Through the Dunes

Colorado,Great Sand Dunes
Sunset Ripples : Prints Available

Sunset deep in the Great Sand Dunes.

The Great Sand Dunes in southern Colorado are perhaps the most unique landscape in the Rockies, with 700-foot tall sand dunes nestled at the foot of 13,000-foot mountains. Winds that blow across the vast San Luis Valley carry sand grains which become trapped by the towering Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and the streams that flow out of the mountains keep the sand in one place, resulting in the tallest dunes of North America.

Last week we spent 3 days trekking around and through the Great Sand Dunes. Similar to a trek I did back in March 2009, in which I circumnavigated the entire dunefield, we hiked up the Sand Ramp Trail along the east side of the dunes, then this time instead of circling around the entire dunes we cut directly through the dunes from north to south back to our starting point.

See lots more photos and the whole trip report below! Continue reading “Through the Dunes”

Springtime in the San Juans

Mt. Sneffels, Colorado, San Juan Mountains, May, spring, aspens, sunset
Sneffels Spring Sunset : Prints Available

Mt. Sneffels and freshly budded aspens in the Sneffels Range, May.

It’s a particularly beautiful time right now here in southwest Colorado, with the snowy peaks towering above brilliant green meadows and freshly budded aspen groves.

Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, aspens, spring, sunset
Aspen Evening : Prints Available

Sunset light filters through springtime aspens – May.

Mt. Sneffels, Double RL, ranch, Ridgway, Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, panorama
Double RL Spring Panorama : Prints Available

Mt. Sneffels and the Sneffels Range tower above the Double RL ranch near Ridgway, Colorado – May.

Larger View

Exhibit at Steamboat Art Museum

Steamboat Art Museum

I am pleased to be participating in the Colorado Nature Photography Invitational exhibit at the Steamboat Art Museum from May 30 – July 15, 2014. Five large prints of mine will be on display, along with impressive work from 10 other Colorado photographers including Monte Trumbull, Anne Rusk, Rich Voninski, Todd Caudle, Angela Classen, Joshua Hardin, Jason Hatfield, Scott Fricke, Jim Steinberg, and Rod Hanna. Go see!

Sneffels Ski

Colorado,Yankee Boy, Gilpin Peak,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range

What better way to cap off a memorable winter season in the San Juans than a spring descent of Mt. Sneffels, the monarch of the Sneffels Range.

Skinning up Yankee Boy Basin

My partner for the day was Karl, our new friend from Germany who we randomly met and skied with the previous day. We left the truck at sunrise in order to get up and down the mountain before the hot May sun nuked the snow.

Colorado,Mt. Sneffels,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, Lavendar Col
Climbing up the Lavendar Col on Mt. Sneffels – May.
Colorado,Mt. Sneffels,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range
Hiking to the summit of Mt. Sneffels (14,150 ft.) – May.

What a glorious day to be up high in the San Juans! There’s no denying by now that Mt. Sneffels has to be one of my favorite peaks in the world.

Colorado,Mt. Sneffels,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, skiing
Karl Trellinger skis down Mt. Sneffels.

And there’s no better way to enjoy a favorite peak than to ski/snowboard down it!

Colorado,Mt. Sneffels,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, skiing
Skier: Karl Trellinger.

Still Going

Hiking by Teakettle Mountain

At the end of May we’re still enjoying great snow up here in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado! Here’s a few shots from the weekend.

snowboarding,Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range
Rider: Mikel Goicoechea.

Mikel made the journey down from Boulder and as usual he brought his good snow karma with him. We repeated a big route in the Sneffels Range that Charlie and I rode a few weeks back.

May powder

Showers on Saturday night dropped about 7 inches of snow in the high country. Sure, we’ll take some powder turns in late May, why not?

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

Snowboarder: Mikel Goicoechea.  Mt. Sneffels in the background.  May.

skiing, Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range
Skier: Claudia Brauer.

Day 7

Cirque Mountain,Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, skiing
Skinning up high in the Sneffels Range – April.

Today marks my (and also Charlie’s) seventh day out splitboarding in a row. This last week since the big dump has been one of the best continuous stretches of snowboarding that I can remember… and it’s not over yet!

Cirque Mountain,Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, Teakettle, Potosi Peak, April

Arriving at the summit!

Today we climbed and rode down another big 13er in the neighborhood.

Cirque Mountain,Colorado,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, snowboarding
Charlie Bartosek riding amongst the giants.

P e r f e c t  snow conditions today – old powder in the transition to pure spring corn snow, soft and smooth for high speed carving.

Backcountry snowboarding in the San Juans, Colorado

Riding Gilpin

Colorado,Gilpin Peak,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, skiing
Skinning towards our destination: Gilpin Peak (13,694 ft.), San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

During yesterday’s splitboard tour, I could see that the big north couloir of Gilpin Peak was in the best shape I’ve ever seen it, full of smooth snow without any chunder. This line has been on my wish list for years, and Charlie, Dan, and I decided to come back today to track it up.

Colorado,Gilpin Peak,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range

Colorado,Gilpin Peak,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, snowboarding
Rider: Charlie Bartosek. Backdrop: Mt. Sneffels.
Colorado,Gilpin Peak,San Juan Mountains,Sneffels Range, skiing
Skier: Dan Chehayl. Backdrop: Teakettle and Potosi.
Colorado, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, skiing
Skier: Claudia Brauer.