wilderness, mountains, and entertainment in the rocky mountain valhalla of Aspen, CO

landscapes/scenery

Departing Sunset

Amazing sunset in Champaign, IL days before I moved to Aspen

Amazing sunset in Champaign, IL days before I moved to Aspen

As I was packing up my house in Champaign, IL one year ago today, in preparation for my move to Aspen, I noticed an amazing glow outside… when I stepped out the front door, we were treated to one of the most amazing sunsets I’d seen in a long, long time. Everyone was standing outside admiring it.

As my friend Dan O’Brien said, “This sunset stopped traffic and had strangers talking.” He captured it even better on his photoblog at gct13.com!

Kind of a beautiful metaphor for my own sunset to my years back home, I’d say…


Empty Chair

An empty chair at Tiehack on Buttermilk ski area

An empty chair at Tiehack on Buttermilk ski area

Since the snow fell today, I’m thinking of ski season again! This photo is from one of my last ski days… taken when I skinned up Tiehack at Buttermilk, then skied down, one evening after the ski season ended. It was great, I had the mountain to myself, and had some great views of Pyramid Peak as I was coming up the ridge. In this photo, you can see Mt. Sopris below and left of the chair.

Taken 5/3/2008.


Early Snow On Sopris

Early snow on Mount Sopris

Early snow on Mount Sopris

I stopped at the scenic overlook on the way back up to Aspen after a recent downvalley trip (to engrave and ship the AHPI Trophy for the 10th annual event this past weekend!), to admire the view of Mount Sopris (12,965 ft) in Carbondale, CO.

It really is an impressive mountain; it dominates the landscape, rising 6,250 ft above the valley to the west in only 2.5 mi. A vertical rise of over 6,000 feet in under 3 miles is rare and impressive anywhere in the contiguous United States. And, on this particular day, the clouds and lighting on the peak made for an inspiring view.

Taken 10/10/2008.


Elbert And Massive

Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, from Uncle Bud's Hut

Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, from Uncle Bud's Hut

This black & white photo shows the great view of Colorado’s two highest peaks, Mt. Elbert (14,433 ft) and Mt. Massive (14,421 ft), from the porch of Uncle Bud’s Hut (11,380 ft), near Leadville, CO last month.

Mt. Massive was the first 14er I ever attempted, in July 1992, when I lived in Denver. We got up above 13,000 feet when a big storm rolled in (we actually got it on video, I’ll have to find that!), and we turned back; so I didn’t actually make the summit. Shortly thereafter, Mt. Elbert was my first successful 14er summit on 7/26/1992.

Taken 9/21/2008.


Sunset At Uncle Bud’s

Sunset at Uncle Bud's

Sunset at Uncle Bud's Hut

This was taken from the porch of Uncle Bud’s Hut (11,380 ft), near Leadville, CO last month. The views from the porch also included a great wide-open vista of the state’s two highest peaks, Mt. Elbert (14,433 ft) and Mt. Massive (14,421 ft). (I’ve climbed both!)

We hiked in 10 miles on the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail (the two trails coincide for about 200 miles), from the Tennessee Pass trailhead (near Ski Cooper and the 10th Mountain Memorial) to get to the hut. Then, the following day we hiked out a nice short 4-5 miles to Turquoise Lake. See more about the 10th Mountain Hut system at huts.org.

Taken 9/21/2008.


Pyramid And Bells

Pyramid Peak and Maroon Bells from Buckskin Pass

Pyramid Peak and Maroon Bells from Buckskin Pass

Yesterday’s photo showed the view from the start of the hike; so, this one shows the view from the top of Buckskin Pass (12,462 ft), from L to R: Pyramid Peak (14,018 ft), Thunder Pyramid (13,932 ft), North Maroon Peak (14,014 ft), and (just the tip of) Maroon Peak (14,156 ft).

Taken 10/15/2008.


The Maroon Bells

The Maroon Bells Scenic Area overlooking Maroon Lake

The Maroon Bells Scenic Area overlooking Maroon Lake

So… I’ve referenced the Maroon Bells a few times, and perhaps a few of you aren’t familiar with this area… well, now you get it! Gorgeous, awe-inspiring, and dubbed “the most photgraphed mountains in North America.”

This view is taken just a short walk from the Maroon Bells Scenic Area parking lot, overlooking Maroon Lake. I then hiked to the top of Buckskin Pass (12,462 ft), and ran all the way down (~3.75 miles, 3000 ft)… ooh my knees!

Taken 10/15/2008.


Sunset Over Sopris

Sunset Over Sopris

Sunset Over Sopris

The sun sets over Mount Sopris (12,965 ft) in Carbondale, CO as seen from upper Hunter Creek Rd on Red Mountain in Aspen. Taken 9/23/2008.


Snow Is Coming

Snow on Pyramid

Snow on Pyramid

We had a dusting of snow last night, which really highlights the high peaks in the area, and made for a great view of Pyramid Peak (14,018′) as I was leaving the Aspen Rec Center after coaching a hockey game this morning. You can also still see some bright yellow aspen trees scattered about as well, telling us it’s still Fall, but Winter is on the way…

Taken 10/12/2008.


Mountains Grass Snow

Thanksgiving 2007 Great view from back of Aspen Mtn

Thanksgiving 2007 Great view from back of Aspen Mtn

A great view after hiking down Little Annie’s Road, off the back of Aspen Mountain, less than a month after I moved to Aspen. The mountain wasn’t opened for skiing yet, but the gondola was open, so I went exploring… Good exercise, before eating and drinking waayyy too much.

Taken 11/22/2007.


Pyramid Peak On My 40th!

Approach to Pyramid Peak, framed by aspen trees.

Approach to Pyramid Peak, framed by aspen trees.

Figured I’d start this photoblog with one from my 40th birthday solo climb of Pyramid Peak, directly adjacent to the oft-photographed Maroon Bells. This photo shows the approach, and lower subpeaks of Pyramid, taken at the beginning of the climb, just past Maroon Lake.

More info about the peak and the route can be found on 14ers.com.

Taken 8/3/2008.