Upcoming Photo Shoots: Remote Climbs

THURSDAY, June 26, 2014 – We are arranging photo shoots of the routes listed below for Classic Adirondack Climbs. We welcome your participation if you are interested in climbing for our cameras on any of these routes. Contact us for more information.

Roger's Rock on a perfect summer's day

Roger’s Rock on a perfect summer’s day

ROGER’S ROCK – We would like to photograph two parties (two climbers in each party) climbing simultaneously on Parallel Dreams, 5.8 G (5.4 X) and Bill to Still Bill, 5.8 PG.

DIX NORTHERN CIRQUE SLIDES – We would like to photograph two or three people climbing unroped on these 3rd/4th Class slides in one long day.

Overnight Required for WALLFACE (2-3 days) – We would like to photograph while climbing nearby a leader and second on The Diagonal, 5.8 G. We would also like to shoot climbers on the first pitch of No Man’s A Pilot, 5.9 G at the same time. If there was a party willing to climb the Case Route, 5.5 G the day before or after that would be even better. We’d like to get all three routes in one trip if possible and we can be flexible to that end. Falcon closures may impact scheduling.

Upcoming Photo Shoots: Roadside Climbs

WEDNESDAY, June 25, 2014 – We have photos for the following roadside routes in our collection but, for one reason or another, they are not quite what we want. We are committed to reshooting these routes and welcome your participation if you are interested in climbing for our cameras. Just let us know which climbs are of interest and we’ll take it from there.

Right Notion

R.L. Stolz leans out to get the best angle on Right Notion

WASHBOWL CLIFF – We would like to shoot a leader and second climbing the Weissner Route, 5.6 G. This will be a fully rigged shoot taking about half a day. We would also like to shoot a leader and second climbing Butterflies Are Free to Partition, 5.9- G. This will also be a fully rigged shoot taking about half a day. Falcon closures may impact scheduling.

BEER WALLS – We would like to shoot a leader and second climbing Pegasus, 5.9 R and Lichenbrau, 5.7 PG. This will be a fully rigged shoot with some complicated shots taking about half a day. We would also like to shoot a party climbing Frosted Mug, 5.9 G (5.7 R). This shoot will take a few hours.

KING WALL – We would like to shoot a leader and second climbing Prince (King of Guides), 5.7 G. This will be a fully rigged shoot taking most of a day. We’d prefer to shoot this in fall colors if possible.

PITCHOFF CHIMNEY CLIFF – We would like to photograph a leader and second climbing the second and third pitches of The El, 5.8 G. We have some wild shots planned for this route and it will take most of a day. Better for tortoises than for hares!

HURRICANE CRAG – We would like to photograph a leader and second climbing the chimney pitch of the Old Route, 5.3 G and the second pitch of the New Route, 5.5 G. Time permitting, we’d also like to shoot Spring Equinox, 5.8 G. This will be a fully rigged shoot taking most of a day.

DEADWATER – We would like to shoot a leader and second climbing The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, 5.8 G and Geronimo, 5.8 G. This will be a fully rigged shoot taking about half a day.

POKE-O MOONSHINE MAIN FACE – We would like to photograph two parties (two climbers in each party) climbing simultaneously on Sunburst Arete, 5.8 PG and Paralysis, 5.8 PG. This will be a fully rigged shoot taking most of a day. On a separate day we would like to shoot a leader and second climbing Gamesmanship, 5.8+ G (5.2 R). This will be a fully rigged shoot taking most of a day. At another time we would like to shoot a leader and second climbing FM, 5.7+ R. This will be a fully rigged shoot taking most of a day. Falcon closures may impact scheduling.

Big Air Above Chapel Pass

Big air above Chapel PassMONDAY,  June 16, 2014 – This photo was taken during a photo shoot early last fall. Don Mellor, prominent local climber and guidebook author is shown leading the very exposed top pitch of Overture on the Washbowl Cliff in Chapel Pass. This popular climb is undoubtedly an Adirondack classic.

Don and R.L. were on the first ascent of this pitch of Overture together, and each has climbed it many times since. This pitch of the climb is known for its extreme ‘airiness’ and it is a popular photographic subject as well as a fabulous climb. Although we have published photos of this pitch in the past they never quite met our expectations. For this shoot, we wanted to really emphasize the ‘big air’ feel. The day before the shoot we rigged several ropes so we could rappel into positions that maximized the exposure and the views. After meeting Don and his belayer, Alex, at the base and shooting the first pitch, we scrambled up to the top of the cliff. R.L. dangled out over the edge of a massive overhang while Karen shot a different angle from above. We featured this photo on the spring post card for Alpine Adventures, our instruction and guide service.

We are preparing our shooting plans for the summer and fall and we’ll post details by the end of this week. Are you interested in climbing for our cameras? Contact us for information about when and where we will be photographing, and follow this blog for updates.

Bug Break

SUNDAY,  June 15, 2014 – Since our previous  blog entry (last March!) we have been very busy. A flurry of late season ice climbing was followed immediately by R.L. guiding three weeks of ski mountaineering in the French Alps. The great weather and snow conditions made this a trip to remember. Not that France is ever easy to forget…

Upon returning from Europe in late April, mud season was in full swing so we focused on office tasks. For the past month or so we have spent long hours in front of the computer, sorting and paring down photos for Classic Adirondack Climbs. Although our collection includes photos of all the routes in the book, our recent efforts have yielded much better photos than attempts from years past. As a result, after careful consideration, we have decided to reshoot many of the climbs. This will push our planned publication schedule back a bit but we think it will be worth it. We’ll be posting our summer/fall shooting plans soon and we welcome your participation if you wish to climb for our cameras.

As you probably know, mud season is followed by black fly season in the Adirondacks. On a beautiful, breezy, day in May, rather than remain office-bound, we hiked to the summit of Mt. Van Hoevenburg with our cameras. We were particularly taken with the cloud formations that day, along with the light green color of the newly-opened leaves on the maples, birches and beeches.

Bugs on Mt Van Ho

Black Fly Vista

When the wind abated the bugs were horrific. They especially bothered our dog, Terra, who dug a hole and buried her head in it to keep them at bay! In the photo above, shot in calm conditions, we count 18  black flies visible in the frame. Removing them in post-processing would certainly not tell the story as it was.

Although rock climbing during black fly season, in windy locations, can be enjoyable, photographing climbers at this time of year is a low-odds endeavor. Now that the mud and bugs are mostly gone we are ready to be out shooting climbs and climbers once again.

Chasing Light On Crystal Ice Tower

Sabrina Hague leading Crystal Ice Tower

Sabrina Hague leading Crystal Ice Tower, Rhonda McGovern belaying

FRIDAY, March 21, 2014 – Crystal Ice Tower to White Line Fever is a deservedly popular ice climb, just a short walk across Chapel Pond from the parking area. For many climbers the first pitch provides a first-taste of WI4 climbing and stellar views await those who continue on with the easier second pitch. Beyond the second pitch the climb forms less reliably, but when it is in good shape it is a great adventure. On Friday, March 15, R.L. and Karen Stolz rigged the climb for an early morning shoot with Sabrina Hague and Rhonda McGovern the following day. This climb is ideal for our big horizontal boom and two feet of fresh snow made the rigging job much more interesting.

With all the new snow, a somewhat questionable weather forecast and climbers we had not yet actually met we went to bed with some uncertainty. Early the following morning, after considerable effort unsticking the rope we left to expedite getting up the climb, we arrived on top with all our gear ready to go. The sky was overcast and dull – not what we hoped for. Sabrina had not climbed the route before and was not overly confident. After about ten feet of climbing it was clear the route was well within her ability and from that point on she cruised it. A bit more than half-way up we had her stop so we could switch from handheld cameras to our remote boom-mounted camera. This process is never speedy but we ran into a couple of glitches that required extra time to sort out. Hanging out on steep ice for 15 minutes is hard work but she never uttered a complaint. Finally, everything settled down and she was able to continue leading, making it all look very easy. Then, unexpectedly, the sun peaked out from behind the clouds and delivered the light we always hope for but rarely see. After lots more pausing for photos Sabrina was glad to be at the top and Rhonda followed her lead easily. Unfortunately, the light was not as spectacular when Rhonda was climbing but it was, nonetheless, one of our favorite shoots for the winter.

Rhonda touching down after a great climb

Rhonda touching down after a great climb

Ice climbing photography, like all photography, requires great light and great subjects along with the right equipment and knowledge to make it all come together into a successful image. Doing all this while hanging from the side of an ice wall in frigid temperatures is particularly challenging, especially in the Adirondacks where weather and conditions can be brutal. What fun!

Welcome To The Forbidden Wall


Tom leading the second pitch for R.L.’s camera

FRIDAY, March 21, 2014 – Don’t let the name put you off, The Forbidden Wall is, in fact, one of Poko’s more welcoming ice climbs. It is the easiest full-length route at Poko that forms reliably yet it receives very little traffic. In a good ice year there are many variations to this 3-pitch route and its icicle cave belay is not to be missed. Remember, this route, like all Poko’s major climbs, gets a lot of morning sun which can delaminate the ice, making it very dangerous. Use extra caution here.

On Friday, March 7th R.L. Stolz rigged the climb for a photo shoot the following day with long-time local climbers Tom DuBois and Dan Plumley. We often rig climbs in advance so we can start shooting photos as soon as climbers are ready. Ice climbing is cold enough without standing around waiting for a photographer!

Dan arriving at the icicle cave

Dan arriving at the icicle cave

We arrived early to catch the morning light. R.L. and Karen were positioned at the top of the cliff, each on their own rope. The ice was surprisingly brittle for so late in the season but Tom led each pitch quickly and easily. Tom is one of a handful of prolific first ascensionists willing to wander far from the road to explore new routes, but this was his first time on The Forbidden Wall. Likewise for Dan. With more than 50 years of Adirondack ice climbing between them, it was nice to be able to photograph these guys having fun on their first trip up this wonderful climb.

R.L.’s 300th Ascent Of Roaring Brook Falls


Marnie Phillips preparing to celebrate atop Roaring Brook Falls

FRIDAY, March 21, 2014 – On Thursday, March 6, R.L. completed his 300th ice climb of Roaring Brook Falls with Marnie Phillips. This was Marnie’s first time leading the route so the champagne celebration on top served to commemorate two milestones. Turns out you can open cheap bubbly with an ice tool quite easily – check out the video!

While 300 times up any climb is a lot, over the course of 30 years that only amounts to climbing it ten times a season on average. As ice climbs go, there are few more enjoyable than this one. The spectacular setting, ever-changing ice, and frequent sunshine make it a true classic by nearly any measure and it should be on every Adirondack ice climber’s list. It’s not a bad rock climb either, but that’s another story.

Thin Ice On Tahawus

DP Tahawus

Dan Plumley contemplating thin ice on the headwall of Tahawus

THURSDAY, February 27, 2014 – Last Saturday was a delightfully warm winter day.  We decided it was time to photograph Tahawus, one of the alternative routes in Classic Adirondack ClimbsDan Plumley, a long-time local, agreed to join us.  After post-holing up Chapel Pond Gully through deep snow to reach the base of the climb, we found ice conditions to be thinner than expected. In typical conditions, the steep headwall at the base of the route can be climbed on its right side, via a short pillar. In leaner conditions one is forced to tiptoe up and left across a ramp to reach thicker ice above. Once over the headwall the climb is a casual romp with great views of Chapel Pass.

Despite conditions, Dan wanted to give it a shot on the sharp end. Several tied-off screws in the thin ice provided little in the way of protection but Dan persevered. We got the photos we came for and, at the top of the headwall, we all agreed it was time to head for the sunshine and fat ice on Roaring Brook Falls.

Multiplication Gully Photo Shoot

PN Multi

Phil Nathan nearing the top of Multiplication Gully

THURSDAY, February 27, 2014 – Last Thursday, Karen Stolz and Phil Nathan climbed Multiplication Gully, located in a deep cleft on High Falls Crag in Wilmington Notch. The climb was fat and soft as it often is toward the end of the season. R.L. Stolz took the hard way, breaking trail up the steep walk-off in deep snow while lugging cameras, ropes and assorted other gear. Once he was on top, a short rap led to a tiny perch overlooking the second pitch. From this vantage point he was able to photograph most of the upper climb.

One of the more popular ice climbs in its grade range, this route was an obvious choice for inclusion in Classic Adirondack Climbs. Parties ahead of and behind us had traveled long distances to sample the great ice the Adirondacks are known for. Answering their many inquiries about route suggestions reminded us why we embarked on this book project.

Vertical Perspectives Mountain Photography

TUESDAY, February 18, 2014 – You may be wondering about the Vertical Perspectives watermark on the photos posted on this site. We have been shooting climbing photos personally, and through Alpine Adventures, Inc., for more than 35 years and we have had photos published in a variety of contexts during that time. Our photos have been published in books, catalogs, posters, magazines and other media, and have served to illustrate the climbing and skiing programs we offer through Alpine Adventures, Inc..  Many of our other mountain photos, especially ones from trips abroad, appear only in privately published books.

When we decided to write Classic Adirondack Climbs last year, we also decided to dedicate more of our energy to mountain photography. Vertical Perspectives unites all of our photographic activities under a single brand, and will distinguish all of our work as we move forward with a variety of photographic projects. While climbing photography continues to be the focus of our efforts, we are shooting landscapes and other subjects as well. A dedicated Vertical Perspectives web site is under construction and will be launched in the near future.

Evening fog over Lower Cascade Lake

Evening fog over Lower Cascade Lake