In the second of three blogs on the making of Mountain Higher, photographer Pete Goding highlights some of the challenges he and co-author Daniel Freibe experienced along the way…
I can’t say all fifty trips went perfectly to plan. One particularly pesky mountain in the Massif Central eventually got the better of me – after three return trips over the space of a year and half we decided, much to our dismay, that it would have to be left for another visit. Don’t get me wrong; images of desolate landscapes with thick, unrelenting snowfall and impassable roads are equally alluring to me, but it was clearly time to admit defeat when, venturing out by foot along the final kilometres of the road, the snow reached chin-height. (And, before you ask, no – I’m not 3ft tall.)
The Road Ahead
The journeys were done in small chunks, hitting a mountain range at a time and sometimes spending a week shooting as many climbs as possible. Navigation was usually the biggest bugbear; before we’d reach our destination Daniel would research the climbs to give us our headings, but it’s not until you arrive that you can be best placed to make a decision on the route.
We’d drive around for hours, in some cases exploring the base of the mountain to find a small tarmac track that would lead us to its peak. Not every road we took was the right one, though a combination of sat navs and road atlases would always get us there in the end – technology will inevitably stop working when you’re on a deadline. But as Dante says, “If you always see the road ahead of you, it’s not worth the trip.”