To the outsider, it would be easy to confuse 'Dom at work' and 'Dom at play'. Both modes might involve frolicking in the mountains somewhere, but in my downtime, I relish the opportunity to take more still photographs and limit myself to just a small camera - my trusty Sony A7iii to be precise - and an ND equipped 35mm lens. Not only does this limitation keep pack weight pleasantly low, it also forces me to frame a shot without the use of a 'lazy zoom'. A third essential benefit is that this gear doesn't waste much time that should be spent cutting loose (not literally, that would be foolish).
The goal of this little foray was the summit of Lone Pine Peak in the Western Sierra (California) via the North Ridge. My partner and the subject was my good friend Michael 'The Crow' Crocco, Red Bull veteran and a marketing magician at New Balance. A few weeks before we left on this overnighter he called and said, "Dom, take me on an adventure that takes me out of my comfort zone". That ruled out mountain biking, given he could leave me for dead on the trails. But climbing or mountaineering? Hmmm. With an exposed overnight bivi somewhere?? That's enough to get anyone mildly excited. And so it was, that after a tuna melt in Lone Pine we headed up the north ridge with whiskey, coffee, and snacks!
It's possible to climb the ridge and descend in a long day, but for someone new to climbing that kind of speed isn't fun. Anyhow, easily half the fun of climbing and the outdoors for me is sharing it with people and having time to explore, so planning for an overnighter in an atmospheric place is easily worth a little extra weight. The sleeping bag and shelter give you a comfortable sunset, a night punctuated only by the sound of the wind, the sunrise, and an opportunity to sip coffee while you enjoy the warmth creeping back into the air. It also provides the best light for photography without having to worry about wasting precious daylight for the descent. The most important rule for me however when I'm not actually 'working' is: "Don't let the shot compromise the fun". Not exactly Chinese proverb worthy, but important none-the-less.