How this photographer got the photo of her dreams

Dangling off the side of a Tasmanian cliff in a harness, Krystle Wright shot one of the world’s most daring climbs.

The idea to shoot an ascent of the Totem Pole, a stone tower in Tasmania, came to adventure photographer Krystle Wright in a dream. Years later, as she dangled from a line she’d rigged across nearby rocks, with a drone lighting the scene from above, she finally got her shot.

An unseen route: Jutting from the waters along the Tasman Peninsula, the Totem Pole is one of the world’s most dramatic column climbs. The sea stack is often photographed from the more accessible north side; Wright wanted to capture a southern ascent along a route called the Sorcerer. Climber Mayan Smith-​Gobat would have to descend the neighboring rock face and swing herself across a channel on a rope to grab a handhold. Wright, Smith-Gobat, and a film crew plotted for months how to complete and document the climb.

Essential packing list: Supplies for rock climbing, swimming, and photography filled two bags. The stormy Tasmanian weather required backup down jackets.

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