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Explorer Spotlight: Matt Ford

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Name: Matt Ford | Age: 22 | Location: Calgary (for the moment!)

What’s your day job?
I'm an adventure lifestyle photographer. I specialize in capturing people doing what they love in unique and hard to reach places. Everywhere the athletes go, I follow.

What are your favorite things to do outside?
I absolutely love rock climbing and ski touring, if I'm not out shooting I'm probably training for one or the other. I also really enjoy ice climbing because it scares me a lot, forcing me to be in better control of my emotions and how they impact my decision making.

What first drew you to the outdoors?
It started off as a way to explore and get my adrenaline fix. Over the years it's evolved into a lot more, the mountains are my second home, where I feel at ease and where I learn the most.

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?
I don't think it's fair to say that I have a favourite, but I love getting out and exploring new areas that are off the beaten path. I'll go almost anywhere after a day in the mountains, as long as I can have a Grumpy Bear Honey Ale from the Grizzly Paw Brewing Company!

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?
I bring my camera everywhere, you never know what might happen! Other than that my Petzl Tikka RXP headlight is always in my bag.

What’s your favorite trail snack?
Salted, caramelized pecans. You can thank me later.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?
I usually put my library on shuffle, or let whoever is in the passenger seat be the DJ!

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/or, the funniest?
Last year my friend convinced me to go ice climbing at a new crag that neither of us had been to before. We had to rappel into a canyon that is 30 metres deep, and the only way out was to climb the WI5+ ice that had a really tricky mixed start, it pushed both of us to our limits. After hours of unsuccessful attempts we were both quite frustrated, but eventually my climbing partner Ryley was able to complete the climb. Due to exhaustion and the temperature being around -30 Celsius I was unable to make my way out of the canyon the same way. It wasn't long before I realized that this could be a very long, cold night for me. I quickly started exploring my options, could I walk out or maybe find something else to climb up? In the end my instinct took over and I brute force climbed my way out of the canyon on an easier, but very thin ice pillar.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?
I have a lot of friends that I get out to the mountains with, but I spend most days with my friend Logan. Jimmy Chin is a huge inspiration for me, he's not only an amazing photographer but he also actively participates in all aspects of the adventures.

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?
Canmore is a great base if you're looking to experience a wide variety of activities. It seems to be impossible to get bored in Canmore because there is always something going on.

What’s on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?
I have a bucket list longer than I'd like to admit, but right now the Bugaboos, Squamish and Yosemite are all competing for the top spot.

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!
This photo was taken in Maui, Hawaii on the second half of The Road to Hana, arguably one of the most famous roads in the world. We decided to drive past Hana and continue the rest of the way around the island. Some parts were extremely rough, but it was worth it to get away from the crowds. Somehow we timed it so that we were driving along this perfect section of the road just as the sun was setting. Check out my profile to see the write up on the drive!

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?
There's no such thing as a bad day in the mountains!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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