A Taste of Winter at Ice Lakes

Ice Lakes, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, October, icy, ice, dawn

Ice Lakes Icy Dawn : Prints Available

Dawn light in Ice Lakes Basin on a chilly October morning after the second snowfall of the season.

Excited by forecasts of a brief but intense snowstorm, on Friday I headed up into Ice Lakes Basin for a couple nights of camping with hopes of catching some photos of the fresh snowfall around the not-yet-frozen lakes once the storm broke. I set up camp amongst the trees in the lower basin, since I could see that the weather was hellish up in the upper basin, with big plumes of snow swirling around the tundra. Turns out the first night of camping was fairly pointless, since the storm was howling all night Friday and all day Saturday. I spent most of my time those days either reading in the tent, or wandering around aimlessly in the windy weather, bundled up in all my down clothes.

Ice Lakes, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, October, icy, ice, sunrise, Golden Horn, Pilot Knob

Ice Lakes Icy Sunrise : Prints Available

Orange sunrise light on Golden Horn and Pilot Knob (13,738 ft.)

On Sunday morning I awoke to calm wind and starry skies, and eagerly hiked in the dark up to the lakes in the upper basin, where I watched the dawn grow brighter and brighter, finally painting the peaks in brilliant orange sunlight. After two cold, dreary, stormy days in the mountains, the storm had vanished completely and the crystal clear bluebird skies had me feeling ecstatic!

Ice Lakes, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, bluebird, October, snow, lake, blue, Golden Horn

Bluebird at Ice Lakes : Prints Available

Golden Horn (13,769 ft.) reflection in Ice Lake on a gorgeous calm bluebird October morning after a two-day storm.

This was the second time I’ve camped up there in early winter conditions; see photos from Ice Lakes in November 2009 here.

4 thoughts on “A Taste of Winter at Ice Lakes

  1. Justin

    Love those first two shots, Jack! Some great color and contrasts with the snow. Did the storm lose some of its strength? Seems like more snow was forecasted but when it arrived, it had weakened a bit. Definitely good to see snow!

    Reply

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