The narrow road which Nicholas Wray guides his Mercedes-Benz Sprinter along winds through dense spruce forests. Clearings are a rarity among the endless trees. The countryside is dotted with occasional lakes and the water is clean as the air in the Yosemite National Park. It takes almost an hour to drive from the “village” in the valley up to “Glacier Point”. Nicolas Wray parks his Sprinter and ascends the final meters to the lookout on foot. These two towering mountains symbolize the Yosemite National Park: the mighty “El Capitan” (2307 m) and the even more imposing “Half Dome” (2693 m). They rise above the seemingly endless mountain landscape of the Californian nature paradise. The cliffs are smooth, unadorned and steep. Climbing these two mountainous giants is a challenge for any ambitious climber. It is no surprise that ascending them is also a must for Nicholas Wray.
Whether in the Yosemite National Park in California, in the Red Rock Canyon in Nevada or in the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming: the 35-year-old photographer and adventurer feels at home wherever there are mountains. In 2006, a friend took him climbing for the first time, explains Nicholas. Since then he has discovered a passion for extreme sports of every kind. In 2016 the US American finally decided to buy a Sprinter. Extreme sports surrounded by nature is one passion; photography is his other. Nicholas Wray has discovered that the Mercedes-Benz van perfectly connects these two.
When he was a child, Nicholas’ uncle gave him a subscription to the renowned “National Geographic” as a gift. The young Nicholas read the magazines enthusiastically, fascinated by the new images on every page. “Since then I always dream of taking photos for this magazine”, he says today. The dream has shaped the imagery in his photography: warm mountainous landscapes, vast plains and skies full of shining stars. His pictures depict the wild and natural beauty of North America’s untouched regions. His mission: “I try to make people feel as though they were standing there in my place.”
I try to make people feel as though they were standing there in my place.
Since March, Nicholas has also been working on a new business idea: he sells hand-made cream especially for climbers. After a long day of climbing, he often had bloody, raw hands. This started his search for a cream that would help the healing process so that he would be ready to climb again more quickly. Yet none of the products on the market truly convinced him. A friend from Thailand showed Nicholas a recipe that inspired him. “I knew that I had to use this opportunity”, he remembers. Since then, Nicholas Wray has marketed FNGRJAM. “The cream smells fantastic, is not sticky and completely natural.”
The mid-thirties photographer and adventurer travels throughout the United States, constantly searching for the most beautiful landscapes. The adventurous photographer came up with the idea of buying a Mercedes-Benz van while he was looking for an apartment. Nicholas was also looking for a van at the same time and discovered the Sprinter. “The reliability and durability of the Mercedes-Benz vans were what convinced me”, he emphasizes. He converted the van into a mobile home together with his stepfather. “I am also looking forward to a few other projects with the Sprinter”, explains Nicholas. “Yet the Sprinter is already the most comfortable vehicle which I have ever slept in.”
1. Yosemite Valley, CA -Classics for days, and days, and days! Downside is the tourists - but - most of them never make it off the paved trails and the ones who do may just be intrigued to see us plug gear!
2. Joshua Tree, CA - Very challenging crack climbing and unforgiving texture, I'm not sure if that second half is a pro or con.
3. Lake Tahoe, CA - Very diverse cross section of climates, weather, landscapes, short approaches, long approaches, bouldering, trad. sport, you name it - it's all here!
4. Bishop, CA - Home to my love of bouldering, a great place to run laps on V0's or project double digits. Many classic problems, so few days!
5. Red Rocks, NV - Fantastic adventuring on tall routes and oh so soft Sandstone!
6. Smith Rock, OR - I have only been once but had a great time, need to make a return to climb everything on the Monkey Face!
7. Indian Creek, UT - I've not been yet but - Splitter cracks, Splitter cracks, & Splitter cracks.
8. Squamish, British Columbia: Another place I've never been, and it's in Canada - the mossy boulders and jungle like dreamy appearance have had me drooling for years - can't wait to check it out!