The cold way up

“Climbing ancient glacial ice under the stars is one thing, but to have the aurora dance over our heads at the same time was unbelievable,” photographer Paul Zizka says of this shot he took of climber Raf Andronowski and belayer Jeff Thom. The two were ice climbing under the aurora borealis on the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada. “I arranged to meet at the cave with Andronowski and Thom, but arrived quite a bit before they did,” Zizka says. “While I was there alone the sky exploded. I crossed my fingers to have the show go on until the arrival of the climbers, and more importantly, I proceeded to scout out different compositions so that we could proceed efficiently once they arrived.”

Zizka’s preparation paid off. Once his friends arrived, he told them where to go to get the best image. “I’ve worked with these skilled climbers before, so they know what they need to do and are very good at holding still,” he says. “The climbing itself was also extremely challenging. Both climbers are very experienced and commented that the severely overhanging, extremely brittle ice afforded some of the hardest climbing they had ever done.”
Reblogged from National Geographic

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