Cascade Pass Photo Shoot

Sisters Right - Don

Don, looking characteristically casual

FRIDAY, February 14, 2014 – Don Mellor and Mike Bauman joined us for a photo shoot on Sisters Right yesterday morning. Although this is the shortest ice climb we will include in Classic Adirondack Climbs, it’s a justifiably popular route that follows a striking plumb-line for just over one hundred feet. The fact that it looms directly above the highway, beckoning every ice climber who drives through Cascade Pass, makes it all the more noteworthy. This climb belongs on every ice climber’s hit list.

Don, author of Blue Lines – An Adirondack Ice Climbing Guide, along with several editions of Climbing In The Adirondacks, regaled us with the colorful story culminating in the first ascent of this route by Bob Bushart, himself and Bill Simes in the early 1980’s. Starting with a fruitless search for a mythical climb and a startling plunge into cold water, events devolved through incontinence, musings on incest and eventually the first ascent of this climb. What a day! Don’s story reinforces the notion that most hardcore ice climbers navigate the world using a very unique compass. Lucky for us, it eventually pointed to this fine climb.

Mike, topping out

Mike, topping out

By Cascade Pass standards, the weather during the shoot was perfect; not too cold and windless. These ideal conditions allowed us to use our horizontal boom for part of the shoot. Using a remotely controlled camera with a wide angle lens, the boom positions the camera up to 20 feet out from the climb and results in a dramatic viewpoint. We have used this boom to photograph rock climbs since last summer, but winter conditions challenge the technology and the rigging, so opportunities are more limited on ice climbs. Suspending a small fortune in cameras and lenses from a pole in space is nerve-wracking and fraught with difficulties, especially when the equipment and the photographers are frozen. But, we get things dialed in better with each shoot, and the spectacular results make it worth the effort.

Two men and a boom babe!

Two men and a boom babe!

Of course, cutting edge camera gear is worthless without something to point it at. Don and Mike are both photogenic and very talented ice climbers–not to mention patient. These guys spent several hours hanging out on steep ice, waiting as we moved to capture different shots, all the while making it look effortless and fun. Thank you Don and Mike!

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