Winter Mountaineering with the E-M5

Started May 17, 2012 | Discussions thread
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burnymeister
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Winter Mountaineering with the E-M5
May 17, 2012

Last weekend I joined a few buddies for a winter mountaineering trip on the Columbia Ice fields in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada.

Most people aren't thinking winter anymore but we had full-on blizzard conditions which produced frost bite on three of us! The peaks we climbed are some of the highest in the Canadian Rockies and some of the more remote on the ice fields. It took us a (very long) day of skiing (20km) just to approach the mountains and set up camp at 11000 feet above sea level.

We had planned on 3 days of climbing before heading back but after 4 mountains in 2 days, one of the participants ended up with HAPE - a life threatening high altitude condition! HAPE isn't common in the Canadian Rockies due to our lower altitude mountains but certainly does occur at the elevations we were climbing and skiing at - all of it above 11000 feet. We ended up hitting our 911 on the SPOT and waiting for a rescue for our friend. The rescue came on Sunday morning and the rest of us packed up camp and headed out to deal with the situation. Our friend is slowly healing (water in the lungs takes a bit to get out) and we ended up with some fantastic peaks and quite an adventure!

So how did the E-M5 handle all the excitement? It handled it very well! The first day was an all out blizzard and as you know, I don't carry my camera in a case. It spent all day in 80-100km/h winds and driving snow and only I ended up with frost bite! It was often buried in snow, soaking wet from the strong sun melting the snow on it, sat on in the tent and operated flawlessly. I was judicious with the battery since I only had one (!!), keeping it in my pocket and inserting it for temporary stretches of use. I only used the 12-50mm lens due to the nature of the trip and simply loved it. I think it's the best kit lens I've ever used on m43.

Here's some pics - I shot RAW+JPEG but as usual with Oly, I ended up using the JPEG since they're so darn good.

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Vern Dewit
Calgary, Alberta Canada
http://www.explor8ion.com
http://verndewit.com/

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