2014 Recap // 12/29/2014

Photographers take thousands of images throughout the year. Most images will never see the printing machines or even the computer screens. Every photographer has his or her favorite images throughout the year. The backstory often carries significant weight in meaningful moments for me. Below are some of my personal favorite images from this past year including a snip it of why. Happy New Year ya’ll.


1. Artesonraju, Cordillera Blanca Peru – Dreams and aspirations of climbing and skiing this beast were implanted in me early on. This past May Forrest Coots and I found ourselves in position to give it a go. We gave it 2 attempts as finicky weather during our stay in the Paron valley thwarted our attempt. We came within 800ft of the summit. A surreal experience to have dreamt of this opportunity for so long and to have found ourselves skiing a significant part of the SE face. We were pleased.


2. Conrad Anker, Hyalite Canyon Montana – Over the past 2 years I have been fortunate to climb with Conrad. His mentorship and pure stoke for the mountains as well as life is contagious. During this time he has taught me more about climbing and more importantly about life, than I am sure he realizes. The Nutcracker was a project he and Kris Erickson envisioned in order to pay tribute to their dear friend Alex Lowe. The project eventually took 2 years to complete. The third pitch, the crux, was the last pitch to go down. Conrad and I have been up to the Nutcracker at least once month since July this year, working this pitch. This was a pretty special moment. Kris happened to be in town at the right time and it was fitting to have joined Kris and Conrad, as this was their project. Conrad was determined to fire this crux pitch. The weather was actually descent as Conrad started up the pitch. Mother nature gave all she could with a last gasp to thwart the send. This is Conrad after clipping into the anchors releasing emotions that could easily be heard across all of Hyalite Canyon. Passion. Effort. Determination.

Micheal Gardner skis off of Twin Falls left, traditionally a ice

3. Michael Gardner is the most humble skier and climber I have ever met.  His ski ability and mountain savvy is so far above his years. He will never brag. His smile and joy to be skiing in any condition is absolutely contagious. He has become a dear friend. When we ski together, it is to simply go skiing. To live in the moment and love the life we live. He was voted one of the top 20 skiers in the world under the age of 18 in 2009 by Powder Magazine. Understanding what he wanted, he chose humility and stiffed armed the onslaught of the corporate craze at 18 years old. I admire that. I captured this shot with my point and shoot of Gardner sending “Twin Falls” left a popular ice climb in Hyalite Canyon. He is calculated and talented with a smile bigger than a fat kid at an ice cream buffet. I am always left inspired and humbled after any day in the mountains with Gardner. I submitted this image to a few publications none of which even flinched. Probably because he wasn’t looking the look with his ball cap strapped to his backpack. But he said thats the way Coombs would have done it. Sometimes, images, I have found don’t get play if they don’t fit the mold. Gardner doesn’t fit the mold, thats what makes Gardner, Gardner. Special. P.S. he stayed on his feet the whole time.

Climbing Mt Cowen, Montana

4. Noah Ronczkowski. This was the day before my 34th birthday this past September. I had been wanting to climb a classic route on Mt Cowen called the Centennial route. The timing or weather never lined up for the past couple of years. The stars aligned and Noah and I were able to climb the route in 18 hrs Bozeman to Bozeman. One of those special days in the mountains, with a great friend. Engrained in my memory for ever.  Thanks buddy.

Anne Gilbert Chase climbing Cleopatras Needle in Hyalite Canyon Montana.

5. Anne Gilbert Chase, Cleopatras Needle, Hyalite Canyon, Montana. Anne Gilbert is my partner. She sends. This was our first “real” time shooting a climb. Up until this it had been me taking pictures as I was belaying her, which is cool. But I remember framing up shots as she was climbing Cleos, thinking, ‘damn, yeah babe!’ Super proud and stoked. Its been super cool to witness her progression in climbing as well as her growth as an individual over the past 5 years, her determination, passion and focus to achieve her goals is inspiring. Yeah babe!


6. Bridger Bowl, Community Ski Area, Montana. Last season was a banner year. I could show a bunch of powder shots but, to me, this encompasses the magic of what Bridger is. The vibe is heavy.


7.Tyler Jones, La Grave France. Tyler and I met in 2005 when I began mountain guiding. We instantly became friends. His maturity in the mountains as well as his craft as a mountain guide has developed immensely over the past decade. Its been a real treat to witness. His technical skiing ability is also top drawer. Most of what I know or what I reference is because of Tyler.


8. Whit Magro. Over the past several years Whit and I have spent some time in the mountains. His motivation to achieve his goals and push the standards is breathtaking. What you often see or hear about Whit is his achievements in the mountains. What you don’t see or hear is his dedication to his family or operating a very successful metal fabrication small business in Bozeman with his long time amigo Pat Wolfe. I am always inspired by Whit’s mountain savvy and his dedication to his family as we continue to forge a friendship. He makes everyone around him want to try harder and do better. His passion is contagious.

Forrest Coots traveling through France skiing La Grave and Chamonix.

9. Forrest Coots, Chamonix France. Some images just don’t see the printing machines. I’ve always enjoyed this image. As a photographer, it can be dangerous to become emotionally attached to an image. I try not to…

Forrest Coots traveling through France skiing La Grave and Chamonix.

10. La Grave, France. If your a skier, you know who Doug Coombs is, if not google him. He’s legend. Arguably, he progressed the ski/ski mountaineering discipline of any American to date. Greg Collins writes a “DC” with a smily mouth in the fresh snow when the stoke is high, all skiers should use it. Lots of snow art this season folks!

Forrest Coots traveling through France skiing La Grave and Chamonix.

11. Forrest Coots, France. Personally, I ski and climb around the world in order to check out other cultures and visit new countries. The amount of traveling can be taxing but the skiing and climbing is always rewarding. There is something pretty special about traveling around the world hauling a bunch of luggage witnessing other cultures and meeting new people along the way. Mountains inspire a common bond between individuals.

Forrest Coots traveling through France skiing La Grave and Chamonix.

12. La Grave France. Death comes to all of us at some point. The mountains provide so much to us but they also take so much from us. This past year has been highlighted by friends leaving us. Live your life with intent. Make the most of every day. Be intentional with those you surround yourself with. Be kind to strangers. Show love to everyone. The world needs more love. “Love the life you live. Live the life you love.” – Bob Marley


13. Liz Daley and Caroline Gleich, Tordrillo Range, Alaska. September 30th 2014 sucked. Our friend Liz passed away that day. I had only recently met Liz in Chamonix earlier that winter along with her partner Dave. We spent some really fun powder skiing days together. On a whim, I was invited on a trip to Alaska that included Liz last April. I will never forget her first ever line she ripped in AK, I barely kept her in frame. I will never forget her smile, her laugh, her pure stoke for the mountains and energy she brought. We all miss you friend. #livelikeliz


14. Michael Gardner and I exploring in Hyalite Canyon Montana. For as many amazing places I’ve been able to visit around the globe. My backyard kicks ass. The friends, the community, the stoke is all time. Another one of those special days in the mountains with a good friend. This is why we do what we do right? Spending time forging relationships in the mountains.

Leavenworth Ski Hill

15. Andrew Dombroski, Leavenworth Community Ski Hill, Washington. I participated in my first ever photography competition last year in the “Leavenworth Framed” – It was a hoot. The snow in the PNW last winter was not all that great, especially during the competition. It didn’t matter. Our crew had fun. Thats what its all about anyway. My friend Garrett told me to check out the Leavenworth community town ski hill. For me, this image sums up what our idea of skiing will become if we continue down our path of carbon dependancy.

Traveling and skiing in Peru outside of Huaraz in the Cordillera Blanca.

16. Forrest Coots, Artesonraju, Peru – One of the coolest places I have been, so far. Dreams can and do come true.

Anne Gilbert Chase and Kate Rutherford on a climbing trip to Mt Hooker in the Wind River range of Wyoming.

17. Kate Rutherford and Anne Gilbert Chase, Summit of Mt Hooker, Wind River Range, Wyoming. It was a joy to accompany these two gals on a summer trip into the Winds. They were able to nab the second free ascent of the 19 pitch Jaded Lady (VI 5.12a) in a day. Whit Magro and Josh Wharton had the first free ascent the season previous on this historic 1964 original route up Hooker.

This new year, shine your love into the world. Love the life you live. Love people. No matter who they are. You will benefit.

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