looking down the NW Couloir of the Pfeifferhorn

Sunday, May 02, 2010


We always seem to get at least one big storm in May every year, but it still seems to catch everyone off guard.  This year we were prepared.

April showers bring May faceshots.
Jesse Allen - May 1, 2010 - Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Portfolio Post - People

The people portfolio was an easy one to name.  It is pictures of people.  Friends, family, skiers, climbers, clients, musicians, etc.  Just pictures of people.

Although you can't see from the photo, this was taken amidst a sea of hippies, their tents, and their awesomeness.  Check out the full three days here: Day1 - Day 2 - Day 3

Ryan Wells - Phish Festival 8 - Indio, CA

I really like how the colors work together in this one.
Crazy and V Henriksen - Spring City, UT

Portraits are my favorite thing to shoot with the Holga.  There is just something about how it works with color, the shape of the image, etc. that just makes it great.
Candice Groesbeck - Big Cottonwood Canyon, UT

One of the best things about a Phish show is the light show.  I was waiting for the right time to shoot this image knowing exactly what I wanted.  I got lucky when it all worked out.  
Trey Anastasio - Phish Festival 8 - Indio, CA

People spend all this money on gear to keep their face warm while skiing, but they really should just grow a beard.  While it may look cold, the fact is that it freezes over then acts as a weather barrier for your face.  Just don't open your mouth too big as it may be frozen to itself.
Jer Valentiner - Big Cottonwood Canyon, UT

Another shot taking advantage of the great lighting at Festival 8.
Trey Anastasio - Phish Festival 8 - Indio, CA

Shooting the Down Syndrome Buddy Walk was one of my photo highlights of 2009.
2009 Buddy Walk - Cottonwood Heights, UT