LifeProof Explores Kalymnos

We have joined forces with professional photographer and explorer Paolo Sartori to put the LifeProof FRĒ range to the test on the Greek isle Kalymnos, during a 7 day sailing, hiking and rock climbing expedition. The climbing mecca that is Kalymnos has been on Paolo’s bucket list for a long time and now he will make it a reality. Before he set off on his adventure we sat down with Paolo to learn more about what makes him tick, his sheer passion for his sport and photography rings clear in every word:

Q. How did you initially begin climbing, what drew you to the sport? 

A. Growing up in the heart of the Alps it’s always been natural for me to be living in the outdoors and getting involved in mountain sports like skiing, mountain biking, trail running and of course rock climbing.

I first started climbing when I was 13, but it was when I turned 16 that I started taking it seriously and could see a career develop. I still remember how beautiful it was to come back from school and go directly to the crag, everyday.

Q. How did you decide to climb Kalymnos?

A. Kalymnos was on my list for a long time since it is a climbing Mecca. It is a magical place with a strong history in the climbing scene, I’ve always planned to go. When I teamed up with LifeProof and Vertical Sailing Tour I couldn’t resist the opportunity to tackle this legendary location and create some beautiful photography. 

Q. What had been your favourite adventure to date? 

A. For sure, the first time I went to Yosemite, California, to shoot rock climbing on El Capitan, one of the biggest rock faces in the world…it took so much effort just to get all the gear to the top!

Paolo - Yosemite

Q. What made this trip so special, is there one moment that stands out for you?

A. Living in Camp 4, the legendary campground in Yosemite where the best climbers of the world used to stay while they were writing pages of climbing history. Still to this day the atmosphere in Camp 4 is something of pure magic.

Other magic moments happened while shooting at night in some iconic places like Glacier Point or Tunnel View. Those places are always really crowded during the day and at sunrise and sunset it’s almost impossible to get a decent shot because of the number of people trying to do the same. So I went to shoot at 2 A.M when no one was around and got exactly what I was looking for. 

Q. What was the most challenging part of this climbing trip? 

A. The amount of work involved in carrying around all my ropes and photography gear. That season the weather was really hot and it took a great effort to set up everything.  It’s one thing to carry yourself up the cliff face, I have a bag full of camera gear too carry too. 

Q. How does your mobile phone fit into your climbing adventures?

A. I always have my phone with me, as close to hand as possible, never sitting in the bottom of my backpack. I’m always taking pictures with my phone when my camera is packed away, it’s also perfect for review maps and pictures so it’s always on hand. I’ve destroyed more phones than I would admit, by dropping them from walls, in the water and so on. Of course it was before starting to use LifeProof products! 

Q. How important is it for you to know your climbing partners? 

A. I don’t have any problem climbing with anyone, as long as they know what they’re doing. That said, I try to climb as much as possible with trusted friends because it’s easier to push your limits if you trust who is belaying you, and because they make the journey fun and special. 

Q. What is your essential gear guide as you set out on an adventure like this?

A. Of course my basic climbing gear and my LifeProof protected phone; then I’ll add a static rope with a couple ascenders for getting into position for my shoots. For the photography part I bring one camera body, in this case a Nikon D810, a 17-35 f2.8 and a 70-200 f2.8, memory cards and extra batteries. Nothing hurts more than running out of battery or memory while climbing, it’s not as if I can just pug into the wall, it means a full day of not being able to shoot. 

Q. What has been your most challenging climb?

A. I don’t remember one particular hard climb. Yes, I could say one route was a bit harder than another, but what really matter is how I’m approaching myself to the route. I always try to learn something when I climb, to feel good moving on the wall. Difficulty comes later.

Q. Have you picked up any injuries during your climbing career and how did you return from the injury?

A. I broke almost every bone of my right foot a couple years ago when the frozen ice fall I was climbing collapsed. This was the only accident I had and I learned to be a bit more careful of ice condition after that. You truly have to respect the walls that you climb and never become complacent. 

Paolo - Ice Climb

Q. Any last words of wisdom for the climber within? 

A. If I may suggest something that I have learned which made my life better, it is not to focus on difficulty, grades, summits or hard routes. Just enjoy your time while climbing, the results will come.

Stay tuned for our 4-day Instagram takeover with Paolo kicking off on Monday May 9th. – follow us here: LifeProofEurope


Alan Lund

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