Modus Operandi

Maybe it's the ability to take a moment and look out at the scenery behind me, breathe it in, watch the sparrows fly, and the people scampering like ants below me.

Maybe it’s the ability to take a moment, breathe in the scenery behind me, watch the sparrows fly from their level, and the people scampering like ants below me.

Maybe it’s the try hard faces, the desperate smiles, and the out-of-breaths.  Maybe it’s the perfect view of the decision making in cam placements.  Maybe it’s the angle of the hand jams and body movements.  And maybe, it’s just hanging in mid-air, lens in hand, breathe captured by my lungs, and the knowledge that the only thing that would make the show before my eyes better is popcorn.  But probably, it’s all of the above.  

Meet Neil.

Meet Neil.

I met Neil last year on my Creeksgiving trip that I took to Indian Creek.  Since then, I have taken multiple trips with him, his lovely wife Shannon, and their dog Shasta.  They are a hilariously cute couple.  I love learning about people, their habits, and listening to their thoughts on life around camp fires.  For instance, Shannon cannot stand it when people take a sip of her beer and do not suck up the aftermath of their drinks that have pooled around the rim of her can.  And Neil, well, he listens to trance/house music while he hikes, climbs, and belays yet always has the ears for listening.

Shannon & Neil - this picture is from an Indian Creek trip at the beginning of the year.

Shannon & Neil – this picture is from an Indian Creek trip at the beginning of the year.

Meet Neil.  He's just starting out on Hung Like A Horse, 5.11a trad climb, in Vedauwoo, Wyoming.

Just starting out on Hung Like A Horse, 5.11a trad climb, in Vedauwoo, Wyoming.

There are certain moments, phrases, quiet defeats, little triumphs while watching someone climb that you can only see as you watch them from above.  Naturally, I jumped on the chance to photograph Neil’s climb.

Neil Leading SP

Maybe it’s watching the way in which the human body moves, how each muscle fires, tenses, and eases.

These faces.  The calculations.  The calm and steady breathing of mental strength.

These faces. The calculations. The calm and steady breathing of mental strength.

 

An awesome rest pose.

An awesome rest pose.

At this point, Neil informed me he did not have any pictures of him as he lead a route.  He smiled, he thanked me with as much breath as he could muster, and resumed his resting pose.  The conversations I have had with people in the middle of their climb never cease to entertain me.  Sometimes I think I should shush entirely, not uttering a word, and sometimes, it’s just too hard to not be a peanut gallery.

The real meat of the climb begins.

The real meat of the climb begins.

Neil beginning to jam the roof.

Neil beginning to jam the roof.

Neil Roof Piece SP

Neil Roof Almost SP

This face is the classic "Oh shit, there's offwidth ahead of me now."

This face is the classic “Oh shit, there’s offwidth ahead of me now.”

Also, as noted by a friend, this may be a text-book perfect cam placement.

Successfully over the roof.

Successfully over the roof.

O-dub.

O-dub and probably one of my favourite photographs from the bunch.

Neil Beat SP

And at the end, Neil couldn’t even bring himself to hook the anchor right in front of him.  Clearly, he needed a breather.  The dedication that climbers have for their mental strength and physical prowess continually inspires me to push myself to the next limit.

And Shannon?  Well, she lounges like a rock lizard on her down time from climbing and belaying Neil.

And Shannon? Well, she lounges like a rock lizard on her down time from climbing and belaying Neil.

She also loves her dog and gives me epic belays when I want to be held in a specific place to take pictures.  So thanks for that, Shannon. <3

She also loves her dog and gives me epic belays when I want to be held in a specific place to take pictures. So thanks for that, Shannon. ❤

 

And in the end, I take pictures because I love to, because I cannot think of anything more full filling nor rewarding.  So all the little maybes that add up to the final result are really just the quiet little gifts of life.

© /skin/ /ˈpōətrē/

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