When it comes to dream teams, photographer Christian Pondella and ice climber Will Gadd are impossible to beat. The duo has been mixing art and high adventure over 20 expeditions on 7 continents.
Will is a champion kayaker, paraglider, and indefatigable ice climber. And Christian always gets the shot, which means he’s a climber, skier, and all-around badass of the outdoors.
“For the most part it was a lot of ascending and descending on fixed ropes which is something I have a lot of experience with,” says Christian. “One of the biggest challenges was the extreme cold on the surface.” Which is not to take away from his artistic eye. As you can tell from the images below, Christian paints with light like few can. What’s in his kit? “Aside from the usual normal stuff like camera, lenses, and climbing gear, the most critical was the six layers of clothing to stay warm!” says Christian.
These images are from Will and Christian’s recent expedition to Greenland. Will and glaciologist Jason Gulley teamed up for this project. “Jason spends months studying the glaciers, water melt, and ice movement to determine how fast they are melting,” Christian says. “Teaming up with Will allowed him to descend into a moulin and explore the glaciers in a way that requires the skill of an expert ice climber.”
Their plan was to descend into a crack in the ice sheet that meltwater flows into, known as a moulin, hit the water table, then keep diving from there. Though the moulin they explored didn’t allow for a dive, they emerged from the ice sheet with new beta that necessitates revisions to the models that ultimately determine how the Greenland ice sheet, the second largest ice sheet in the world, contributes to sea level rise. See the full story here.
Why is it important to roam?
Christian: The world is such an amazing and beautiful place!
Why is community important?
Christian: When it is all said and done it’s the memories. It’s not what you did, it’s the people that you did it with, surrounded yourself with, and effected in a genuinely positive way. Its about being a good person, a good husband, a good father, a good friend, and making each other better people. Your family, your friends—this is your community which exists at home and all over the world.
What advice do you have for a young person just starting out in outdoor photography?
Christian: I have always said to any photographer starting out is to shoot things you are passionate about. If you love the outdoors and you are out there shooting your adventures, your photography will naturally blossom. Photography is a lot of trial and error, and don’t be afraid to fail along the way!