Back From Annapurna

Claudia and Annapurna
Claudia and Annapurna South (7,219m / 23,684 ft).

We’re back in Kathmandu again after another walk into the Himalaya — this time a 7-day trek to Annapurna Base Camp. Though lower in altitude and shorter in length than our previous Everest trek, this one was actually much more strenuous, with longer hiking days and lots of ups and downs. The trail passed through a long jungle valley before finally popping out into the high alpine terrain of the Annapurna Sanctuary — a huge basin ringed by 7-8000 meter peaks, including of course Annapurna I, the 10th highest mountain in the world (and possibly the most dangerous of all to climb).

As before, I won’t be able to post all my photos until I return home in January, but then I’ll post a full trip report!

More travels to come…

Back from the Khumbu

Hiker and Ama Dablam
Claudia and Ama Dablam (6848m / 22467 ft.)

We are back in Kathmandu after a fantastic 20-day trek through the Everest/Khumbu region of the Himalaya in Nepal. We hiked the “three passes” route, through the four major valleys and over three high passes of the area. The weather was great: usually clear in the mornings, clouding up in the afternoons, then clearing again around sunset. And I did get quite lucky with many wonderful photo opportunities!

I am not able to process my photos on this little laptop I travel with, but you can be sure I will be posting many photos and an extensive trip report once I’m back home in January.

Tomorrow we take an eight-hour bus ride to Pokhara, a more mellow town next to a lake near the Annapurna range. We will spend a week there relaxing and fattening up for our next Himalayan trek!

OK in Nepal

Plane in the Clouds

After a grueling 36-hour series of flights, we have finally made it to the impressively chaotic city of Kathmandu, Nepal!

Flying Into Kathmandu

During our approach into Kathmandu we were treated with a fantastic view of Mt. Everest and the Himalaya range smothered in what looked like a fresh coating of snow. We soon discovered that it was fresh snow indeed — and lots of it. On Tuesday a cyclone from India hit the mountains and dumped several meters of snow. Tragically, at least 27 lives of trekkers and climbers were lost during the blizzard, mainly in the Annapurna area. [News story here].

This stunning and saddening news has us wondering about our upcoming trekking plans; we will speak with those in the know to see how all this snow will affect the possibilities. But I just wanted to let you all know that we are safe, and will play it safe while we are in the mountains. Our hearts go out to those who were lost in the mountains, and their friends and families.

Chasing Yeti

Khumbu - google earth
A Google Earth aerial view of the Khumbu region of Nepal. Mount Everest (29035 ft / 8850 m) is the mountain at top right. Everest gets the spotlight as the tallest mountain in the world, but it is surrounded by a plethora of equally impressive peaks. For a sense of the enormous scale of these mountains, consider that the prominent valley in the center is over 12,000 vertical feet deep!

Tomorrow we fly around the world to Kathmandu, Nepal to spend two months trekking in the Himalaya – the world’s tallest and grandest mountains! We plan on hiking in the Khumbu/Everest region during the first month, staying in teahouses in the small villages along the way. (No, we won’t be climbing Everest). Our plans are open for the second month, so we’ll just play it by ear. I am so excited for this trip I can hardly cope!

Although I will mostly be unplugged during our adventures in the mountains, I am still accepting print orders through my gallery website. Prints ordered in October, November, and December will be delivered according this print delivery schedule. The deadline for ordering prints for Christmas gifts is November 21. I will respond to image licensing requests and other inquiries as quickly as I am able to.

Namaste!

Autumn Glory

Colorado,Crystal Lake,Red Mountain Pass,San Juan Mountains, aspens
Crystal Lake Autumn Reflection : Prints Available

Morning reflection of the Red Mountains and golden aspens caked with fresh autumn snows. San Juan Mountains, Colorado – September.

Is there ever a more beautiful time and place than autumn in the aspen forests of Colorado? I seriously doubt it.

moose,Colorado,San Juan Mountains
Moose in the Aspens

Mr. Moose agrees. More photos below! Continue reading

Stormy Sunset over Potosi Peak

Colorado,Potosi Peak,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, sunset, Yankee Boy Basin
Potosi Autumn Sunset : Prints Available

Stormy sunset over Potosi Peak and Yankee Boy Basin – Sneffels Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

This afternoon I spontaneously decided to attempt an evening hike of Mt. Sneffels. I suppose I was overly optimistic about the weather forecast because when I arrived in Yankee Boy Basin the ominous dark clouds had me scared to get out of my truck, much less hike a peak! So I sat in my truck for a few hours, enjoying the sound of the rain and the flash bangs of lightning and thunder.

Right before sunset the storm relaxed and some sunlight beamed through the clouds, illuminating the landscape with an eerie warm glow. It would have been a stunning scene to see from the summit, though probably not worth dodging lightning bolts for!

Alpensoak

Colorado,Conundrum Hot Springs,Elk Mountains, Aspen
Soaking with a view in Conundrum Hot Springs near Aspen, Colorado.

There are few things in life finer than soaking in natural hot springs, especially when those hot springs are situated at treeline in an alpine basin surrounded by high peaks and valley vistas! Such is the case at Conundrum Hot Springs, a remote but popular wild hot springs in the Elk Mountains between the towns of Aspen and Crested Butte in Colorado. Continue reading

A Visit to Columbine Lake

Relaxing at Columbine Lake

The lazy melancholy atmosphere of autumn has arrived in the high country… the tundra is golden brown, the air has a crisp edge, and the marmots have either burrowed into their holes or retreated to lower elevations. Yesterday we went out for a quick overnighter at Columbine Lake, in the San Juans of Colorado, to savor some time up high before the winter snows cover the tundra for another nine months.

Colorado,Columbine Lake,San Juan Mountains, sunrise, September, Lookout Peak
Sunrise at Columbine Lake : Prints Available

Sunrise light on Lookout Peak (13,661 ft.) above Columbine Lake – September.

Colorado,Columbine Lake,San Juan Mountains, September
The brilliant blue waters of Columbine Lake on a bluebird September morning.