From the Vault: Mount Sneffels Dusk Panorama

Colorado, Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, panorama
Mount Sneffels Dusk Panorama : Prints Available

Mount Sneffels (14,150 ft.) towering over its surroundings at dusk in early June. San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

Like many other landscape photographers grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions, I have resorted to browsing through my photo archives as I dream of outdoor adventures. During one such hard drive foray I found some old unstitched panorama images and thought I’d work on putting them together finally. This photo was from a 2015 photo mission when I stayed up here well into the night to photograph the Milky Way over Mount Sneffels.

I wish you health, safety, and sanity during these uncertain times.

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.

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.

From the Vault: Lofoten Islands

Bunes, Lofoten Islands, Norway, Moskenesøya, beach
Bunes Morning : Prints Available

Morning at Bunes Beach on Moskenesøya Island – July.

The treasure hunt continues with these photos I recently unearthed from my hard drive, from the Lofoten Islands in Norway from back in July 2009. Though I often shot with my large format 4×5 film camera here, all these photos were taken with an Olympus E-620 digital SLR. While selecting the photos to publish after this trip, I think I was initially more focussed on the 4×5 photos and/or the more colorful sunrise/sunset shots, which is probably why I overlooked these no-less-worthy daytime photos.

Kjerkfjorden, Vindstad, Moskenesøya, Lofoten, Norway
Vindstad Peaks #2 : Prints Available

Kjerkfjorden and the little settlement of Vindstad on Moskenesøya Island.

Moskenesøya, Lofoten, Norway, reflection
Lofoten Blues : Prints Available

The rugged peaks of Moskenesøya Island reflect in a fjord on a calm summer morning

Flakstad,Lofoten Islands,Norway, tent
Flakstad Misty Reflection : Prints Available

Misty campsite near Flakstad.

Svolvær, Fløya, Austvågøya, Lofoten, Norway
Above Svolvær : Prints Available

The city of Svolvær as seen from the summit of Fløya on Austvågøya Island.

You can see my gallery of photos from Norway here. You can also read my trip reports from my travels in Norway here.

From the Vault: More Zugspitze

Zugspitze Moonlight : Prints Available

The moon shines above the clouds.

Here are a couple more photos from our night and morning on the summit of Zugspitze (2962m), Germany’s tallest mountain, back in August 2013. See all the photos and read more about our climb up Zugspitze here.

Zugspitze Morning : Prints Available

Morning on the summit of Zugspitze.

From the Vault: Cimon della Pala

Cimon della Pala, Passo Rolle, Dolomites, Italy
Misty Cimon della Pala : Prints Available

Cimon della Pala is revealed glowing in evening light as low clouds thin out from Passo Rolle.

In the last few months I’ve been steadily working on reorganizing my photo archives in Lightroom, and during the process I’ve unearthed quite a few gems that I had overlooked during the initial selection process. So in the next few days and weeks I’ll be sharing many of these finds.

Cimon della Pala,Dolomites,Europe,Italy,San Martino, Passo Rolle
Pala Winter Shadows : Prints Available

Cimon della Pala rises over Passo Rolle high above the town of San Martino di Castrozza – December.

This first batch comes from December of 2010 when I spent a week in the small town of San Martino di Castrozza in the Italian Dolomites. Every day I’d drive my rental car up the winding road to Passo Rolle to ski around looking for a variety of photo angles of the immense jagged spire of Cimon della Pala – one of the most striking peaks in a region full of striking peaks.

Cimon della Pala, Dolomites,Europe,Italy,San Martino
Malga Bocche : Prints Available

A December snowstorm envelopes the mountains around Cimon della Pala.

Check out more of my photos from the Dolomites here.

2013 in a Nutshell

Ouray, San Juan mountains, Colorado, winter, panorama, dawn, february, lights
Ouray Winter Dawn Panorama : Prints Available

The lights of Main Street after a fresh snowfall in Ouray, Colorado on a clear February morning in the San Juan Mountains. The mountains to the right are illuminated by the setting moon.

As we start a new year, here’s a look back at my most memorable photos and adventures of 2013.

Powder, ski, San Juan Mountains, backcountry, Colorado
February Powder

Dan Chehayl skis deep powder in the San Juan backcountry.

The winter of 2013 ended up being a second disappointing winter season in a row here in the San Juans, with below average snowfall and above average avalanche danger. However, the month of February was an exception, bringing lots of powder with decent-enough stability to ride it.

yurt, stars, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, winter, march, night, snow
Yurt Under the Stars : Prints Available

A cozy backcountry yurt in the snow on a winter night in March – San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

In March Claudia and I went on a couple great backcountry ski trips – one to a friend’s yurt in the San Juans, and another trip in late March to a couple ski huts in the southern Gore Range. Claudia did her first good tree skiing on this trip; it’s been a joy to watch her powder skiing skills progress!

Parsons Landing, campfire, Catalina Island, California
Parsons Landing Campfire

Enjoying the warmth of a campfire on the beach at Parsons Landing – April.

In April we went on a road trip out to California to visit my grandma for her 100th birthday! We continued on to trek the 45-mile Trans Catalina Trail across the entire Catalina Island – a place I loved visiting with my family when I was growing up, and which I was excited to show Claudia. It was quite a novelty for us to backpack on an island and camp on beaches!

slot canyon, Zebra, Escalante National Monument, Utah
Zebra Slot : Prints Available

The famous Zebra Slot – not very deep or long, but one of the most photogenic slot canyons in Utah.

On the way back we spent a long week in the canyons of Utah, mainly in the Escalante and Capitol Reef regions, doing great day hikes every day and camping in our new truck each night. (The month before, I managed to roll our old truck off an icy road – fortunately we weren’t hurt at all, though the truck was totaled).

Owl Creek Canyon, Cedar Mesa, Utah, camping, stars, canyon
Canyon Camping : Prints Available

Camping under the stars in Owl Creek Canyon, Utah.

We returned to Utah in May for a wonderful backpack trip through Fish and Owl Creek canyons in Cedar Mesa.

Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, sunset, alpenglow
Alpenglow on Mt. Sneffels : Prints Available

Sunset light illuminates the 14,150 ft. summit of Mt. Sneffels, as seen from a high ridgeline in June, San Juan Mountains.

By June the meager snowpack in the San Juans had pretty much already melted out, enabling us to go on a number of high alpine backpacking trips a month earlier than usual (and also enabling huge wildfires to burn much of the southeastern San Juans). We camped up on a high ridge of Mt. Sneffels; summited Whitehouse Mountain, an obscure peak high above Ouray; and climbed Wetterhorn Peak from Wetterhorn Basin.

Allgäuer Alps, Germany, hiking
Mindelheimer Klettersteig Trail

Allgäuer Alps, Germany.

After much preparation and anticipation, in July we flew to Europe for 3 months of vacation. After visiting Claudia’s family in Dresden for a couple weeks, we rode the train down to Oberstdorf in southern Germany and went on an amazing hut trek through the Allgäuer Alps with her friends Susanne and Dominik.

Rappensee, Allgäuer Alps, Germany, wildflowers, sunset, Kleiner Rappenkopf, reflection
Rappensee : Prints Available

Wildflowers and a pleasant sunset at Rappensee, with a reflection of the Kleiner Rappenkopf (2276m). Allgäuer Alps, Germany.

Lechtal Alps, Austria, Dremelspitze, Hanauer Hütte, sunset, reflection
Dremelspitze Reflection : Prints Available

Brilliant sunset light illuminates Dremelspitze (2733m), as seen from above the Hanauer Hütte.

Our next big trek was through the fantastic Lechtal Alps just across the border in Austria. By now I was really enjoying the lightweight hut-to-hut trekking style that is so readily available in the Alps.

Dolomites, Italy, Tre Cime, Lavaredo, Drei Zinnen
Tre Cime Dawn : Prints Available

Dawn glow illuminates Tre Cime di Lavaredo / Drei Zinnen (2998m).

In August we met up with Claudia’s father and brother for a fun-filled week of via ferrata climbing in the spectacular Dolomites in Italy.

Dolomites, Italy, via ferrata, Salvezza, Strada degli Alpini
Salvezza Chasm : Prints Available
Dolomites, Italy, Rosengarten, via ferrata, Laurenzi, Molignon
Laurenzi : Prints Available

Climbing along the ridgeline of Molignon during the Via Ferrata Laurenzi.

Claudia and I spent another week in the Dolomites, trekking through the Rosengarten range with some really challenging via ferrata climbing routes mixed in.

Dolomites, Italy, Vajolet, Torri del Vajolet, Rosengarten, sunset
Vajolet Towers Sunset : Prints Available

Brilliant sunset light illuminates the Vajolet Towers in the Rosengarten as misty clouds swirl off the peaks.

Zugspitze, Wetterstein, Germany, klettersteig
Looking Down Zugspitze

After leaving the Dolomites, we went back to Bavaria to climb Zugspitze, the tallest peak in Germany. We took the classic Höllental route, which gains over 7,200 vertical feet, much of which is a long sustained via ferrata (or klettersteig in German) cabled climbing route.

Zugspitze, Wettersteingebirge, Germany, summit, sunset
Zugspitze Summit Sunset : Prints Available

Sunset light as seen from the summit Zugspitze (2962m), the highest mountain in Germany.

Pic du Midi d'Ossau. Lac Gentau, Refuge d'Ayous, Pyrenees, France
Lac Gentau Reflection : Prints Available

Dusk reflection of Pic du Midi d’Ossau in Lac Gentau near the Refuge d’Ayous in the Pyrenees, France – September.

Our final adventure in Europe was a September trek through the Pyrenees along the border of France and Spain. We intended to hike from hut to hut for three weeks in this range; however, unfortunately after one week Claudia took a scary tumble and broke her sternum, earning us a helicopter ride out and a couple nights in a French hospital. We had big plans to spend the months of October and November trekking in the Himalaya in Nepal, but with Claudia’s injury there was no question that we had to cancel that part of the trip. Although it was a disappointing setback, it’s all good… we hope to go there this next year instead, and I’m just extremely grateful that Claudia is ok (she’s totally healed now).

Blue Lakes, Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, winter, camp, tent, snow, moonlight
Blue Lakes Winter Moonlight : Prints Available

Winter camp in the snow above lower Blue Lake, Sneffels Range, Colorado – October.

Back home in southwest Colorado, we have been treated with abundant early season snow, and this winter has already been far superior to the previous two!

skiing, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, December
Bluebird Pow Pow

Skier: Chris Cover

For 2014, I’m hoping that it snows nonstop until May and look forward to lots more splitboarding action, ski hut trips, and probably some winter camping at some point. In the spring I’m sure we’ll get out to the Utah desert for some backpacking and car camping road tripping. For this next summer we are excited that Claudia’s father and family are coming to visit us here, and we’ve also been talking about backpacking in the Cascades in Washington and the Wind Rivers in Wyoming… maybe even work our way up into Canada… who knows… As usual, I’m always dreaming and I want to do it all! In the autumn we are hoping to finally get over to the Himalaya to trek the routes we had planned on doing this last year. 2014 promises to be as adventurous as 2013, maybe even more so!

Finally, I want to give a warm THANK YOU to everybody who reads my blog and who has supported my habits by purchasing my prints and licensing my photos. I truly appreciate it!


A Morning to Remember

I just processed some more panoramas from an epic morning in front of the mighty Fitz Roy in Argentine Patagonia back in December 2011. This was one of the most memorable photo experiences of my life; read about it in my trip report post here. Click on each one to view larger!

Fitz Roy, El Chalten, Argentina, Patagonia, sunrise, panorama, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
Fitz Roy Sunrise Panorama #1 : Prints Available
Fitz Roy, El Chalten, Argentina, Patagonia, sunrise, panorama, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
Fitz Roy Sunrise Panorama #2 : Prints Available
Fitz Roy, El Chaltén, Argentina, Patagonia, sunrise, panorama, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
Fitz Roy Sunrise Panorama #3 : Prints Available

You can see all my photos from the Fitz Roy range here.

Mount of the Holy Cross

Mount of the Holy Cross, Sawatch Range, Colorado, Notch Mountain, October
Stormy Holy Cross : Prints Available

Mount of the Holy Cross, 14,005 feet, as seen from Notch Mountain – Holy Cross Wilderness, October 2003.

I just dug up this photo from deep in my archives while searching for a photo request of this mountain. I took this shot way back in October 2003, just over ten years ago! Back then I was in the early stages of being serious about photography. So much has happened in my life and my photography in the decade since then… It almost seems like it should have been 20 years ago, not just ten! It’s so amazing how much life you can fit into ten years. And it makes me wonder what’s in store for the next ten years…

Anyhow, Notch Mountain, in the Sawatch Range just south of Vail, Colorado, has a perfect front-and-center view of Mount of the Holy Cross and its east facing cross couloir, made famous in 1873 by legendary wilderness photographer William H. Jackson. In the early 20th century, the mountain became a destination of Christian pilgrimages, and a rock hut was built on Notch Mountain (very close to where this photo was taken) for shelter during Sunday mass at 13,000 feet. The hut is still there, and back in October ’03 my friend Todd and I backpacked up there and used it for shelter ourselves. This was a memorable trip, so I thought I’d write up a trip report, ten years later. Continue reading “Mount of the Holy Cross”