Gladstone High Camp

Colorado, Gladstone Peak, Lizard Head Wilderness, San Juan Mountains, San Miguel Range, tent, earthshadow, panorama
Gladstone Earthshadow Panorama : Prints Available

A spectacular panoramic view of Gladstone Peak (13,913 ft.) with Wilson Peak (14,017 ft.) behind, and earthshadow to the right above the western San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

Situated in the center of the San Miguel Range near Telluride, Colorado, Gladstone Peak (13,913 ft.) is overshadowed by its two popular neighboring fourteeners Wilson Peak and Mount Wilson. But Gladstone is an awesome peak with a dramatic pyramid shape, and in my opinion one of the more photogenic mountains of the San Juans.

With a clear and calm weather forecast and a rock solid snowpack from previous sub-freezing nights, I knew I had an opportunity for a high camp to photograph a portrait of Gladstone Peak. Donning my crampons, I headed over the pass by Wilson Peak then up a steep snowfield to a high ridge of Mount Wilson directly facing Gladstone from across a saddle. Read more >>

Spring Vistas from the San Juans

Cimarrons, aspens, Sneffels Range, panorama, spring, Courthouse Mountain, Chimney Rock, Colorado
Cimarron Spring Panorama : Prints Available

Panoramic view of Chimney Rock, Courthouse Mountain, and brilliant spring green aspens along the Cimarrons, with the Sneffels Range and the town of Ridgway in the distance. San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

Cimarrons, Colorado, Precipice Peak, San Juan Mountains, Uncompahgre Peak, Uncompahgre Wilderness
Cimarron Sunlight : Prints Available

Overlooking the East and Middle Forks of the Cimarron River. Uncompahgre Peak (the tallest mountain in the San Juans at 14,309 ft.) towers at the head of the East Fork valley on the left. San Juan Mountains, Colorado. (Tip of the hat to Matt Payne for the location inspiration).

I’ve been enjoying all the spring green colors in the San Juans lately by getting out for a lot of day hikes and overnight backpacking trips in the Sneffels Range and Cimarrons near Ridgway here southwest Colorado. I’ve posted these and many more recent photos in a Spring in the San Juans gallery here.

A Pleasant Valley Sunset

Log Hill, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, Ridgway, Pleasant Valley
Pleasant Valley Sunset : Prints Available

A fantastic sunset cloud show above Pleasant Valley, the town of Ridgway, and the Sneffels Range, Colorado.

Log Hill, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, Mount Ridgway, sunset
Mount Ridgway Sunset : Prints Available

Sunset light on Mount Ridgway and the Sneffels Range – May.

Here’s a few photos from an amazing sunset we had here in Ridgway a couple evenings ago. I’ve posted these and more recent spring photos from the Sneffels Range here.

Hot Carves

Colorado, Ema's Rollers, Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, skiing

Claudia Brauer skis below Mt. Sneffels – May 2020.

This morning we got out for a [possibly] final ski/splitboard tour on the quickly melting snowpack. After what had been an amazing backcountry winter season here in the San Juans, April brought drought and pandemic, and I actually haven’t been out snowboarding since late March! So it felt amazing to make some carves again on soft spring corn snow today.

At the end of March the San Juan snowpack was at 100% average level, but April and May have been so hot and dry that the snowpack has dropped to only 25% of average for mid-May, and a mere 13% of what the snowpack was at this time after last year’s mega winter. In other words, last year there was 8 times the amount of now as right now! [See SNOTEL data chart here].

Check out this photo below of Claudia skiing in the same place as the photo above, in JUNE last year!

Colorado, Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, skiing

Claudia Brauer skis below Mt. Sneffels – June 2019.

Hopefully we get some weather and rain in late May and June, otherwise it could be a parched and smoky summer.

San Sophia High Camp

Colorado, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, tent, panorama, Mount Sneffels
San Sophia Sunset : Prints Available

Sunset at a 13,200 ft. high camp with a panoramic view of the Sneffels Range, Colorado. From left to right, the prominent peaks are Dallas Peak, Mount Emma, Gilpin Peak, Mount Sneffels, Cirque Mountain, Teakettle Mountain, and Potosi Peak.

It’s pretty rare to be able to camp up high in Colorado. In the summer the threat of thunderstorms above treeline is too terrifying, and in the winter it’s just too damn cold. But in mid-May I had a perfect window of opportunity to hike up and camp at 13,200 feet up on a high ridgeline here in the Sneffels Range of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. See all the photos here >>

Canyons Close to Home

Colorado, Dolores River, Dolores River Canyon Wilderness Study Area, Bedrock
Dolores Light : Prints Available

Sunrise light above the Dolores River, within the Dolores River Canyon Wilderness Study Area, southwest Colorado.

Yearning for some closer-to-home adventure this spring, we ventured out for a few quick overnight backpack trips to explore some canyon and desert areas along the Dolores and Gunnison Rivers, both major river drainages of the San Juan Mountains where we live in southwest Colorado. See more photos here >>