Johnston Canyon Ice Climbing - Matt Snell Photography

On a snowy and chilly February night myself and two friends, Phil and Cedric adventured into Johnston Canyon to photograph a session of Ice Climbing. 

Johnston Canyon is a gorgeous spot that is popular with both tourists and local ice climbers. It wouldn't be that unusual to find yourself waiting to climb a route here, but by night we had it all to ourselves to enjoy. 

After a nice headlamp lit hike through the canyon we arrived at the climbing area and it looked incredible! The guys began sorting their gear as I started to eye up the routes and compositions that I wanted to photograph. It wasn't too difficult for  ideas to pop into my head and I soon after began lighting the scene and getting set up to capture some climbing. The ice lit with flashlight and headlamps was just amazing as the blue colours really popped out. 

Phil and Cedric both took turns climbing two routes. I photographed their climbs up and the rappels down. When they approached a part of the route that worked well as a composition I would radio up (the water was quite loud to just yell) and have them hold a climbing/rappelling pose while I captured my image. We did this for a few hours as I tried different angles and it was a great session. Here's my favourite shots from the night out. Enjoy!

  • Cedric on belay as Phil rappels down from Prism Falls.

    Cedric on belay as Phil rappels down from Prism Falls.

  • Cedric starts up Prism Falls while Phil belays.

    Cedric starts up Prism Falls while Phil belays.

  • Phil takes his turn climbing up Prism Falls. I had to tie myself in order to safely capture this perspective from above.

    Phil takes his turn climbing up Prism Falls. I had to tie myself in order to safely capture this perspective from above.

  • Shot from behind the curtains of ice, Phil climbs the main pillar.

    Shot from behind the curtains of ice, Phil climbs the main pillar.

  • Phil climbs main pillar of ice on Curtain Wall.

    Phil climbs main pillar of ice on Curtain Wall.

  • Rappelling the main pillar, shot from behind the curtains of ice.

    Rappelling the main pillar, shot from behind the curtains of ice.

  • Cedric begins his route up the main pillar of Curtain Wall.

    Cedric begins his route up the main pillar of Curtain Wall.

  • The vertical climb begins for Cedric on the main pillar of ice.

    The vertical climb begins for Cedric on the main pillar of ice.

  • The final rappel down to end a wonderful night in the canyon.

    The final rappel down to end a wonderful night in the canyon.

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