on top of the world

editorial feature | potrero chico, mexico

For most people, "down-time" probably involves kicking back on the couch and binge-watching a favorite show. I guess I'm not most people.

For this editorial shoot in Eastern Mexico, I scheduled two weeks following writer/rock-climber Michael Holland and highliner Peter Hudnut through the jagged peaks of Potrero Chico and the caves of San Luis Potosi. I had planned a couple days of down time on the road, but the time got away from us. Every second was crammed with hiking, shooting, rigging lines, climbing, and sometimes remembering to eat (sorry, Mom!)

I'm not complaining, though — these are the adventures that fuel me! They keep me sharp, excited about life and eager for the next one. 

Staying sharp on shoots like this means worrying not just about taking great photos but keeping my team safe in the process. "Be safe!" was our constant call and response. It only takes a single lapse in judgement for a fun adventure to take a very different turn.

Working with Michael and Peter was an amazing experience. Peter is one of the top 10 record-setting highliners in the world, and Michael is an accomplished rock climber as well as a writer. The three of us took Peter's dream of establishing some epic new highlines in one of the most beautiful and dangerous regions of Mexico and ended up with a cover story in Sidetracked Magazine!


Sidetracked Magazine, Volume Five

"The ground drops away in shallow sinkholes like craters. I tie our ropes together, and as Peter slowly pulls the rope from my hands I’m left abandoned, free to explore the vast cavern beneath the jungle floor. Walls of flowstone deliquesce from the rim of the cave in long vertical ribs and stalactites, forming verdant chandeliers of stone over the simple-stemmed plants that grow under the spotlight of sky. Darkness looms in corners where the cave has disappeared deeper into Earth. I breathe in the cool, primordial air, listening to the gurgle of water that moves unseen within the walls. Far below the clatter of humanity, the gusts of wind and whirling fog, I feel the strange tranquility of a place forgotten by time. I can imagine how, over thousands of years, this cave has served as a timepiece in the history of North America, viewed through a lens placed just over its edge. I look to the rim and see the curious faces of Aztec warriors, steel-headed conquistadors, and bearded Franciscan missionaries, peering into the dark cavern with hungry eyes, wondering what it hides…"

— Michael Holland