CHRISTOPHER WILOCKI

A Personal and Professional Website showing my past and current work

// Solo Back Country Trip - Rocky Mountain National Park //

    I have been wanting to do a solo backcountry trip for sometime. This weekend it worked out perfectly with Ashley being out east and my friends being committed to family. Last week my friend Andrew and I spent the weekend in the Never Summer Range, and while grabbing permits I also booked a night at the Tonahutu backcountry site. The July 4th weekend brought an incredible amount of people to the park and I was not ready for it. I wasted almost 2 hours driving from parking lot to shuttle lot in order to get to the Bear lake trailhead. With the usual afternoon storm hour approaching I left the trailhead at 10am, a little too late for my comfort. The 4 mile 3,100 vertical feet hike to the summit of Flattop mountain was going to have to be a fast one. Since I also treated this trip as a "training" trip for my upcoming Grand Traverse climb in September, I wanted to crush this hike as fast as I could. 2 hours later I took a quick snapshot of the peak and headed out across the continental divide trial. The CDT (Continental Divide Trail) heads north and scrapes the much more breathtaking view of Ptarmigan Pass and then slowly works its way lower until finally heading back down towards Tonahutu Creek. Shortly after moving past the summit of Flattop the winds and uneasy feeling of being in the alpine came blowing in. To the east I could see the usual darkness moving in and after about 30 min of really fast walking the thunder started. I must say, and most people who have experienced this will agree, being above tree line with thunder rolling over head is one of the most unnerving and helpless feelings that could be experienced in the backcountry, maybe except being stalked by a heard of angry female moose which I have never heard happens but sounds like a nightmare of mine. I will admit, As the thunder became louder and the clouds became more and more unpredictable I started to panic, mildly. I became careless with where I was walking and eventually this panic lead me to walk over some snow that turned out to be deep, cold, icy slush. With both feet now soaked with pure alpine frozen water I moved on knowing that there was nothing I could do. I stopped walking and told myself to relax. I was fine, and I knew it. I skirted the storm with some wet feet and the usual feeling of "wow that was actually cool" (now that I am not dead) 
    The rest of the trip was pretty nice. Easy downhill hiking into a healthy forest and the final stop at the campsite brought with it the ever scarce fire ring! I spent the rest of the day reading, building a pretty awesome fire, relaxing and enjoying a great night alone. I learned that doing a solo trip really solidify's what one has learned. There is no one to double check gear or decisions. No one to change plans or to make sure everything is going as planned. It really is the chance to take everything one has learned and see if it really is true. It is a time to see if you really can pack correctly, to see if your decisions in the backcountry really are sound and correct. And more importantly, time to have a real experience with the world around you. When camping or hiking with friends there can be a disconnect with exactly what is going on around you. When alone, you are consumed by the forest, mountains, rivers, wildlife. There is nothing around except you and the occasional hiker. And a connection comes out of this experience that can never be achieved without being alone. 

 

// Home //

We finally moved to out new place almost 2 months ago. And like every move making things fit and feel right takes time. We are both really happy to live in such a great space in the same buildings as some great friends here in Denver.

// instants //

I recently found a perfect SX-70 in some random shop here in Denver for a whopping $5.00

It works wonderful so I thought I would give the people over at the impossible project another chance. I tried their film out probably the third day after they started making it and was one of the thousands that gave up on it thereafter. 

I must say, the film is light years better now. Probably because it actually works this time. And I am hooked. 

// Bonsai //

   I ma not going to lie, it started with Karate Kid. I got my first plant sometime after watching the second "kid" movie.

    It died 1 week later. 

   After yet again getting my first tree 3 years ago, and now planting, seeding and potting my own trees it is turning into a hobby, and art form I really love. 

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// Homemade roasted coffee //

    When it comes to the things we consume, we all start out with the basics in everything. We start off with Bush light, then end up with some hand crafted beer made down the street. Start with Canon and end up with Leica. Start with Mad Dog' s and end with Red Wine. But for those who make these jumps to the finer things it really is worth it. 

    Couple weekends ago I started off a Sunday morning with the perfect Euro Breakfast (Dark Beer with a side of Espresso) and learned how to roast a pretty amazing bean. 

   Thanks to my two bro's  Michael Rose and Andrew Myers for living down the street. 

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// Little RMNP back county trip //

 I know full well that there is this movement of "doing things" that matter. For some reason when families get together, when friends spend time without their phones in their faces it is somehow this magical moment that, for some reason, is hard to attain in this day and age, and should be shouted from the rooftops that it happened. 

 By best friend and I went camping for 3 nights last summer. It involved rain, lighting, animals and the fear of alien abduction. And thats really all it was. 

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// home for the holidays //

  "Without a family, man, alone in the world, trembles with the cold." Andre Maurois

   It has been quite a few weeks since I went home for almost 2 weeks for the holidays. My girlfriend and I decided to skip the usual headache of somehow getting to the faraway island that most people call Denver international airport, then fighting the holiday jam of getting on a plane. Instead we took the slow route, the 1,200 mile train ride from Denver to Chicago. 

   Getting home meant one week in Chicago {my home town} and one week up and down the pretty incredible landscape that is central Ohio {girlfriends home state}. One thing we both learned in those two weeks, our friends have our backs, our families miss us, and the midwest weather is for the birds. 

Sorry for the pretty heavy on the images post. Thanks to Indie Film Lab for pretty much dominating the giant pile of film I sent to them 

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This Sport

   Last night, for the second time in the last four years. The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley cup. This, to many, may seem like just another end of a season for yet another sport. And they would be right. But to people like me, and to all the Hawks fans it is much different.  

    Hockey for me is one step a way from a religion. Playing hockey my whole life, and then coaching for five years tends to make one realize that superstitions, just like in any religion.....are real.   

    For years I made sure I sat in the same seat in the locker room at home, I taped my stick the same way hundreds of times in a borderline manic fashion. I always put my left skate on first, but tied it last. While coaching I never walked across the ice before a game, for over 200 games.   

    These things seem weird and worthless to some. But what they mean, where they come from is simple. They come from a place that makes perfect sense. When you do something, and win, you might as well do it again.  

   It might be a little sad to admit. But being a fan is no different. For almost the whole 2009 playoffs I watched the games on one certain recliner in my living room, rotating between 3 different Hawks jerseys. I spent more time on that recliner simply because the Hawks won games when I did. And I did not want to mess that up. 

  This season, I was not able to watch the beginning of the regular season. And as we all know, the Hawks did amazing. But instead of trying to watch any game I could, I refused. I never watched, and they won. If watching meant that they might loose, I did not want any part of it. This playoff season was no different.

  One of the best parts about the end of the Stanley Cup is when the coaches FINALLY tell everyone EXACTLY what injuries their players were playing with. About 10 minutes after the cup was passed around the info started coming out. 

    Patrice Bergeron of the Bruins was playing with a broken rib, dislocated shoulder and "cartilage damage". Marion Hossa of the Blackhawks was playing with a back injury injury that would make the toughest person stay in bed. Jonathan Towes was hit so hard he sat a period but played the next day. Brian Bickell played with a grade 2 knee sprain, a knee sprain, with hockey skates!  Andrew Shaw of the Hawks looked like he just came back from falling down Everest, Especially after taking a puck to the face.......Just flash back to 2009 when Duncan Keith took a puck the the mouth, lost over 4 teeth, and came back to play in little over 5 MINUTES! 

     Which makes me wonder. Why? Why this sport? Why these guys? Why are hockey players like this?  Yes, I am wondering why in every professional sport shown on TV players act like glass. Why does every other athlete play until their future "might" be jeopardized with an injury. But in this sport, players play with injuries other athletes other athletes would loose entire seasons for...........This sport. 

      Thank you to my best friends who received a consistent and constant barrage of texts over the last 3 months. I could not have done it without you guys.    

      These images were taken from the 2009 Stanley Cup parade in Chicago. For those of you unfamiliar with the Stanley cup. It contains every team and the name of every player on that team that was ever strong enough to raise it above their heads. 

    It is the only trophy like it in all of sports.........immortality.  

 

Meanwhile in Kentucky

Between moving from Durango to Denver, lots of great happenings have happened. This weekend was one of them. A long weekend in Kentucky (I mean WAY in Kentucky) attending a wedding of some great friends. Lots of whiskey, rock-pot (which is a game invented by Thomas Jefferson) and all the things that go along with wedding weekends.

//Kodak Portra 160 & Portra 400//

Back Country Ski Hut trip, Aladdin's Lamp - San Juan Mountains, CO

   I cannot express how lucky I was to be in the company of so many amazing skiers and climbers for these two days. We all celebrated the amazing Sheldon Kerr's birthday at the Aladdin Lamp hut in the San Juans of southwestern Colorado.  

  I must admit, it was the first time back country skiing for me, on top of that we just got done with a 4 day storm that dumped about 2' of new snow. Conditions were dreamy and super fun.

  I want to thank everyone for first, being extremely safe and smart in the backcountry. Most everyone was either a ski guide or a mountain guide and it was great to see that they all practice the same safe thinking when out having fun.

  The whole trip was shot on 35mm Kodak Tmax 400, Portra 160 and Med. format Kodak Ektar. More on my project with Kodak films coming in the future. 

San Juan Mountain Guides - Ouray, Colorado.

Ouray, Colorado is a very unique town. They are home to the only man-made ice climbing park in the world. It just happens to be home to San Juan Mountain Guides, who operate a great little office on Mail St. in town. 

If you are ever in the southwest I highly recommend stopping in Ouray, summer or winter.

Film use {Kodak Ektar 100 and Portra 400}