If you’re already a mountain-climbing enthusiast, then you’ll know that each climb is different, and every summit reached tells a new story. While, for some, the experience of the journey is enough, for many others, to have a record of that unique climb to look back on is even better. As much as we’d like to, most of us can’t be out in the mountains every weekend, so having photos, videos or a journal to revisit when we’re back at home is the next best thing. If you’ve never recorded your trips before or are looking for a better way to save your memories, read on for some top tips on how to do so.
The number one way to make memories on a climb is through photos. Whether you use a smartphone, point and shoot, DSLR or even take a GoPro with you, make sure that you consider these three things: weight, practicality and fragility. You don’t want to end up making your pack twice as heavy with lots of camera gear if all you’re aiming for is a few snapshots of your trip. You also don’t want to take along expensive lenses and equipment to find that by the end of the climb, they’re soaked through and damaged.
The best thing to do is to assess what kind of photos you want at the end, and the most practical way of achieving these. A smartphone in a hard-protective case can be slipped into an accessible side pocket and will take decent images. Likewise, specialist equipment like a GoPro is mountable in any number of places on your pack or person and tends to look after itself. Pick the right gear for the job, and then it’s a case of finding those once-in-a-lifetime shots to capture.
All the options mentioned above will record video as well as photographs. And if you’re videoing your trip already, why not turn it into a vlog? It’s an excellent way to share your experience with fellow mountaineering enthusiasts and offer tips and advice on the route for those interested. People from all professions and hobbies are getting involved with vlogging these days to build up a strong connection with their fellow enthusiasts and share a broader pool of knowledge. Poker pro Jeff Gross has some great tips on getting started, which he gathered from his involvement in the trend, but applicable to anyone who is keen to get online and vlog. All you need is a camera — even a smartphone will record high-quality video footage these days — and a trip to take it.
Writing and Sketching
Depending on the weather and the difficulty level of your climb, you might want to go old school and take handwritten notes or make a few on-the-spot sketches. So, along with all the essentials, consider including a waterproof notebook and pencil when you’re packing. There are plenty of options out there that use an army-grade waterproof coating to ensure that you’ll never lose your jottings in a sudden downpour or when crossing a river, and sometimes, a personal impression of a breathtaking vista means much more than a hasty photograph. These journals are generally lightweight, flexible and easy to stuff into a corner of your pack with negligible impact on space and weight. Just remember, always use a pencil with waterproof paper rather than a pen as the ink will slip right off.
Whether you decide to photograph, video or sketch your surroundings, the critical thing is that these are your memories, recorded in the way that you prefer. You may even want to record some audio of the trip, as nothing is more evocative of the mountainside than the sound of snowmelt trickling through the rocks or feet crunching upon the scree. Each climb and mountainside are unique, and with a bank of memories to refer, you’ll always be able to revisit everyone.