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  • Ice climbing

    Videographer Mike Call shooting 2012 Ouray Ice Festival Champion Emily Harrington on a mixed rock-and-ice route in Colorado's Rifle Canyon.

  • Ice pillar

    Emily hangs for a moment on her arms, relaxing before she moves from the rock to the free-hanging ice pillar that leads to the top of the wall.

  • Icycles

    This shot is all about composition—like a Pollack canvas. Yes, it's ice with nice texture, but everything comes down to how the picture is framed and exposed.

  • The Fang

    Emily leading her way up the classic route "Rigid Designator." Behind the belayer is a mound of ice called "The Fang." In some winters, the ice connects to the cliff above, forming a free-standing—and climbable—pillar more than 120-feet tall.

  • Rigging

    A behind-the-scenes look of how the previous frame was shot. My second camera (seen in the foreground) is clamped to a rock shard and shooting time-lapse footage of her ascent. It’s also clipped to a rope so if the rock shard fails the camera doesn't fall to the ground.

  • Emily Harrington

    Emily Harrington at the end of the day

  • Conrad Anker

    The following sequence shows the first ascent of “Inglorious Bastards," an M12+ route in Hyalite Canyon, Montana, by Sam Elias. Conrad Anker, who belayed Elias, is seen here assessing the ice.

  • Sam Elias

    To climb from the ice pillar in the back of the cave to the frozen waterfall at its lip, Elias will have to climb 30-feet of exposed rock ceiling.

  • Figure-four

    This maneuver is called a "figure-four."

  • Ice climbing

    Near the lip of the cave, Sam lunges toward the ice. He snags his pick, cuts everything behind him loose, and swings toward the hanging ice. Once he's on the ice, the relative difficulty eases up.

  • Ice climbing

    Now it's a matter of staying calm...

  • Ice climbing

    ...and enjoying the perfect ice to the top.

  • Conrad Anker, Sam Elias

    At the end of the day it's all about enjoying the simple things. Conrad and Sam brew up.

  • Start over
    Next Up: Paragliding in the Himalayas

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