Spring Snow in the Ruby Range

Colorado, Crested Butte, Ruby Range, Augusta Mountain, May

Southeast face of Augusta Mountain (12,559 ft.)

The ski area of Crested Butte oftentimes suffers from lower-than-expected snowfall amounts, but just 9 miles to the west/northwest the Ruby Range gets hammered with some of the highest snowfall totals in Colorado. All winter long I’ve gazed wistfully at the snow-smothered Ruby Range peaks, tantalizingly out of reach for those of us without snowmobiles. In late May now that much of the lower access roads have melted out, yesterday I finally had the chance to get out for a spring descent up in these mountains. Daniel and I hiked up and skied/rode down Mineral Point, the prominent pyramid-shaped peak visible up valley as you drive into the town of Crested Butte.

Colorado, Crested Butte, Ruby Range, Purple Mountain, May

The south face of Purple Mountain (12,958 ft.) in late May, begging to be skied.

Later in the afternoon back in town sipping beer in the sun, I gazed up the valley at the peak we just descended, pleased to finally be thinking “I just rode that!” instead of “I wish I could ride that!”

A Night Above Crested Butte

Colorado,Crested Butte,tent, moonlight, Ruby Range, Elk Mountains, dusk
Winter Camp over Crested Butte

Winter camp at dusk above the town of Mount Crested Butte, with moonrise light illuminating the Ruby Range and Elk Mountains – April.

Lately I’ve been itching for a camping adventure but have been too busy to do anything too ambitious or far away. Since we live across the street from Mt. Crested Butte, yesterday I figured what the hell, I might as well just skin up the ski slopes and camp up there for a night! It wasn’t exactly a wilderness experience (I could actually see our condo down below), but it was still nice to spend a quiet evening under the moonlight gazing at the mountains.

Ouray Powder

Colorado,San Juan Mountains,skiing, aspens, powder, January, Don Moden

Skiing deep powder in an aspen forest – January.  Skier: Don Moden.

Colorado, and most of the west for that matter, has been getting pounded by a powerful winter storm these last few days. This last weekend we did a quick trip to Ouray to catch up with some friends and get out for some backcountry powder turns.

Backcountry skiing in the San Juans, Colorado
Skier: Claudia Brauer.
Backcountry skiing in the San Juans, Colorado
Skier: Don Moden.

Although we were both a bit sad to leave, after two great days of skiing we hightailed it through the blizzard back to Crested Butte, where two feet of powder blanketed the Butte by Monday!

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.