The snow keeps coming here in Colorado! I’ve been getting after it lately, splitboarding just about every chance I can get. My lack of recent posts here is simply due to a lack of good photos to share; we’ve mostly been skiing in the trees where the avalanche danger isn’t so severe. On tap: more snow, more riding, and perhaps even a hut trip next week! What a great winter so far…
Winter continues to produce here in southwest Colorado; the last series of snowstorms dumped another 3 feet of snow across much of the San Juans! On Friday and Saturday we scored some fantastic powder days at Wolf Creek ski area in what is becoming an annual early season pilgrimage. I could be wrong but I think that right now Wolf Creek and the San Juans have more snow than anywhere else in the country! Pretty awesome for November in Colorado. To see how much more snow there is this year so far, compare these photos to how bare it was at the same time last year!
On Monday the storm broke and we enjoyed a glorious bluebird day up on the pass, where Claudia put all her recent powder training to good use. I continue to be impressed and excited about her skiing progression; she’s definitely getting the hang of skiing powder!
The snowpack is very reactive right now so we chose mellow routes to ski yesterday. Remember, always read (and take heed of) the avalanche reports before venturing into the backcountry.
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!
You can see all my photos from the Fitz Roy range here.
After a solid month and a half of development work, I’ve finally launched my new gallery website design! Check it out at www.MountainPhotography.com.
A few notable new features, aside from the new darker design, include the big full-page homepage slideshow and a reworked galleries page that showcases the first six photos of each gallery followed by a link to view them all. The website is also responsive, so the page layouts and images will expand and contract as necessary to fit a variety of screens ranging from cell phones to big screen monitors.
I’ve also reorganized and simplified the galleries. I’ve grouped the photos together into broader categories – still location-based, but more generalized and without so many divided sub-galleries. For example, instead of having separate Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana galleries, I’ve bunched all the photos into a single “Northern Rockies” gallery. Not only does this tactic reduce the amount of clicking around, it also frees me from the feeling that I need to populate all those separate location sub-galleries with “filler” photos.
Despite my best efforts to test the new website on a variety of devices, I’m sure there’s bound to be some issues I missed. So if you see something wonky please let me know! Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think of the new website, good or bad.
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”
Dan and I (and his dog) went out this morning to track up some more powder. Another storm should roll through soon… woohoo!
This morning Jeff and I went back out to enjoy some more of the early season powder. The last few days of snowstorms dumped a good amount of new snow in the higher San Juans, and the snowpack is now noticeably deeper than last time we went out.
Full-on winter conditions up high, with a cold wind and poor visibility in the foggy/snowy clouds.
Next step: bootpack up the left side of this mountain.
Upon reaching the top of our line, we waited as long as our patience could stand for the clouds to clear, but it seemed that the cloud was stuck on the mountain top. Finally we just had to go for it despite the poor visibility.
The lower we went, the better the visibility and the deeper the powder! Eventually we were arching high speed carves down the open basin.
Not too shabby for the 1st of November! I hope it keeps snowing until June.
Last night I pulled my splitboard out of the attic in anticipation of the first turns of winter. As we drove up the pass this morning everything was covered in frosty snow… what a glorious morning! I had to pull over and take a snapshot of the frosty aspens.
The snowpack looking a bit dubious on this southern slope on the way up.
Fortunately the north facing slopes were filled in with powder and looking good! Here’s Jeff getting in the groove. We just did one line but damn it was satisfying! I’m hoping for a good winter this season here in the San Juans after the last two crappy ones…
Hungry for an adventure, on Tuesday I hiked up to Blue Lakes in the Sneffels Range to camp out in the snow. Late autumn can be a good time for winter camping – kind of like “diet” winter camping since there’s less snow to deal with and usually less avalanche danger (*depending, of course). Also, road access to most trailheads is still possible, and if you time it right the alpine lakes aren’t frozen yet which can offer some nice photo opportunities.
The weather forecast called for a brief but intense snowstorm, with little or no wind! Perfect time to head out into the mountains. Sure enough, in the late afternoon just as I was setting up the tent the storm clouds rolled into the mountains and it started snowing in earnest. I fell asleep to the sound of snowflakes falling on the tent, cozy in my puffy down cocoon. In the middle of the night, around 2:30am, I woke up and saw moonlight shining on the tent. I poked my head out and saw a dreamlike scene as the storm clouds were lifting off the peaks and the fresh snow glistened in the moonlight. Of course I jumped out of the tent as fast as I could to photograph the moment!
Though the clouds still covered the peaks in the morning, eventually they gave way to crystal clear blue skies.