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 generally. 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.

Mystical San Juans

Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Stony Pass,wildflowers, July
Paintbrush Sunset : Prints Available

Indian Paintbrush wildflowers backlit by sunset in the San Juans, Colorado – July.

The San Juans were treated to a fantastic sunset last night, followed by an even more spectacular sunrise. I was fortunate to squeeze in a quick trip to the mountains to catch the shows.

Colorado,Grenadier Range,San Juan Mountains,Weminuche Wilderness, Vestal Peak, Arrow Peak
Grenadiers Above the Clouds : Prints Available

Sunrise light illuminates Vestal Peak (13,884 ft.) and Arrow Peak (13,803 ft.) in the Grenadier Range, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado.

Colorado,Grenadier Range,San Juan Mountains,Stony Pass,Weminuche Wilderness, tundra, July
Rolling Tundra : Prints Available

The rugged Grenadier Range rises above the rolling green tundra of the Weminuche Wilderness – July.

Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Stony Pass,Weminuche Wilderness, clouds, tundra
Weminuche Clouds : Prints Available

Misty clouds above the tundra headwaters of the Rio Grande, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado.

Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Stony Pass,Weminuche Wilderness, clouds
Rolling Clouds : Prints Available

Misty clouds roll over the high tundra in the Weminuche Wilderness.

Autumn Tundra

Stony Pass, sunrise, Silverton, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Stony Pass Sunrise : Prints Available

A spectacular sunrise over Stony Pass, east of Silverton - September.

Desiring a leisurely change of pace after our recent tiring backpacking treks, Claudia and I decided to go car camping this weekend up on Stony Pass east of Silverton, Colorado.

Stony Pass Peak, Weminuche Wilderness, Grenadier Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Stony Pass Peak Sunrise : Prints Available

Sunrise atop Stony Pass Peak, looking over the high rolling tundra of the northern Weminuche Wilderness towards the Grenadier Range - September.

Nearby Stony Pass Peak provided an easily-accessed wonderful vantage point over the rolling tundra of this area and the rugged Grenadier Range in the distance to the south.

Stony Pass, autumn, tundra, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, September, abstract

Stony Pass Abstract #2 : Prints Available

The contours and textures of the tundra around here make for fantastic abstract photo opportunities with a telephoto lens, especially with the golden autumn colors!

More photos below! Continue reading “Autumn Tundra”

The Lime Loop

Needle Mountains, Weminuche, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, hiking

Over Labor Day weekend some friends joined us for a strenuous 3-day loop trek in the Weminuche Wilderness, south of the area we hiked through last week.

Turret Peak, Emerald Lake, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, reflection

Emerald Cloud Reflection : Prints Available

The weather was a bit wacky during this trek – ominous clouds threatened rain and thunder during the days, but the rain only came during the night.

More photos below! Continue reading “The Lime Loop”

The Wild Heart of the San Juans

Needle Mountains, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, Weminuche Wilderness, clouds, reflection

Misty Mountain Morning : Prints Available

Storm clouds break up and lift off of the Needle Mountains, in the high Weminuche Wilderness - August.

Mountain goat, Weminuche Wilderness, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Father Goat #1 : Prints Available

Mountain goat in the Weminuche Wilderness.

Vestal Peak, Arrow Peak, Grenadier Range, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, sunrise, reflection

Grenadier Sunrise Reflection #2 : Prints Available

Reflection of the Grenadier Range during a fiery sunrise.

Last week we went on another 7-day trek through the high peaks of the Weminuche Wilderness in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. During our backpacking trip we were treated not only to spectacular mountain vistas, but to some pretty cool wildlife encounters too! See LOTS more photos from our trek below! Continue reading “The Wild Heart of the San Juans”

Weminuche High Loop

Animas Mountain, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, Weminuche Wilderness, sunset

Animas Sunset : Prints Available

A brilliant sunset above Animas Mountain deep in the Weminuche Wilderness, August. 

Last week we did a 7-day loop trek in and around the Needle Mountains, the rugged heart of the Weminuche Wilderness in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. As usual, we had some crazy weather during our trip, including lots of lightning, thunder, and several stunning sunrises and sunsets. See lots more photos below! Continue reading “Weminuche High Loop”

7 Day Needle/Grenadier Trek

This last week we went on a 7-day backpacking trek through the Needle Mountains and Grenadier Range, the most rugged portions of the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. Here are some snapshots from the trip. See my gallery of photos from the trip here.

hiking in the Needle Mountains, Colorado

The route we took passes through four rugged valleys and over three high passes. This is a strenuous wilderness route, seldom travelled, with slight unmarked trails for only about half the way. The rest of the way requires good map reading, terrain intuition, some bushwhacking, and lots of trial and error. This is the third time I’ve done a long high route in the Needle Mountains, and every time I get a bit lost at some point(s)!

photographing Knife Point

Here I am with the camera.

Continue reading “7 Day Needle/Grenadier Trek”

Weminuche Loop Trek

Flint Lake, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado

Last week I went on a five day backpacking loop hike in a remote area of the Weminuche Wilderness. Some highlights of the trip: hiking up an unknown knife-ridge in the pre-dawn darkness, enduring a lightning storm from a dubious treeline campsite near Rock Lake, being frightened by a possible (probably not) bigfoot footprint in the mud, seeing a group of horse riders dressed in full retro Daniel-Boone-style gear with muskets, and generally getting used to the monkishness of solo backpacking again.

>> SEE MY PHOTOS FROM THE TRIP HERE <<

Luck in the Needle Mountains

This last week I did a 7 day backpacking trip through the high and rugged Needle Mountains south of Silverton, Colorado. See my photos from the trip here. This trip had a couple unexpected events in store for me, but fortunately, Lady Luck was really by my side this time.

A near tragedy for my camera! I woke up at 3:30am one morning, and hiked up 1200 feet in the dark to the summit of aptly-named Knife Point, a 13,265-foot spire with a killer view into the heart of the Needle Mountains. Once the dawn light started illuminating the surrounding peaks, I started to take some photos. At one point, I decided to switch spots, and grabbing my tripod I started bounding up some rocks to get to the other side of the summit. I heard an odd jiggling sound coming from my tripod, and turned to look just in time to see my camera falling off the tripod, crashing and bouncing off boulders. Oh crap. In a state of shock and denial, I jumped down to the camera, noticing shattered glass and dismembered plastic. OH CRAP!

Continue reading “Luck in the Needle Mountains”

Winter Camping in the West Needles

Winter Camping

Lured by a full moon and a forecast of clear skies, this last weekend I went backpacking for two nights in the West Needle Mountains in the San Juans near Silverton, Colorado. This area is incredibly photogenic; from my campsite on a 12,200 ft ridgeline, I enjoyed broad vistas of the Needle Mountains, the West Needles, and all the peaks of the Molas Pass area.

Continue reading “Winter Camping in the West Needles”

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