Nocturnal Norwegian Ice Climbing

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A couple of years ago, German photographer Thomas Senf assembled a crew of top ice climbers and riggers, a huge pile of gear, and Swiss artist David Hediger, who works with the medium of light, in Eidsfjord, three hours east of Bergen, Norway, where frozen waterfalls line the fjord.

Working with the support of Mammut, and using Mammut athletes Dani Arnold and Steph Siegrist, Senf and his team created perhaps the most original Norwegian ice climbing portfolio ever shot.

“I had considered for a long time how to work with artificial light,” Senf said, “which is normally only possible in a photo studio, in major mountains. The idea of illuminating frozen waterfalls was the result of a meeting with Mammut. The transparency and reflective properties of ice in the sun had often caught my eye. With its virtually unlimited number of icefalls, Norway seemed like the perfect place to put our ideas into practice.

“Photography and filming at night is a big challenge. The right lighting determines whether you succeed or fail. The ways to play with the factors of light, time, and environment are boundless and fascinating in equal measure.”

Swiss climber Arnold, who holds the speed record for climbing the north face of the Eiger, said, “One moment the icefall looked like a dripstone cave, the next like a gothic cathedral.”

Thomas Senf
grew up in Leipzig. In 2002 at the age of 21 his passion for mountains made him move to Switzerland. Today he lives in Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland. Besides his studies in mechanical engineering he was constantly drawn to the big mountain faces of the world. In this context he and his friends succeeded in the first ascents of both the route Harvest Moon at the Thalay Sagar and the North Face of the Arwa tower, two peaks that are situated in the Garhwal Himalaya in India. Besides his qualification as a mountain guide, photography started to play an increasingly important role for Thomas. Today he works in partnership with the outdoor photo agency Visual Impact.

To realize his photographic projects Thomas Senf works together with outstanding athletes. Because of his personal skills in mountaineering, he has primarily specialized in the following areas: Mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing, expeditions, B.A.S.E., outdoor, Air, Ski.