For all of August and September 2017, my wife and I lived out of our truck and tent while traveling around and backpacking in our great state of Colorado. We did over a dozen backpacking trips in various mountain ranges throughout the state, including the Flat Tops, Gore Range, Sawatch Range, San Juans, Sangre de Cristos, and Indian Peaks. I’ve posted my various photo journals from each trek on the Trip Reports page of my gallery site; here links to all those journals, in chronological order.
It had been snowing for nearly three weeks straight in the northern mountains of Colorado. With the northwest storm flow forecasted to dump a few more heavy punches before finally clearing out, last week I checked the 10th Mtn. Division Huts schedule and to my delight I was able to make last minute reservations for three nights at the Fowler/Hilliard Hut, located on a snowy ridge in the mountains north of Leadville, south of Vail. Claudia and I spent a few nights there last spring and had a great time skiing the endless ski terrain around the hut. This trip was shaping up to be even snowier! Continue reading “Powderfest at the Fowler/Hilliard Hut”→
Last week we spent four days and three nights on a 10th Mountain Division ski hut tour in the southern Gore Range of Colorado! The first leg of our trip took us to the Jackal Hut, which is perched on a high ridge with expansive views towards Leadville and the highest peaks of Colorado in the Sawatch Range.
Our trip coincided with the full moon, and it would have been a perfect night for some moonlight skiing but we were too whooped from breaking trail up through Pearl Creek to the hut to motivate. Lesson learned: stay at least two nights at each hut so you can spend a day skiing… that’s the whole point after all!
After one night at the Jackal Hut, we made the grueling 7-mile trek to the Fowler/Hilliard Hut – again breaking trail all the way up from Resolution Creek to the ridge of Resolution Mountain. Normally putting in a skin track isn’t so bad, but it’s a different story with a heavy pack!
I just dug this photo from the dusty depths of my hard drive. I took this sunset shot of Snow Peak (13,024 ft.) way back in March 2004. I was living in Denver at the time, and took advantage of an unseasonably warm spell in March to go winter camping up on this high ridge in the Gore Range, just east of Vail.
One of the great things about the Gore Range is that on the west side of the range there are numerous high points and ridges that are relatively safely accessible in the winter, offering awesome panoramic views of the main spine of the range. Better yet, the west side of the range gets great sunset alpenglow light since there are no large ranges directly to the west. From a photography point of view, sunset shooting is always a bit easier since you don’t have to wake up early, and you can spend the afternoon casually scoping out photo possibilities. On this evening, I had a really fun photo shoot; there were so many photo possibilities in every direction, and the wind-sculpted sastrugi snow formations on the ridge provided lots of interesting foreground possibilities. You can see some more photos from this evening here, here, and here.