Tag Archives: gabe rogel

Gabe Rogel vs Alaska’s Brown Bears

Aniakchak National Monument, AK
While quickly un-holstering his .45 revolver, Dan quietly yells, “Oh shit! The bear is on a kill! Turn around! Turn around!!!” So, we do, and start moving as fast as possible with our 80 pound backpacks, ripping our boots off and starting to wade completely helplessly, like sitting ducks, through knee deep mud. We’re making our way aways from a large brown bear who was on some sort of kill… possibly another bear,maybe  a moose… we couldn’t tell, as the carcass was mostly gone. Over the next day or so, Dan tells us a horrific story, proving bear’s heightened aggression while they are eating.
Chris Solomon, Aniakchak National Monument, AK
Let's Tarentino this a bit and go back. Back to how and why I ended up in this bizarre, terrifying situation. A couple of years ago, I get a random email from this writer in Seattle who says his name is Chris Solomon, and he’s planning some hiking trip to Alaska, possibly to feature in Outside Magazine. Hmmmm… hiking. I’m not normally a huge fan unless there’s a much larger climbing or skiing objective involved (I know, I’m a snob). But wait, I think he said something about packrafting, this oddball “sport” I’ve been hearing more and more about. This piques my interest, due to the exploration possibilities it opens up to remote, wild and varied terrain. Alaska… always incredible. Outside Magazine… cool. Okaayyy, I’m listening.
Dan Oberlatz, Aniakchak National Monument, AK
I call. We talk. And Chris goes on to explain we would hike through Aniakchak National Monument, the least-visited of all the U.S.’s park lands. After a couple of bush plane flights from Anchorage, we’d find ourselves half way out the Aleutian Peninsula, hoist our massive packs over our shoulders and walk/packraft from the Bering Sea to the Gulf of Alaska… and, oh yeah, we’d go up and over a wild volcano somewhere in the middle. This area also boasts the most dense brown bear populations in the world, a fact that both heightens my interest in seeing these magnificent beasts and keeps me up at night.
Adventures in Aniakchak, AK
Chris also explains we’ll be in the field with one of Alaska’s best adventure guides, Dan Oberlatz, who has owned and operated Alaska Alpine Adventures the past 15 years. The three of us will make this overland, 200 mile journey through some of the most rugged, wild and out-of-this world terrain our planet has to offer. After learning more, I respond with a smattering of four letter words, solidifying not only my excitement for the adventure, but my commitment.
Hiking in Aniakchak, AK
Working as an adventure sport / outdoor lifestyle, commercial photographer the previous 12 or so years, I’ve found it extremely important to balance the well-paying, sometimes posh advertising work with projects that take me right down to my roots: sweating through wild, raw adventure. After all, having experiences such as the once Chris has sold me on, are the entire reason (along with the creativity involved with photography) I studied this profession and worked my ass off to make it my livelihood.
Hiking Adventures in Aniakchak, AK
Again, in Tarentino fashion, lets fast-forward to the location along this journey where I stated, “I will remember this place on my deathbed.” As we stood along the bottom of the vast, 6 mile-wide Aniakchak crater and took in the surrounding landscape; snowy peaks that shoot up to the volcano rim, 500’ high cinder cones along the crater floor, a huge, milky, turquoise lake, fed by a mineral-rich, yellow-orange-red stream, lined with bright green bushes, abundant brown bear tracks and best of all, not another human for a hundred miles. And those humans, are few and far between. We had spent 3 long days hiking up and into the crater and were about to spend 3 days pack rafting down to the Gulf of Alaska, where we would then walk 5 very long days along the coast to the nearest fishing village. We were out there. Way out there, and in a landscape only a human body can describe to itself.
Aniakchak National Monument, AK
Adventures in Aniakchak, AK  See more of Gabe's images here!

The Symphony of Ice

Peter Doucette, Lucifer in Chains M9 Cathederal Ledge, North Conway, NH
Lucifer in Chains M9 Cathedral Ledge, North Conway, NH
Five a.m. is early for a weekend alarm, but winter’s back. There’s too little daylight to waste it. The ice is in, the days are short, and the mountains are calling. Roll out of bed, pull on long underwear and fleece. Fill a water bottle, grab the already packed backpack by the door and go. The warm car is the final bastion of heat. Don’t waste it. Don’t open the door a moment too soon, even if it means tying your boots hunched over the steering wheel. Soak in the final few warm minutes. They are precious. Once in the landscape it’s the sounds you notice: the crunch of the snow underfoot, the wind as it whistles through the trees, the rustle of nylon rubbing nylon. The hike is the warm up stretch before the fight begins. It’s a moment to look at the mountains, the snow, the trees and wilderness before the landscape rears to blanket your view. The final walk below the ice is always a nervous one. The columns have a way of dwarfing and dampening, reminding you of how small you are. But in that frozen space the sounds continue—the zip of extra layers, the clink of carabiners and ice screws, the hiss of rope running through gloves—and are amplified by the cold. Then it’s time. Tink! Tink! Sink a tool. Tink! Tink! Sink the other. Thunk! A boot. Thunk! The other boot. Ice climbing, the frozen symphony, has begun. The whir of ice screws cutting into the depth, the tap of the belayer dancing to stay warm, the drumbeat of falling ice. The movement becomes its own language, emerges in the winter quiet, echos through the canyons and reverberates through the ice. It is a landscape without heat but full of songs. Climb higher, into the breeze and creek of swaying trees. The scrape of steel mingles with the sounds of the forest. The hush of the falling snow only leaves the chorus ringing louder. The noise of belayers, other climbers, the human race and the world as a whole fades. Only you are left. You and the mountain. And you hear each other. For great ice climbing photography visit AuroraPhotos.com

Au Vol. 8: National Parks

In the 100 years the National Park Service has been in existence, they’ve created 58 parks as well as 82 national monuments, providing a place for both recreation and conservation. In this homage to one of our greatest national resources, we explore the magnificent National Park system, which enables some truly spectacular and unique interactions between visitors and nature. Each park has it’s own story, and our photographers embrace them all, from icy glaciers in Alaska to fiery volcanoes in Hawaii.
Woman hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park at Emerald Lake during winter.

Au Vol. 7: Connections

Our photographers are solitary in many ways, and their adventures are often only shared with one or two others. Despite the number of solitary subjects in Au Vol. 7, there are connections being made in every image, on every page. The moments captured reveal the triangular nature of outdoor photography: the connection between the subject, nature, and the photographer. When Rob Hammer captures a solo trail runner cutting across a lonely ridge, or Alasdair Turner photographs a young couple sharing a first canoe trip on an Alaskan lake on their wedding day, Aurora contributors connect us from our far away places to the beauty of man (and woman) exploring nature, and making connections of their own. It’s why Michael Wilson hiked the Appalachian Trail and took portraits of the people he met along the way, and why Craig Moore goes out to stand up paddle on Lake McDonald at sunrise. They take us where we’d like to go and introduce us to who we’d like to meet, and in that way, we are all connected.
Au Vol 7 Cover Large Immerse yourself in some of our best imagery: https://issuu.com/auroraphotos/docs/au-vol-7