Memories of Peru

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Yerupaja, Jirishanca, reflection, sunrise, Laguna Carhuacocha

Carhuacocha Sunrise : Prints Available

Brilliant sunrise alpenglow on the tallest peaks of the Cordillera Huayhuash (Yerupaja, Yerupaja Chico, and Jirishanca),  reflected in Laguna Carhuacocha - June.

Here are a few photos “from the vault”, from my trip to Peru a year ago. Both were taken along our trek around the Cordillera Huayhuash. One of my favorite shots from the trek was from this same spot but at sunset. Because I liked that one better, with its softer, calmer light and clouds, I never posted this version from sunrise. But this one definitely has some pop, eh?

Yerupaja, panorama, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, Jirishanca

Yerupaja Panorama : Prints Available

A panoramic view of the Cordillera Huayhuash around Yerupaja (6617m, 21,709 ft.), the second tallest mountain in Peru.   Jirishanca (6094m) is towards the left side.  June 2010.

>> SEE LARGER VERSION HERE <<

I took this panorama during one of the more spectacular bits of hiking during the 11-day trek. That day we came from over a pass off the right side of the photo, but instead of taking the standard trail down through the valley, we hiked along this high ridgeline, with a huge views of the mountain range the whole way. We ended up at a lake down in the valley on the left side of the photo, under impressive peak of Jirishanca.

My spontaneous three week trip to Peru last June ended up being a wonderful decision, not the least because I met my girlfriend Claudia on this trek! I would have never guessed before this that I’d soon be spending six months in the Alps to be with her. And she arrives to Colorado on Monday!!! So thank you, Peru!

Jirishanca, Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, stream, lake

North Crestone

Sangre de Cristo, Colorado, North Crestone, sunset, June

After I left the Great Sand Dunes in the morning on Tuesday, on a whim I headed to nearby Crestone and went backpacking up the North Crestone Trail in the Sangre de Cristo Range. Unlike the San Juans, which are still smothered in snow, the Sangres are almost totally dry already. Although I was planning on camping up at North Crestone Lake, when I finally arrived there [six fairly grueling miles later] I was disappointed to find no suitable spot to camp near the lake. Besides, it was very windy up there… too windy. So I retreated back to the next meadow down where I spotted a nice established camp spot in the forest next to the creek. Exhausted from my lack of sleep the night before in the Dunes, I took a nap, shot the sunset, lit a small campfire for a while, then fell fast asleep in my tent for nearly 12 hours!

The valley where I camped was not particularly photogenic, imo, and the boring blue sky was not inspiring either. After wandering around for a while the most interesting thing that caught my eye was a bunch of dead trees up on the mountainside. So I hiked up there and shot the setting sun beaming through the bare tree skeletons. Certainly not my best photo ever but I like it and I was proud of myself for putting in the effort to find one intriguing scene to shoot when normally I probably would have just not even bothered.

Sangre de Cristo, Colorado, aspens, North Crestone, June

The lower/middle portion of North Crestone Creek is special because the valley is chock-full of aspens. This would be a spectacular hike to do in the fall when the trees are golden yellow!

A Night in the Dunes

Medano Creek, Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, clouds

Medano Twilight : Prints Available

Spooky clouds hang over Medano Creek and the Great Sand Dunes after sunset. 

On Monday I headed to the Great Sand Dunes for a quick overnighter. I hiked in at about 10pm, slept on a dune for about 4 hours, then woke up around 3:30am to shoot the setting (nearly full) moon, followed by sunrise.

I had a blast out there with the camera… so much fun! And the hike out with Pink Floyd Meddle playing on my iPod was pretty groovy too! Here are some photos from the trip.

Continue reading “A Night in the Dunes”

Potosi

Climbing up Potosi's couloir, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Yesterday morning Ann Driggers and I set off to hike and ski the big north couloir on Potosi Peak – one of the most aesthetic couloirs in the San Juans, and a line that has been high on my to-do list for many years. With an ample June snowpack, sunny weather, and freezing temps at night, this was a perfect opportunity to get it done! Here is Ann climbing up the steep couloir. Continue reading “Potosi”

Smoky Ski

Skiing in forest fire smoke - San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Went up for a little ski tour this morning above Ouray, and was surprised to find the mountains choked with forest fire smoke (on an otherwise blue sky day). A quick Google news search shows that a wildfire is raging in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, which must be where all the smoke blew in from.

Dog on summit

A rare indigenous San Juan alpine wolf.

Double Shot

Skinning up a steep slope in the San Juans, Colorado

Skinning up a steep slope, looking at what would be our second descent route of the day.

Skiing in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Upon arriving at the summit, our north face descent route still needed some time to soften. Instead of waiting around up there, we decided to do a quick run down the east face, which was nice and soft already.

Skiing near Silverton in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Skier: Ann Driggers. The town of Silverton is located in the valley in the distance.

Skiing in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Having skinned back up the east face, the big north face was now good to go, and so we ended up scoring two nice corn lines today, the last day of May! See some more pics on Ann’s blog.

Frozen Smoothie

Skinning a high ridge in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Skinning up a high ridgeline in the San Juans this morning.

Spring skiing in the San Juans, Colorado, May

Skier: Chris Cover. The mountains have started getting some sun the last couple days, and the snow is quickly transitioning from powder to corn. Today our slope was well frozen, and the clouds and chilly winds were keeping it that way. So, unfortunately we weren’t able to ski this beauty with the soft conditions I was hoping for, but at least the snow was perfectly smooth so it was still a fun descent.