L-R; Daniel, Ben, Dave, Will.
I need to chose my words carefully as this was not my adventure, I was just freelancing on camera, as was Christain Pondella, the stills photographer. So let's just say simply that this was truly the most crazy, ridiculous, stupid, brilliant, totally bad ass piece of climbing I have ever witnessed. Or as us understated Brits would say, 'rather interesting'.
Ice climbing has hitherto been a quite logically a 'terrainian' activity, by that I mean 'above ground', as your would expect.
Dave Brown jugging into position to film, 150m underground.
But last month, Canada's Will Gadd and Sweden's Andreas Spaak took the sport into seriously 'sub-terrainian' territory. Film crew and photographer followed.
I teamed up to shoot camera with British camaraman Ben Pritchard (well known for Slackjaw climbing films as well as many TV credits). Also onboard was Christian Pondella, a well respected US outdoor/adventure photographer.
Condensation on lenses is a major problem in this environment. Warming the camera up against a 400 watt studio light for 10 minutes sorted it out nicely. Will Gadd and Dave Brown.
At this stage I can't tell you what happened. Sorry, but I'm sure you understand... It will hit the TV, mainstream press and climbing press over the next few months. All that I can say is that we shot a hard-core climbing movie in the most unbelievable fantasy land, like some holywood sci-fi film-set---
--- Only that on one day Ben and Christian were nearly wiped out by a cutain of ice falling from 100m directly above them. At the time I was filming the climbers as they explored deep underground and I was feeling totally elated. Then the ice came down on the guys and I felt rather stupid at my elation.Tonnes of ice exploded in every direction. Quite miraculously they survived. This beautiful place was suddenly very serious. It was truly sobering.
Dave Brown starting the 150m ab at the second ice mine. A long way back up.
Thankfully it all ended well, a cracking film in the can, and for me just a few days back in the UK before heading back out to Sweden, this time to climb on sun-kissed granite boulders!