Into the Mountains

Originally posted on March 23, 2016

Earlier this winter, I flew to Chamonix, France to meet up with the rest of my family for an extended ski trip. Since I was 13 years old, my parents have been taking my siblings and me to this beautiful spot nearly every year for climbing, hiking, running, and ski touring trips. I’d like to say that I’m well traveled, but I can’t since the only place I travel to is Chamonix. That’s nothing to complain about though. It’s nice to fly halfway around the world and feel familiar and comfortable in a foreign country.

01ChardonnayFog_01.jpg

I found it really tough to leave Boulder though. My mind and body were beginning to settle again, plus the weather was turning warmer and I was getting motivated to climb harder and run longer. When I arrived in Chamonix, I found it increasingly difficult to switch my brain to ski touring. And to be honest, I don’t think I ever did. A mix of fear, anxiety, and the loss of independence made it hard to get excited every morning. However, I found that the one thing that motivated me to get back into the mountains was my camera.

Since Ethan’s accident, there was a large part of me that never wanted to touch my camera again. It felt like a selfish pursuit – how could something as trivial as photography have meaning or purpose anymore? Though in large part I think I just couldn’t bear the fact that I would be creating images that he would never see. I was scared to be a part of anything new, anything that Ethan would never be a part of.

A few months after he passed, I began to feel differently. I found that channeling my grief into photography was actually therapeutic. When you’re looking through the viewfinder, it’s hard to think about anything but the subject in front of you. But for me, it was more than just finding peace and quiet through the camera. I was able to express myself again - and not for the rest of the world - but for Ethan. 

So, I started a Photo a Day project in an effort to stay present and focused. This project has helped me be a part of this new life and continually serves as motivation to get out and get after it, if only to take a photo.  And this is what served me well upon arriving in Chamonix. On the days where all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch, my camera beckoned. And so, up into the mountains I went, feeling thankful that E got me there.

In the end, I took far more photos than were needed for the Photo a Day. I compiled some of my favorites here.