For all the time I’ve spent big-wall climbing and shooting big-wall climbing in Yosemite, I’ve actually never climbed on Mt. Watkins, which, along with El Capitan and Half Dome, is one of the three biggest formations in the park.
Last summer, I got to spend some time on Mt. Watkins with a truly all-star crew! Yeti commissioned us to capture video and still content to support the release of a new product: the Yonder, Yeti’s lightest water bottle.
Beth Rodden is one of Yeti’s athletes, and more than two decades into her professional climbing career, she remains an inspiration to many. It was a true pleasure to be up high on a new granite cliff with one of my oldest and dearest friends. Beth remains one of the smoothest, most natural, and talented climbers I’ve ever seen! And the same can be said of Katie Lambert, her partner for this project as well as being a true big-wall badass herself!
I shot this video using my Nikon Z 9 with a small kit of Nikkor Z lenses, and it was the perfect lightweight set-up to capture handheld video content in this high-stakes situation, thousands of feet up a granite wall.
It was also really fun to collaborate with Christian Pondella, an immensely talented photographer and adventure partner. Christian captured a killer set of still imagery for Yeti! Check out his selects on Instagram and see more of his work on his website!
We were also joined by Katie’s partner and husband, Ben Ditto, who is one of the most unsung, competent, and accomplished big-wall climbers in the world. We have Ben to thank for not only pointing us to Mt. Watkins, but also for helping with rigging and all the real grunt work of wall climbing. Ben’s also a super talented photographer—check out his work!
Huge thanks to Jesse Hill, Yeti’s video creative director, and Dave Clancy, Yeti’s photography creative director for joining us on the wall and making this production so successful. Thanks to my crew Sean Haverstock, as well as Brittany Gibeau for remotely producing this production on the Novus side.
Huge thanks to everyone at Yeti for this opportunity. It was really special to re-connect with my roots and capture big-wall climbing content with Beth and Katie!