Climb - Ben Tibbetts Photography


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Valentine Mly Fabre throwing the ropes to rappel off the Dent de Geant - after climbing the esoteric North Ridge. France/Italy

​Curiously, having spent ten years in the Alps, ​I hadn't climbed the Dent du Géant before, but didn't have much interest in the ​crowded 'normal route'. It was mid August in a very busy summer of climbing and guiding so I was looking for something quiet. I had heard about an esoteric and rarely climbed route on the north ridge of the Dent so ​snuck round and​ climbed that​ - a wild and interesting route on excellent granite​. As usual I was carrying a chunky full frame camera, but unusually I had decided to bring obscenely heavy 14mm ultra wide angle lens as I thought it might help photographing the steep and narrow ridge, which ​thankfully ​it did. The day was ​calm ​clear, but the climb took quite a while, especially taking photos, and we arrived at the summit in the mid afternoon​ as clouds were starting to build behind us​. This photo is at the start of the steep abseils down the east face. I don't normally go for 'classic' shots like throwing the abseil ropes, but I was scrambling towards Valentine when I noticed how the Mont Blanc range was laid out behind her. When I took the shot I barely registered that it might be anything more than a shot to fill in the narrative of the climb, especially as we were already in the shade. It wasn't prepared or posed in any way, and I guess that's why it remain quite fresh despite the well used 'motif'. The following day Valentine and I climbed the classic "Diables Ridge" on Mont Blanc du Tacul which provided a mass more shots for the book and I came back from two days with several thousand images to process.

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