Fortunately neither me nor my partner was dropped, just my point and shoot camera. What a great reason to talk about all the cameras that I have destroyed over the years. When I lived in my van a long, long time ago, I used to use those throw away cameras. They were extremely simple and I would often get 2 photos out of the 25 that came on a roll to turn out less than awful. It was that experience that kept me from really ever taking pictures of my early times climbing. Then I went to New Zealand to climb and hitchhike and tramp around the country. I bought 4 of those cameras to document my journey. I went to spectacular places, met wonderful people, and overall had a once in a lifetime experience but, while climbing at a place called Froggat or something like that the person who I was climbing with accidentally backed over my backpack and smashed all 4 of my full cameras just a day or two before I was flying home. So all that I had to show for that month long trip was a post card or two that I got in the airport before flying back to the states. Classic.
The past 15 years have been a bit different, I have been able to spend about 50-80 bucks on a junky Canon Powershot Elf (no I am not plugging the company, nor the camera). These little babies allowed me to keep a digital camera in my front pocket of my climbing shirt and snap away during my outdoor hikes, climbs, ski tours, you get the picture. It was at that point when I could shoot 200 photos and get at least 5 “good” ones to remember the day. I was improving at shooting, but not by much. Taking crappy photos is like never having a good round of putt putt and it should be easier!
I would always buy the 1 year insurance for the camera because I would find a way to jam more sand inside the lens than is in the Mojave Desert. Needless to say, my little gem would stop working every desert season due to the call of sandy cracks and desert towers. With that insurance I think I got 5 years work of cameras due to that cheap insurance. I still took crappy photos but I got over it and enjoyed the memories.
This latest route has claimed 2 cameras already and I just bought my third one today. I went all out and bought something a bit more expensive in hope that I would treat it a little better than the other ones. The first camera didn’t make it 2 days on the wall. I was living in a constant shower of sand and rocks as I cleaned out the crack for my snails pace ascent of new pitch after new pitch. I keep it in a pocket that is zipped but the sand still finds it’s way into the lens mechanism. No amount of cleaning or blowing air can bring them back. The second one just fell out of my jacket pocket as I was swinging around the overhang. I had been putting on and taking off my gloves due to the cold temps and just forgot to rezip. So lame. My partner nearly caught it since the pitch that I was aiding came back directly over his head at the belay. Would have been pretty awesome to see him catch it. But it was still awesome to see it plunge 1500ft to the snowy ground.
Now I have a new camera that will make me be extra careful. We shall see how long this one lasts! Enjoy the next few photos that I took with the new camera while at the house with my family.