the dan milner photography blog: tales of an adventuring photo chimp

May 20, 2011

Ramp it up: Braving the Arctic with Jones and Haakonsen.

Filed under: photography, snow — Tags: , , , , , — danmilner @ 9:36 am

Escalation is a word normally associated with daily headlines of armed conflict and suspect foreign policy intervention. But having just returned from my annual big mountain adventure session with Jeremy Jones, I thought it time to re-address the balance.

Our talented polar guide Giggi moved from mountainous Austria for this. Has anyone got a problem with that? Following the Jones' line. Nikon D3s/70-200 2.8VRII

We’ve just come back from Svalbard, an island among the Spitzbergen archipelago (I’ve been waiting years to justifiably drop that word), isolated in the artic ocean a thousand miles north of the top of Norway and a mere 700 from the North Pole. It doesn’t get a lot more remote than that.  Three weeks of 24/7 daylight living an insomniac’s dream we pushed out to the north of the island, 78-degrees North, and set a base camp for 15 days to shoot some of the most insane couloirs I’ve ever seen, let alone tilted a lens towards. Within a day or so Svalbard had been renamed “Gnarl-bard”.  But that’s the Americans for you.

Jones 'aving it. Nowt more to be said. Nikon D3s/ 70-200 2.8 VRII

The trip is a part of Jones’ new 2-year TGR film project, entitled “Further”, due for release autumn 2012.

While borrowing the adventure-orientated splitboarding and glacial-camping habits sculpted from the recent Deeper project, Further is more than a sequel to Deeper, with a different backstory and focus. It’s an escalation, driven home this last month by our remote session in the some of the world’s most back-of-beyond backcountry imaginable. Think: extremes of weather, sea-ice locked fjords, polar bears, tents, serious ice-axe-and-crampon climbs and all this after a mere 17-hour snowmobile mission to get in to the zone. Once there we were left to our own devices, 8 beard-growing men sleeping out on a big Arctic glacier.

For me it was chance to shoot with one of the last legendary riders left ‘unticked’ on my ‘to have’ list (hey, I like to think of these sessions as notches in my bedpost), and to say that working with Terje was a pleasure is a little of an understatement.

And Jones? Well, he’s Jones: still awash with unbridled energy and passion for riding new steep terrain and getting to the top of it on foot. Let’s just say that being surrounded by incredibly steep, 2500ft (800m) chutes and ‘ramps’ with 24 hours of light at our disposal accompanied by rabidly excitable Jones on a splitboard doesn’t make for a regular sleep pattern.

No place for flip-flops. TGR filmer-cum-extreme footwear specialist, Chris Edmands laughs in the face of frostbite, having had the airline lose his luggage and leave him ill-prepared for the polar region camp out ahead. Nikon D3s/24-70 2.8.

The story from this trip will appear in Transworld Snowboarding, White Lines, MBM and several other titles next winter. Watch this space.


1 Comment »

  1. Looking forward to seeing some more of the results! sounds like one hell of an adventure!

    Comment by tomakass — August 4, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

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