Thursday, May 26, 2011

Is this the most dangerous campsite in the world? Pitching a tent on the side of a 4,000ft cliff face


Hanging around: Three tents are suspended off a 4,000ft vertical cliff in the Arctic as climbers get some much needed sleep

For many people, a camping trip is enough to get them sweating before they've even put up a tent pole.

But for these daredevil explorers, scaling cliffs and pitching tents at the height of more than 300 double decker buses is just a normal day at the office.

Hanging precariously in tents off a 4,000ft shear cliff face, these climbers are chasing the most dangerous big wall climbs ever attempted.

Don't look down: A climber peaks out of his tent high up on Great Sail Peak, on Canada's Baffin Island

As these stunning images show, the climbs can last for weeks and the explorers must set up tents on the edge of monstrous cliff faces to grab some much needed rest.

They were taken by adventure photographer Gordon Wiltsie, 57, who risks his own life to capture thrill-seeking moments.

He said: 'During this climb it was the Arctic spring so melting snow on both the summit and a ledge midway up the cliff constantly sent rocks and chunks of ice flying down.

'One the size of a car even came crashing down around us. Several times I came within inches of being hit which almost certainly would have been fatal.

'Falling objects are constantly on your mind and if you look carefully at the picture of the hanging tents, or Portaledges, you can see the camp was below an overhang for shelter.

Home comforts: Jon Catto, Greg Child and Mark Synnott set up their Portaledge camp site, complete with baggage, at 4,000ft

'Camping in the Portaledges is a lot less scary and dangerous than it is climbing outside of them. They're pretty comfortable and you don't actually see the drop below.

'I find it similar to sleeping into a regular tent. You're always harnessed into a separate anchor from the tent so I felt quite safe - unless I had to lean out to get food or supplies from our haul bags hanging outside.'

The amazing collection is part of a brand new summer-long exhibit of work by Mr Wiltsie at the famous Mountain Light Gallery in California, U.S.

The exhibition features an array of stunning images from climbs over the past decade including the first ascent of Great Sail Peak - an overhanging granite wall on Canada's Baffin Island.

Looking for the perfect spot: The climbers have to pitch their tents to get much-needed rest during big ascents

source: dailymail

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