Hot Carves

Colorado, Ema's Rollers, Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, skiing

Claudia Brauer skis below Mt. Sneffels – May 2020.

This morning we got out for a [possibly] final ski/splitboard tour on the quickly melting snowpack. After what had been an amazing backcountry winter season here in the San Juans, April brought drought and pandemic, and I actually haven’t been out snowboarding since late March! So it felt amazing to make some carves again on soft spring corn snow today.

At the end of March the San Juan snowpack was at 100% average level, but April and May have been so hot and dry that the snowpack has dropped to only 25% of average for mid-May, and a mere 13% of what the snowpack was at this time after last year’s mega winter. In other words, last year there was 8 times the amount of now as right now! [See SNOTEL data chart here].

Check out this photo below of Claudia skiing in the same place as the photo above, in JUNE last year!

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

Claudia Brauer skis below Mt. Sneffels – June 2019.

Hopefully we get some weather and rain in late May and June, otherwise it could be a parched and smoky summer.

San Sophia High Camp

Colorado, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, tent, panorama, Mount Sneffels
San Sophia Sunset : Prints Available

Sunset at a 13,200 ft. high camp with a panoramic view of the Sneffels Range, Colorado. From left to right, the prominent peaks are Dallas Peak, Mount Emma, Gilpin Peak, Mount Sneffels, Cirque Mountain, Teakettle Mountain, and Potosi Peak.

It’s pretty rare to be able to camp up high in Colorado. In the summer the threat of thunderstorms above treeline is too terrifying, and in the winter it’s just too damn cold. But in mid-May I had a perfect window of opportunity to hike up and camp at 13,200 feet up on a high ridgeline here in the Sneffels Range of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. See all the photos here >>

2019 Spring Skiing in the San Juans

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

Claudia Brauer skis below Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Colorado – June.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you may wonder if I’ve given up on snowboarding since I haven’t posted hardly any ski/snowboard photos this winter. Well, while I haven’t been posting much, I have been out on the snow a lot this season, especially this spring! Continue reading >>

Starlight on Sneffels

Colorado, Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, summit, Milky Way, Telluride
Sneffels Starlight : Prints Available

The Milky Way as seen from the 14,150 ft. summit of Mt. Sneffels in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. The clouds are illuminated by the lights of Telluride, and the horizon glow is from Durango.

The winter of 2018-2019 in the San Juan Mountains has been one for the records books, with about 600% of average snowpack at the start of June. With all this beautiful snow in the mountains this spring, lately I’ve been having some hairbrained photo mission ideas – one of which was to hike up Mt. Sneffels in the dark to take some star photos from the summit. With no moon and a decently clear weather forecast I figured this last Friday night was my opportunity. I’ve hiked up Sneffels several times before via moonlight, but this was my first time with just starlight and a headlamp! See more photos >>

Mount Hayden Backcountry Lodge

Colorado, Mount Hayden Backcountry Lodge, San Juan Mountains, United States Mountain, cabin

Dusk at the Mount Hayden Backcountry Lodge, with United States Mountain towering above. San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

This weekend we had a wonderful stay at Eric Johnson’s Mount Hayden Backcountry Lodge. Located in Richmond Basin in a remote corner of the San Juan Mountains between Ouray and Telluride, the lodge is surrounded by a powder playground of skiable terrain. With heaps of fresh snow awaiting us, we were excited to have three days to ski and splitboard to our hearts’ content. Continue reading >>