Like many parts of the country, Montana is weathering through a patch of frigidity these days. Even for us, this is especially cold. But opportunity is in the eye of the beholder and here in Bozeman, we happen to be close to a center of great ice climbing famous the world over: Hyalite Canyon.
Last year, Sierra magazine assigned me to photograph a Veterans Expeditions trip up Hyalite that brought about a dozen veterans up to a U.S. Forest Service cabin for a few days of adrenalin-pumping fun.
The story focused on Demond Mullins, a 31-year-old Ph.D. student, former dancer and model, from New York City who served in Iraq and like the rest of the expedition, was seeking a way to readjust to non-combat life. Mullins would soon become a husband and sociology professor.
The group talked to me about the camaraderie of being among people with a shared set of experiences. About how people who had been strangers a week before were now close friends who could relate to missing the adrenalin rush of combat and the difficulty of re-entering a world ignorant of what it is like to be shot at.