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”

Early Season Stoke!

snowbow, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, Red Mountain Pass
San Juan Snowbow : Prints Available

As clouds of snowflakes blow by, the sun shines through creating a strange luminescent snow-rainbow effect.

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.

Skinning up a snowy ridge.

Full-on winter conditions up high, with a cold wind and poor visibility in the foggy/snowy clouds.

Mountain in the mist

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.

Skiing in the San Juan.
Skier: Jeff Skoloda.

Skiing in the San Juans, Colorado

The lower we went, the better the visibility and the deeper the powder! Eventually we were arching high speed carves down the open basin.

Ski, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, November

Not too shabby for the 1st of November! I hope it keeps snowing until June.

First Turns of Winter

Frosty Aspens

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.

Hiking Up in the Snow

The snowpack looking a bit dubious on this southern slope on the way up.

First Turns of the Winter

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…

Winter Camping at Blue Lakes

Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, winter, camp, tent, snowy

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!

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 – October.

Though the clouds still covered the peaks in the morning, eventually they gave way to crystal clear blue skies.

Continue reading “Winter Camping at Blue Lakes”

A Few More Photos from the Pyrenees

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 – September.

I have just updated my trip report from our trek in the Pyrenees with newly processed photos. This was our final trek of our European travels this last summer, and thus the last new photos I have to post from Europe.

Our trek through the Pyrenees was cut short by an unfortunate injury, and so I hope to return someday to see many parts of the range that we missed. And concerning the Alps and Europe in general, there are so many mountains there to see I feel like we only scratched the surface during our two months of trekking there. We could spend many many summers there before really getting a solid grasp on that mighty mountain range, and hopefully we’ll get the chance to do so in the future.

More Zugspitze Photos

Here’s a few photos of sunset and sunrise from our night atop the Zugspitze, the tallest mountain in Germany. See the complete trip report here, including photos from the 7,000+ vertical foot hike and klettersteig climb of the Höllental route.

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

Sunset light as seen from the summit of Zugspitze (2962m).

Zugspitze, Wettersteingebirge, Germany, sunset, clouds
Zugspitze Above the Clouds : Prints Available

Sunset light on a rugged ridge of Zugspitze, high above the clouds.

Zugspitze, Wettersteingebirge, Germany, sunrise, summit
Zugspitze Summit Sunrise : Prints Available

Sunrise on the top of Zugspitze (2962m), the highest mountain in Germany.

The Vajolet Towers

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.

Here’s “The Shot” I spoke about from the magical sunset we witnessed during our trek through the Rosengarten in the Dolomites in Italy back in August. It was such a sublime moment – truly one the most memorable and spectacular events I’ve witnessed in nature. If this photo conveys just a fraction of the true life experience, then I’m happy with it!

By the way, I’ve updated the original Rosengarten trip report, including this and other new photos. Check it out.

Photos from the Sesto/Sextener Dolomites

I’ve just posted some new landscape photos taken during the first half of our time in the Dolomites this summer, near Sexten and Cortina mainly around the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, an impressive cluster of vertical peaks that look like rock knives thrust up from inside the earth. Despite my best efforts, the rainy overcast weather during that week offered precious few photo opportunities. Nevertheless, I did manage to grab a couple nice photos before and after the storm! See the full updated trip report here.

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

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

Dolomites, Italy
Tre Cime B/W : Prints Available

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

Tre Cime, Lavaredo, Drei Zinnen, enrosadira, Dolomites, Italy, reflection
Enrosadira Reflection : Prints Available

Brilliant enrosadira sunset light on Tre Cime di Lavaredo / Drei Zinnen (2998m) reflected in a small lake.

Dolomites, Italy, Misurina
Evening Above Misurina : Prints Available

Dusk light over the Dolomites as seen from the base of Tre Cime, far over the village of Misurina.

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