Ice Lake

 

Last weekend my buddy Paul and I went on what seems to be our now annual backpacking trip in the Wallowas, this year trekking up to Ice Lake and the Matterhorn. 

Ice lake in the Wallowa-Whitman National forest is probably one of my favorite alpine lakes in the world. It may not be the most photogenic lake, but it where I did some of my first backpacking trips, and is the entrance to climbing the Matterhorn. The Matterhorn is the second tallest peak in the Wallowas at 9,826 feet, second only to Sacagawea which is adjacent and is only 19 feet taller. 

The view from the summit of the Matterhorn is truly spectacular, providing a true 360 degree view of the entire Eagle Cap Wilderness. We did not intend on climbing the Matterhorn on this trip, as we had anticipated that there would be too much snow lingering on the mountain.

But once we got up to the lake we ran into a group of ultra-runners who ran up to the top and were headed back to the trail head all in one day! So obviously we had to do it. 

 

The only somewhat scary section getting to Matterhorn was this section by the lake, in which if we slipped it would have resulted in a quick slide into the water.

The only somewhat scary section getting to Matterhorn was this section by the lake, in which if we slipped it would have resulted in a quick slide into the water.

At the end of our second day we ventured onto the lakeside and were treated to a trace amount of the Northern Lights. The Wallowas make a perfect place to go star watching as there is absolutely no light pollution and the high elevation makes it easy for many  

Backpacking to Ice lake and then heading up to the Matterhorn is one of the best trips you can take in the Wallowas. While the elevation gain can be a bit considering a heavy backpack, there are no incredibly steep portions and switchbacks keep the trail manageable. 

 

Climbing in Vantage

 

Last winter I drove up to Vantage, Washington to meet some friends and climb for the weekend. I'd been hoping to test out my new ascenders I had gotten to shoot while hanging on the wall. 

I rolled in the the camp a little before the other guys, so I set up some night shots of the stars moving behind one of the more popular spots, the Feathers. While I was shooting another group of climbers began climbing the formation, even though the temps were hovering around 20 degrees. 

The next morning we headed out early to catch the morning light on some climbs. I was able to convince my buddy Garret to set a fixed line for me to jumar up, as it was so cold my fingers were completely frozen. Then once I got in position he headed up a 

After getting these chilly climbs in we went back to camp to eat some food and drink lots and lots of coffee before heading out to the Sunshine Wall to spend the rest of the day climbing. The cool thing about getting to the Sunshine Wall is you have go through a small slot in the rock which is barley wider than one person. After that we spent the day climbing before heading back to Portland. 

The thing I've loved about climbing in Vantage during the winter is that you get to avoid some of the large crowds that gather during the later months in the spring when the weather is better. While it is definitely very cold during the night and early mornings, during the day the temps hung around 50 degrees, perfect for climbing.  

 

Favorite Waterfalls

 

A collection of some of my favorite waterfall photos I have shot. 

I like to mix long exposures and fast shutter speeds when I go about shooting waterfalls. The dreamy look that a long shutter creates is often favorable when shooting some waterfalls, but I feel it can be overdone. I like to use a fast shutter sometimes because I feel it captures the power of the waterfalls better, especially if there are people in the shot for scale.