Photography and Words by Elly Stewart
The summer of 2011 was one to remember. It was my first summer out of college and I was fortunate enough to not only travel Colorado and the surrounding states, but also Spain and Australia! With it being my first time to either of those countries, and really my first time shooting outside of college and my home state of Oklahoma, I was very blessed to be among some of the finest professional rock climbers in the world. With thanks to my Mentor, Keith Ladzinski, I was completely surrounded by the industry that I love so much.
Rock Climbing is not only a sport of upper body strength, tendons of steel, and a complete lack of fear. This sport is 90% in the mind. Without the extreme dedication these athletes put into their sport, pushing through the pain of bleeding fingers, big falls, and disappointment of being thrown off the rock time and time again, they would not be able to accomplish the incredible feats that they do. Pushing the sport every day is something they strive for. Just a few years ago if you asked a climber if anyone would ever climb the routes that have been done today, they would have told you that you were off your rocker. These men and women dedicate their lives to pushing their minds and bodies to limits that seem impossible, then push themselves even farther. Among some of the strongest humans alive today, most people will never know their names. I consider myself lucky to have gotten to know these amazingly humble athletes and am proud to have been able to experience with them the incredible love they have for the rock.
Among these images are my favorites from my summer of 2011.
The athletes shown are Chris Sharma, Dave Graham, Nalle Hukkataival, Ian Dory, Jes D’Emilio, Keller Rinaudo, Carlo Traversi, James Kassay, and Remy Abonneau.
See more of Elly’s work at ellystewart.com and follow her on instagram.