Jim Harris’s eye for photos has taken him to Mongolia, the Alps, and Antarctica. He's spent plenty of time climbing, skiing, and simply exploring.
During some downtime from his life on the Perpetual Weekend (that's his Instagram, Twitter and Facebook handle) we asked him about some of our favourite shots.
Wrangell St Elias National Park, Alaska
In 2009, three friends and I spent 33 days hiking and rafting a route through Wrangell St Elias National Park. We never had any close encounters with bears, but we did see quite a few of them. This is a set of bear tracks, and my handprint above the middle track.
Chris Davenport, Antarctica
Down this face Chris Davenport is on, if you tumble, you're probably going to end up in breaking waves, which is a weird objective hazard, but makes for stunning scenery. It was a three-day, 600-mile boat ride to the Antarctic Peninsula. I'd never been out of sight of land in my life before! Anyway, I got my sea legs, and we got to Antarctica, and it's probably some of the coolest skiing I’ve ever done.
Granite Range, Wrangell St Elias National Park, Alaska
Unlike most other bush pilots, Paul Claus a mountaineer – he’s ticked a bunch of first ascents in the Wrangells, and he’s climbed in the Himalayas and throughout the world. So, he has an eye for mountains that I don’t think many other pilots have, and also an appreciation for skiers and mountaineers.
Mt. Bona, Wrangell St Elias National Park, Alaska
Andrew McLean tried to ski this peak called Mount Bona (16,421ft). We got there and it’s this totally broken-up face – 8,000 vertical feet of icefall. Pretty much all the snow had been stripped off the mountain. We skied the bottom 3,000 or 3,500ft, and it was cold, shallow snowpack on top of glacial ice. So we were there for three days, and experienced some of the coldest camping I’ve ever done.
Solveig Waterfall, Waddington Range, British Columbia
This photo is skier Solveig Waterfall skiing off of Waddington's northwest summit. It’s a crevasse-y place, lots of big glaciers. Probably one of the most weathered places in the Coast range, because it’s only about 25 miles from the salt water, so it just catches every storm that comes off the Pacific and that builds fat glaciers, and those fat glaciers make some big, deep crevasses.
Mike Curiak, Main Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho
Forrest McCarthy brainstormed this packrafting and hiking route loop we called “The River of Return", which is a play on the the river's other name "River of No Return". We covered about 150 miles that week, including 115 miles of whitewater paddling, and 35 miles of hiking. I think the big up-and-over day was about 6,000 feet of climbing out of the Main Fork – it’s the second deepest gorge in North America, and deeper than the Grand Canyon.
Neon Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
This feature is called the Golden Cathedral. There’s this weird formation where you come down to the end of the technical part of this slot canyon, you do a few rappels and some pothole swimming, and the last one is this.
Alex Stoy, Choprock Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
Choprock Canyon has a serious reputation. It’s a large catchment, so there are all these tributaries that extend for miles, and in the canyoneering world, that makes the hazard higher, because if there’s a thunderstorm five or seven miles away, it might not even be raining where you are, but the canyon can still flash flood.
Jim Holland and Alex Stoy, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
This is the Subway section of Chop Rock Canyon, named after Zion’s Subway canyon. The Grim Section is legitimately grim. That’s where people die. There are these long sections of swimming in water that's maybe 50ºF, and there are these tremendous logjams that go from underwater straight up for 30 or 40 or 50 feet. There were parts where my helmet was too wide to fit, so I had to take it off, and keep doggy paddling until it got wider.
Luc Mehl, Pico de Orizaba, Mexico
We bought these cheap bikes outside of Mexico City and pedalled three days up to 14,000ft, where there’s a refugio on the north side of Pico de Orizaba, an 18,000ft peak that’s the third-highest mountain in North America. We left the bikes at the refugio, climbed the mountain, came down, had lunch, and kept rolling. It was a 12,000ft downhill on these shitty bikes and we had to continually stop so we could replace brake pads and tighten loose spokes on the way down.
Neil Provo, East Cascades
Holden Village was a copper mine town in the East Cascades, but the mine closed around 1950, and it sat vacant for a few years before the mining company donated the entire mine and this little town below it to the church, and it’s a Lutheran retreat. A few people in town are cross-country skiers, but for the most part, people were oblivious to the ski and snowboard mountaineering options that are right above them. We stayed there for a week and went out and skied every day.
Forrest McCarthy and Gregg Treinish, Mongolia
Here, we’re skiing down 'aufeis', a German word pronounced "off-ICE". Aufeis is this phenomenon where spring water bubbles up into a cold climate, and it freezes, but water keeps flowing and finds cracks in the ice to push through and trickles down on top of the ice, and then that freezes. Since it's frozen from the bottom up, there’s zero chance you’re going to fall through.
Forrest McCarthy, Mongolia
Forrest McCarthy is checking out his sunburn two weeks into 23 days of traversing in Mongolia. We stopped at this outpost of a lodge where we had arranged for someone to bring a food resupply. I picked up this chunk of broken mirror and was checking out my cracked lips and sunburn, and set it back down and picked up my camera. As soon as I did that, Forest picked it up and was checking out his two weeks of sun and windburn.
Forrest McCarthy, Labyrinth Canyon, Utah
A huge storm had flooded parts of southern Utah a few weeks earlier, and there’s this weird phenomenon in the desert after big floods, all the churned up silt forms quicksand deposits. Not scary, but it’s a frustrating feeling to be wallowing with your shoe being sucked off your foot.
I think Forrest was pretty frustrated in this photo, like, "Put the f***ing camera away and help me." and I was like, "No, no, you got it."
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