Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ice Climbers and Deep Chasms

Back in February, our family had some American guests stay with us for about a week. They insisted on having the full 'Canadian experience' and we took them to Jasper in the Rocky Mountains.
After a long car ride, we escaped the polluted city and could finally breath mountain air.
I've always said that one of my favourite things about winter is the way it smells, even in the city. I find it refreshing. The mountains though, take that smell to a whole new level. 
The sounds were the next thing that caught my attention. It was quiet but totally alive.
We had driven up the mountain to a point where the horns of the logging trains that clattered by every two hours couldn't be heard and where there was no evidence that cars even existed. I guess living in the city has made me forget how much I love being in the wilderness. 

Before we even started the hike, a snowball fight broke out. The sun had warmed the air to a glorious -2°C, making the powder perfect for snowballs. It was girls against guys excluding myself; I was taking the pictures. 
After everyone had cold, wet hands we took to the trails. A lot of other people seemed to have the same idea as us because the paths weren't exactly empty. I mean they weren't crowded but if you couldn't see another group of people on the path around you, you were probably in the trees or lost or something. 
The trail was divided into five bridges as you hike down. Each one has something really neat beyond or below. The first one was a deep chasm. It was so deep that we couldn't see the bottom in places, it was just black. The ledges were covered with heavy, untouched snow. Even the animals had left it alone. It was almost too perfect to look at.
Capturing the beauty of everything around me was hard. The camera didn't seem to be doing it's job and I was a little rushed since my family didn't stop for me to take the photos. I usually lined up, snapped a few, changed positions, snapped some more, changed my settings and took a few more then ran to catch up with my group.

Just before the third bridge we heard the sound of ice being chipped away in the canyon to our left. I kept stopping to see if I could find the source of the sound but after awhile, I couldn't see my group anymore so I gave up and ran as fast as I could on the slick ground.
When I rounded the corner I saw them standing at the railing, looking down. The ice chipping was loudest here and now I was able to pick out voices of other people too. Ice climbers.
On a frozen waterfall over the cliff into the canyon, two people wore spiked shoes and held an ice pickaxe in each hand.
As I took pictures of the girl right in front of me, I kept thinking: how cool would it be to be the one scaling the waterfall? To sit at the top and know that you used your own physical (and mental) strength to get to there.
It was official, ice climbing was on my bucket list at the very moment.
Even better, it's probably going to be something I can check off my list! My mom expressed interest in it as well on the drive home so we decided that next winter we'd make it happen. Then maybe That ice climber will be me.

At the third bridge, now halfway down the mountain, the glacier river was frozen solid. Ice climbers heading to the waterfall trekked on below us.
To my left, one of our guests slipped through a wooden guard rail and started down a steep slope to the river. My love for adrenaline kicked in and I ditched everything but my camera before following his lead.
I half-slid, half-walked down the slope before jumping off a ledge and onto the frozen river.
It was the weirdest thing to walk on. The rapids had froze bumps into the ice making walking uneven in places and the warm weather had melted certain spots into a blue slush. It wasn't all that slippery either like I thought it would be.
I got some really cool pictures on that river and generally just enjoyed being at the bottom of the chasm looking up rather than the other way around.
I just wish that I could have had more time down there so that I could take more time composing my shots and explore for longer.

After climbing back up to the path he continued down the mountain where we were lead to a trickling waterfall.
Group photos were a must but apparently I missed out while I was finding the best angle to get the shot that was imagined in my head—I have it posted below.

Even further down, the mountain, things were melting like crazy. The river was now a glassy, crystal clear stream. The sky reflected off the mirror-like surface. If I hadn't known better, I may have walked right out onto it.

More Pictures I Took That Day

Me (middle) with two of our guests

So there's a look at some of my photography and I guess a little bit into the adventures I have while taking photos. It's interesting because while I was going, there was part of me that was annoyed that I brought a camera in there first place. All I wanted to do was experience it and not feel rushed. But looking back at the shots I got, I'm more than glad that I had the camera. If I didn't have it, I couldn't re-experience it all. 
Hindsight really is 20/20.


  1. This is fantastic! The shot of the river is gorgeous. Glad you had fun :)

    1. Thank you, that's one of my favourites XD