Daryl Benson has been shooting in Canada's Banff National Park ever since he launched his photography career 20 years ago. For this image, the Edmonton, Alberta, native stood on a cliff overlooking Banff 's Nigel Creek as one local climbing guide rappelled over 590-foot-high Panther Falls and another looked on from her portaledge. "The whole area above and below the falls is spectacular," says Benson. "In the summer and fall, the runoff in the creek is low enough for you to see how it carved the rock over the millennia. Photographically it's a great place because of those gorgeous rock formations."
He exposed 50-speed film at f/8 though a 200mm lens for 1/125 second.
Menno Boermans and a couple of friends were invited by two of Austria's greatest climbers, Peter Sch√§ffler and Beat Kammerlander, to brush up on their skills at a self-organized climbing clinic in Avers Valley, Switzerland. "We learned a lot of tips and tricks from Kammerlander," says Boermans, an Amsterdam-based photojournalist and mountaineering photographer. "At the end of the week we were good enough to climb this 90-degree pillar by ourselves."
Boermans summated the waterfall with just enough daylight left to shoot his friend Niels Bunte hovering above the darkening valley. He exposed 400-speed film for 1/60 second and set his 28mm lens to f/8.
Uli Wiesmeier accompanied two well-known German climbers, Stefan Glowacz and Kurt Albert, on a climbing trip to Vietnam's Ha Long Bay, where 3,000 dolomite formations rise up to 500 feet from the sea. While Glowacz scaled The Dragon Lady, a 5.12c
route, Wiesmeier soloed up the neighboring pinnacle and shot Glowacz and Albert, who was waiting below, from the top of it. "My climb was easy, but the rock was razor sharp," recalls the Murnau, Germany-based photographer (who also happens to be the 1992 Paragliding World Cup champion). "The fog was so thick that I had to wait for about 45 minutes until I could see Stefan. Not only did I have to protect my lens from the rain, but also from the blood dripping from the cuts on my arms."
Wiesmeier used a 24mm lens, an aperture of f/4, a 1/60 second shutter speed, and 50-speed film pushed one stop.
Robert Mackinlay set his tripod on a ridge overlooking advance base camp on Mount Chanadorjaa 19,547-foot peak in the Szechuan province of Chinaand started this exposure at 2:15 A.M. as four American climbers prepared for their summit bid. The exposure, which lasted four hours, captured the teammates as they searched for gear buried earlier by an avalanche and then began their ascent of the couloir. "The star streaks show the movement of the earth, and the bright lights below are the headlamps of people packing up," explains Mackinlay, photography editor for The North Face. "This photo is not just an instant in time, it's a short story."
He used a 35mm lens set at f/8 and 100-speed film.
Shortly after midnight on August 11, 2002, photographer and climber Galen Rowell, 61, his wife, Barbara, 54, and two friends were killed when their twin-engine airplane crashed on its approach to a runway in Bishop, California. Rowell was returning from a circumnavigation of the Bering Seathe type of journey he made hundreds of times during a 30-year career that saw him become one of the most prolific mountain and adventure photographers in the world. His legacy includes 40 climbing expeditions (among them a first ascent of the Great Trango Tower in 1977), 18 photography books, and countless lectures and workshops in which he shared his experience and skill.
As a mountaineer and photographer, I've always admired Rowell for his ability to distill what makes climbing important to me. Through his lens, the wilderness coalesced into an intoxicating vision of light, sky, rock, and snow. In the mountains, perfect light rarely lasts more than a few moments, and my own encounters with amazing, fleeting scenes have impressed upon me the extraordinary drive and instincts that allowed Rowell to capture with his camera what his eye discovered: mountains as majestic works of art.
The real measure of a photographer lies in the power of his images. Ansel Adams once said that Rowell would be the one person with the ability to follow in his footsteps, and I hope Rowell's vision, like Adams's, inspires the creation of new parks, the preservation of public and private lands, and new celebrations of the glory of wild places for generations to come.
Northeast ridge of Anye Machin, Tibet, 1981, Rowell was on a first ascent with Kim Schmitz and Harold Knutson when he spotted this section of windblown cornice that had turned back on itself. "I realized I could get into a perfect bird's-eye position to photograph Kim and Harold from the side," he wrote in his classic 1986 book Mountain Light. "Even though we found more spectacular views across the range, we certainly didn't encounter another situation like this one." Many of Rowell's images first appeared in Outside during a long association that stretched from the 1976 inaugural issue of Mariah (the precursor to Outside) to our June 2002 special issue on photography.
Tyler Stableford joined Outside reconnaissance agent Mark Jenkins on a recent trip to Iceland to explore its glacial cavessuch as those of the Langj√∂kull, pictured here. "Jenkins would crampon around and go, 'Oooh, that looks wild! Let's climb that!' " says the 29-year-old lensman, who lives in Carbondale, Colorado. "When he swung at the ice, it would crack in a deep, wide circle around him. I was a little nervous."
With two remote flashes, a 17-35mm lens on his digital SLR, and an ISO of 800, he shot at f/32 with an exposure time of 1/30 second.
Jody Forster climbed aboard an iceberg off the south coast of Antarctica's Anvers Island to shoot this megalith of ancient ice. "It was a real jewel, but making that image was nerve-racking," says the 57-year-old fine-art photographer, who works out of Rio Rancho, New Mexico. "These things are very dangerous, very dynamicalways flipping, rolling, and changing their centers of buoyancy. But the little ones? You can chip the most delicious ice off them. Just add Scotch; lasts forever."
With a 360mm lens on his eight-by-ten field camera, Forster exposed 100-speed film for 1/4 second at f/45.5.
At a spot near Ba√±os, Ecuador, the Chamana River spills off an unusual ledge, which allowed 38-year-old Jenni Gallagher, of San Rafael, California, to rappel into the shimmering space between the cliff and the 130-foot falls. "You have to push out and clear the ledge in one shot," says Santa Barbara-based photographer Rob Dunton, 46. "Otherwise, you swing back into it for a faceful of granite and water."
BACKSTORY: Dunton had to borrow a fellow canyoneer's point-and-shoot after his camera's battery died. Without a waterproof housing, "the most difficult part was trying to keep the lens from being spattered," he says. "It was just wipe, point, click, and hope it comes out."
THE TOOLS: Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-P51, ISO 64, f/8, 1/1,000 second, 6.3-12.6mmf/3.8 stock lens
Afternoon storms provided the darkened sky for this shot of Slovenian climber Klemen Becan, 25, on Los Humildes pa Casa, in Oliana, Spain. The 180-foot, 5.14b route is known for an unusual featurethe 50-foot, rail-like tufa column that Becan is seen contemplating. "A tufa this long and sheer is unique," says Colorado Springs-based photographer Keith Ladzinski, "and takes a mountain of endurance to climb."
BACKSTORY: Becan, one of Eastern Europe's top climbers, kept running out of steam just a few moves below the anchor and took several 50- to 60-foot falls off the tufa. "He's crazy. He would skip the last three bolts to save energy," Ladzinski says. "That makes for massive air time."After six tries, Becan finally climbed the route cleanly.
THE TOOLS: Nikon D2X, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/750 second, 80-200mmf/2.8 lens
To reach the base of the 200-foot Totem Pole, at Cape Hauy, Tasmania, Australia's Erik Carleberg (climbing), Brit Richard Pike (belaying), and American Dave Vuono (not pictured) had to rappel down the adjacent cliff, swing across the open water Indiana Jones style, and grab a one-inch-wide (wet) hold. "You had to time it right, because you didn't want to get washed over by a wave," says Carleberg. "You'd be fine, but you'd have to climb wet."
BACKSTORY: Nelson, B.C.-based photographer Steve Ogle, 34, lay down on the opposing cliff and shot the Totem using a wide-angle lens. "The climb actually wraps onto the far side, so I had to get them at the bottom," he says. "The belayer is pinned to the wall above the ocean, holding on for dear life."
THE TOOLS: Nikon D200, ISO 200, f/11, 1/125 second, 12-24mmwide-angle f/4 lens
You're seeing only the last 80 feet or so of guide Johnny Taite's 330-foot abseil to the floor of the 2.3-mile-long Lost World Cave, on New Zealand's North Island. "It feels surreal," says fellow Waitomo Adventures guide Nick Andreef. "As if you're descending into the bowels of some prehistoric beast."
BACKSTORY: In need of a distinct foreground to balance the darkness of the cave against the sunlight blasting down from above, Auckland-based photographer Chris McLennan crammed himself under a ledge. "The mossy, dripping overhang frames it up, the way the backlight is hitting it," says the 44-year-old. "It's quite close, only about a meter away."
THE TOOLS: Canon EOS 1DsMark II, 16-35mmf/2.8 lens, ISO 200, f/10, 1/2 second
Last March, during a month-long trip to the Guangxi region of China, Tim Kemple photographed sport-climbing phenom Emily Harrington hanging out on Lesser Deity, a 5.13d route up an overhanging limestone cliff outside the town of Yangshuo. Although she was ultimately unsuccessful, it was one of the first projects the 22-year-old Boulder, Colorado, climber attempted on the trip. (She later climbed a 5.14a.) "The stalactites are actually pretty decent holds," says Harrington, "but it makes it hard to figure out where you are and what else to grab on to." For Kemple, the limestone icicles were also the most striking feature photographically. "I started thinking immediately about how to frame them," says the Salt Lake City-based photographer. "I mean, where else in the world do you get to climb between all these drippy stalactites hanging around you?"
THE TOOLS: Nikon D3, 35mm f/2 lens, ISO 200, f/9, 1/320 second