From the Vault: Weminuche Dreams

If you follow this blog, you might have noticed that I haven’t posted any new photos in over two months! Recently I have started getting emails from people wondering if I’m alright, or if I’ve given up on my website or photography in general. Well, let me assure you I’m still alive and kicking. The thing is, back at the end of December when I was longboarding a ditch in Albuquerque, I slipped on a slick spot where someone had poured paint and I badly sprained my wrist. I didn’t think much of it at the time and even did another run, but later on I realized something was seriously messed up. X-rays, an MRI, numerous doctor and therapy visits, three months, and thousands of dollars later, my wrist is still messed up but slowly healing. It wasn’t broken but it was pretty much as badly sprained as can be without needing surgery. Unfortunately it killed any prospect for backcountry adventures this winter/spring since I can’t hold a pole, rip skins, or use a shovel if I had to. Fortunately I’ve still been able to snowboard at the ski area, which has kept me sane enough. But since pretty much all my winter photography is done while hiking or splitboarding, I haven’t had hardly any new photos to share all winter. So… bummer.

On a brighter note, I have lots of adventures in store for the summer! We will be homeless again all summer and will spend five weeks in Germany and Austria, followed by two months of backpacking around in Colorado, which I’m super excited about since we’ve been elsewhere for the last two summers. I still love Colorado the best! With that in mind, here are some new old photos I dug out of my archives from a solo trek I did through the Needle Mountains in the Weminuche Wilderness back in 2008. Yes, I am dreaming about summer and long to get back into the wilds of the Weminuche, my happy place!

Colorado, Needle Mountains, San Juan Mountains, Weminuche Wilderness, mountain goat
Sunlight Goat : Prints Available

Mountain goat in the Weminuche Wilderness.

Colorado, Needle Mountains, San Juan Mountains, Weminuche Wilderness,, 14er
Weminuche Sunset 2 : Prints Available

A colorful cotton candy Colorado sunset above Windom and Sunlight Peaks, two 14ers deep in the Weminuche Wilderness.

Colorado, Needle Mountains, San Juan Mountains, Weminuche Wilderness, 14er
Windom Peak Vista : Prints Available

Looking north at the Needle Mountains and Grenadier Range from the summit of Windom Peak, 14,083 feet.

Colorado, Needle Mountains, San Juan Mountains, Weminuche Wilderness, mountain goat, Chicago Basin
Weminuche Goat : Prints Available

Mountain goat high above Chicago Basin in the Weminuche Wilderness.

Colorado, Needle Mountains, San Juan Mountains, Weminuche Wilderness, mountain goat
Mountain Goat in the Clouds : Prints Available

Mountain goat in the Weminuche Wilderness.

Check out all my photos from the Weminuche Wilderness here.

Ouray Powder

Colorado,San Juan Mountains,skiing, aspens, powder, January, Don Moden

Skiing deep powder in an aspen forest – January.  Skier: Don Moden.

Colorado, and most of the west for that matter, has been getting pounded by a powerful winter storm these last few days. This last weekend we did a quick trip to Ouray to catch up with some friends and get out for some backcountry powder turns.

Backcountry skiing in the San Juans, Colorado
Skier: Claudia Brauer.
Backcountry skiing in the San Juans, Colorado
Skier: Don Moden.

Although we were both a bit sad to leave, after two great days of skiing we hightailed it through the blizzard back to Crested Butte, where two feet of powder blanketed the Butte by Monday!

From the Vault: Mount Sneffels

Colorado,Mt. Sneffels,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range
Sneffels Winter Light : Prints Available

Sunset light shines through storm clouds around Mt. Sneffels – April, 2007.

Here’s a few older shots recently dug up from my archives of one of my favorite mountains, Mt. Sneffels in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

Colorado,Mt. Sneffels,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range
Snowy Sneffels : Prints Available

Sunrise light on Mt. Sneffels – March, 2007.

Colorado,Mt. Sneffels,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, Dallas Peak, moon
Sneffels Moonset : Prints Available

Moonset over Dallas Peak, as seen from the summit of Mt. Sneffels – May, 2012.

Sunset Above Ouray

Colorado,Ouray,San Juan Mountains, sunset
Sunset Above Ouray : Prints Available

A brilliant sunset high above the town of Ouray and the San Juan Mountains, Colorado – September.

Yesterday evening I was lucky to witness and photograph a fantastic sunset from one of my favorite overlooks of Ouray. This is a seldom visited spot that requires a steep bushwhack and an exposed scramble up crumbly cliffs to get to, but the reward is what I consider one of the best vantage points over the Ouray valley. I’ve been up here probably two or three times before, but never got so lucky with the sunset light!

The next week or so will be our last in Ouray at least for a while, so when I’ve been going on hikes recently and seeing such scenes (like this, and the rainbow last week), I can’t help but feel that the San Juans are smiling upon me, giving me a good sendoff! I know it’s dumb to think that way, but maybe I’m just getting a little sentimental!

Rockin Fourth in Ouray

4th of July,Colorado,Ouray,San Juan Mountains,fireworks
Fourth of July in Ouray : Prints Available

The town of Ouray, Colorado rockin on the Fourth of July.  Ouray is one of the most unique places in the world to watch fireworks; each boom echoes around the mountains.  The sounds of the echoes are just as awesome as the fireworks themselves!

I hope all my fellow American readers had a great 4th of July! Ouray was as rockin as ever — almost literally after the parade when Maj. Rasmussen, a fighter pilot from Ouray, roared through the valley in his F-16 on full afterburners. Incredible! Turn up the volume and check out this video of it:

Beer, water fights, beer, barbeques, more beer, and then we sweated out all that beer with a wine hike up to our favorite terrace over Ouray to watch the fireworks. What a day!!!

Cosmic Sneffels, Take 2

Colorado,Mt. Sneffels,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range,stars, Milky Way, galaxy
Cosmic Sneffels : Prints Available

Mt. Sneffels in the Milky Way on a new moon night in June. The green color behind Sneffels is airglow, a common phenomenon of natural chemical reactions in the atmosphere.

On Wednesday I hiked up towards Mt. Sneffels to attempt a redo of a similar photo I took two years back, this year with a white, dust-free snowpack. I also came equipped with a brighter lens that’s better suited for night photography, so the details of the Milky Way are rendered much clearer in this photo than before.

The last two times I’ve visited this spot I camped with a tent, but on Wednesday I opted to travel lighter and go for an all-night hike instead. I reached my summit at 7pm, watched the sunset, and relaxed up there bundled up in warm clothes until finally the Milky Way was positioned directly above Sneffels at around 1am. I continued shooting until about 2:30am, then made my way back down in the dark, reaching the trailhead at sunrise! Sleep can wait…

One Fine June Day

On Wednesday Claudia and I went for a ski in the morning, and a wine hike in the evening!

Mt. Sneffels, Sneffels Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, Gilpin Peak, Potosi Peak, June, 14er, panorama

Looking at the south side of the Sneffels Range in early June.  Mt. Sneffels (14,156 ft.) is just about in the center; Gilpin Peak to its left looks bigger from this perspective but only because it’s closer. Potosi Peak is off to the right, and the town of Ouray way down the right side valley.

Ouray, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, panorama, June

Enjoying some wine from a nice vantage point over the town of Ouray (7,792 ft.), San Juan Mountains, Colorado – June.

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