Saturday, 29 April 2017

Throughout the past six years, Jeremy Jones has collaborated with Teton Gravity Research to create a trilogy of films: Deeper, Further, and now Higher. These films document his efforts to explore and snowboard mountains around the world under his own power. In this companion piece to its “Higher Unplugged” series, Teton Gravity Research provides a glimpse into Deeper.

For several decades, Alaska has served as a proving ground for skiers and snowboarders searching for steep lines, deep snow, and new challenges. Jeremy Jones is among these riders. Each spring, he makes a pilgrimage to the state to explore and ride new zones. During these trips, he typically establishes a base camp where he and his team members sleep, cook, weather storms, and depart for new adventures.

While filming for Deeper in 2009, however, Jones and Ryland Bell abandoned the comfort and security of their base camp in order to ride a face on which the sun only shone briefly each morning. To do this, the riders spent the evening nestled on a narrow ledge several thousand feet above their base camp. Equipped with their sleeping bags and bivy sacks—which covered their sleeping bags for additional protection from the elements—Jones and Bell endured a cold evening in order to be better positioned for their morning descent in the Fairweather Range.

Yet rather than making this descent with the heavy loads they carried on their backs, Jones and Bell sent much of their gear tumbling down the mountain ahead of them. Secured in a duffel bag they affectionately called the “Black Bomber,” their sleeping bags and camping equipment slid thousands of feet while rolling over cliffs and narrowly escaping a crevasse. Once their gear arrived safely at the foot of the mountain, Jones and Bell made their own descents. And while the riders’ lines were impressive, arguably they were outdone by their duffel bag. After all, it was the “Black Bomber” who scored the first descent.

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