My photo
Squamish/Whistler, B.C, Canada
This Blogtography is not a shameless self promotion but a way to keep in touch with folks and share my experiences of what I see and do through the eye of the lens. I feel fortunate to play a part in stoking people to get out and explore and find their own experiences no matter what they are. It really inspires me to capture a moment in time and tell a visual story. Quote- "If I only scrape a living at least it's a living worth scraping for ! " ( Dark Side Of The Lens)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014



MT AWESOME

Trip planning is an adventure in itself !
The concept comes from someone dreaming up some crazy adventure and then selling it off to some mates as a grand idea.
Epic journey's need not be to some wild far off destination. Often the best ones are close to the backyard.   
Back in the fall our crew collaborated on a plan to head off the regular path in the Yukon in search of our personal idea of what MT Awesome would look like. 
Often when I travel I seek mountain culture to round out the mountain experience. The more I travelled in Canada the more I have come to realize  there are many who's normal way of life is being close to the mountains and making a living through what it provides.
The entire crew had been to the area at one time or another and the cast of characters found at the airstrip where we would be staged and surrounding Haines Junction have many incredible stories to tell of epic missions, legendary weather and endurance in a harsh environment. True mountain culture in a good old fashioned Canadian way is found in abundance here.

 Tobin and I experienced an enduring 15 day's of "slow roasting" at the airstrip waiting for the winds to calm down enough just to access the mountains let alone climb them. Character building as they say !
https://vimeo.com/42433397

( video of Tobin, Adam Smith, Laura Ogden and Brian Fletcher on a small ridge line just above the airstrip where we had been waiting to fly.)

Jon Johnston, Tobin Seagel, Trevor Hunt and myself all come from different backgrounds with similar interests namely skiing big remote lines in unlikely places.
The idea of finding our "Mt Awesome" slowly grew wings and we started to become reasonably organized with the plan coming to fruition May 2, 2014 as we depart for Whitehorse and then Haines Junction where we will fly by ski plane to an area rarely visited by alpine climbers much less ski mountaineers.

On this trip we will embark on a 16-day ski mountaineer expedition deep in the heart of one of the worlds most remote mountain ranges, the Wrangell St Elias Mountains, on the border between the Yukon and Alaska. Here our group of 4 is in search of 1st descents and each persons idea of  “Mt Awesome.
Google earth has been a remarkable tool in narrowing down our search to an area that is variable with long ridges, steep faces, complex descents and couliors that twist off of dramatic summits.
Of course we all work super hard to make trips such as this happen.  
and with the addition of a few partners such as the Mountain Equipment Co-Ops Expedition Grant, 
Tasc Performance
 and Epic TV
http://www.epictv.com/?header_b=1 
we hope to bring the adventure community some inspiring footage.
 We will be capturing images and a 4 episode Ski mountaineer video series due out in Fall 2014.
Others who make it possible, some for me personally !
http://gopro.com
http://www.mindshiftgear.com
http://www.dpsskis.com
http://billygoattech.com
http://www.dynafit.com/en
http://ryderseyewear.com

We will be updating our trip with "Delorme Inreach" Canada

 with posts on the MEC Facebook page
 and also our social network sites.
:)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bella Coola       



Adventure and exploring is is often full of the unknown. True fulfillment and accomplishment would not be as gratifying if we knew the outcome. The mountains are clearly unpredictable and good risk management is essential if you want to keep going back to them.
Last winter I was fortunate enough to spend some time in a remarkable place many of us have seen in the Sherpa’s latest film “Into the Mind”
I was doing a story on the proposed Enbridge Pipeline with Tobin Seagel, Dave Gheriani and Penny Lafrance. We began in Kitamat and worked our way down the coast to the dramatic mountains of Bella Coola.
This small town situated deep in a Fjord off of the pacific has the potential to be impacted in the event of a tanker disaster on the coast line. We were taking the ski mountaineer perspective on the pipeline project.
Our camp spot would be on an exposed Col between “Mad Dog Spires” and “Orbit Spires”.

Our 1st night we experienced a large wind event with accumulations of snow that created an unstable snowpack. A stark contrast to our optimism on arrival of crushing lines everywhere.
We were able to explore but some of the gems were to remain on the bucket list for a future trip.

I often thought about this place and was looking forward to making another trip happen.
 The opportunity presented itself sooner than later when I heard “Reel Water Productions” 
was collaborating with RedBull on a series with the legendary skier "Chris Davenport".
I quietly mentioned that I would be interested in shooting a 2nd angle if another filmer was needed.
A few hours later I got a call to set up a meeting and discuss joining the group on the project shooting the “Ski Mountaineer” Segment.

 I was beyond stoked to be part of this project. Having spent some time in the proposed location gave me some insight into what to expect and immediately I got to work to make sure I was as prepared as possible for shooting in this dramatic landscape.

Through my photography and locations I place myself I've been super fortunate to do some product testing and utilize tools that help me bring back visuals and experiences from the journey's.
MEC initiated the Envoy Program last year and it's been incredible  sharing adventures while hopefully inspiring folks to explore.
Chris Christie "Envoy"  
As a photographer and videographer efficiency is key to getting the shot. Part of being efficient is accessing your tools easily.  I've used many packs over the years for adventure sport and each has it's strong points. In steep terrain it is intimidating and awkward to take a pack off and pull a camera out. On the flip side, a chest pack is great but often you can't see your feet which is terrifying.
I started to search around for an alternative and stumbled on a new product made by "MINDSHIFT".
Mindshift was founded by the creators of Think Tank, a well respected camera bag and accessory producer.
Mindshifts rotation 180 bags systems seemed to address many of the issues I've had with other bags so I sourced out the Rotation 180 Pro to test and review in a wild place. The Rotation system allows you to keep the bag on your back while rotating a camera block around the waist belt.. Brilliant !
A few day's later a unit arrived in the mail and preliminary dry land testing was impressive.  I've read a few reviews on the bag and  I'm confident it will allow me to run and gun in steep terrain efficiently. The bags also has many accessory options so it's easily the most versatile bag I've seen.
On return from this project I will write up a full review/explanation of use with images.
One of the most challenging difficulties in efficient movement in the mountains is energy wasting post-holing to access ski lines or climbs. Billygoat Technology has quietly been sending wild boot packs in the coast mountains. Check it !
http://vimeo.com/85467657










Once your up you gotta come down. 
DPS skis has been leading the charge in carbon skis. Low weight, well dampened with many different technologies for charging powder to steeps. I'm most often on the DPS Lotus 120 with Spoon Technology. When things go firm or difficult travel is anticipated the Wailer Pure3 99 has seen me through difficult conditions but still skis like those with bigger girth when needed.
DPS SKIS


Grabbing creative angles in unlikely positions is key to unique perspective cuts in an edit. GoPro Hero 3+ new body is ideal for the job
http://gopro.com



At times expeditions demand travelling light. Base camping is a luxury where you can bring some comforts of home and stay in one location and do smaller trips from that base. One of these luxury's is having a place to cook and meet with other teammates. I've been on a few trips where we did not carry a common area for the group to convene. Group dynamics were never as strong as when we had a place for everyone to comfortably hang out on weather day's. A sense of camaraderie and belonging is really strengthened over a good coffee or scotch.

Mountain Hardware has a few designs and we are using the "Stronghold" on this trip.
MOUNTAIN HARDWARE "STRONGHOLD"
Speaking of coffee, Bean Brackendale has fuelled  me up in the wee hours and kept me regular on many of these trips..
BeanBrackendale

Check back in a couple of weeks on the update on this adventure !
Should be some great visuals to share !
@WORK

CHRISTIE-IMAGES SLIDING IN !

Chris Christie