A trip to a glacier and filming the Force Ten Vortex 200

Force Ten Vortex 200, French Alps. Wild camping.
A scene from a day I’ll not forget in a hurry.

It’s video time again and today it’s the first of a few videos I produced for Force Ten featuring one of their updated tents – the Vortex 200.

I’ve been busy as a bee for the past few days endeavouring to complete the project which included several hundred photos too. Thankfully, that’s all about finished now and it’s only now it’s sunken in as to what a helluva trip I had with the team in the French Alps last August.

Much of it went by in a faze for me in truth. My head was always in the camera and much of the amazing landscapes that surround the town of Chamonix are stamped in my mind via a viewfinder.

The picture above does bring back a couple of vivid memory though. Forgive me for being somewhat vague (I can’t recall all the places we visited by name) but we had headed up somewhere near the Swiss border to do a photo and video shoot of this particular tent by a glacier.

Down in the valley it was quite murky and you couldn’t really see much higher than 4000ft but after a 40minute or so ride on a cable car, we cleared the cloud to enjoy blue skies and sunshine. It was absolutely breathtaking. And the nearby glacier snaking it’s way down the upper valley was in a word – awesome.

I’ve never seen anything like it with my own eyes. My jaw had literally dropped to the floor.

After locating a nice spot to admire the view, catch my breath and reach for my cameras I noticed the F10 team had already headed off to scout for a spot to get on with the shoot. I didn’t think much of it at first because I was clicking and recording away, struggling to keep my tripod steady on the ice.

I then noticed some frantic waving and faint shouts as the team were beckoning me to come on down and join them.

Upon reaching them some time later, I soon became aware they wished to climb a considerably steep incline on some deep thick ice and snow.

Looking up, I immediately said “You can get f****** I’m going up there with 20kilos on my back! No way. My wife would kill me and I’m pretty happy with my life, thanks!”

After a little persuasion from Rob on the team, he assured me we’d all be kitted out safe and well and I could leave my pack nearby and only take my DSLR up to take photos, leaving the video for another day elsewhere (which ended up being near Pointe Helbronner on the Mont Blanc massif).

Reluctantly I agreed to give it a go and off we went after getting kitted out with ropes, crampons and axes.

I have to admit, the climb up was really quite easy and I enjoyed it, even though I’d often forget how actively difficult it could be while trying to catch my breath. Even so, we made it to the top safe and well, got the photos done (I did nab a bit of video in the end but not much) and then headed tentatively back down.

Aiguille du Midi, French Alps. Force Ten
Looking over to a distant Aiguille du Midi as we cleared the sea of cloud.

All in all it was a bloody fantastic day and productive too. A happy memory that still lingers in my mind but only the photo at the top of this post really brings it flooding back.

The video shoot itself took place a couple of days later and that day is all a bit of a blur. Going through the photos and videos the other day really brought it home to me. Which is to be honest quite annoying.but that’s work for you. I can recall friends messaging me saying “Lucky barsteward” and “Bet it’s amazing”. And yes that’s all true. But the reality is quite the opposite in many respects. It was an intensive trip for all concerned. We were there to work, not have a holiday in the Alps.

The team were a great bunch, and I’ve no doubt they’ll make a success of putting Force Ten and it’s new products back in the mainstream mind. They’re all outdoors lovers with differing interests. From mountain biking, to climbing and wild camping. It was a pleasure to share their company – even if I was the most keen to run off solo and enjoy a beer to relax come the evenings.

Anyway, here’s the video featuring the Vortex 200 tent:


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