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

Posts Tagged ‘mountains’

View From The Sundeck

The top of Aspen Mtn provides some grand vistas of the surrounding mountains.

The top of Aspen Mtn provides some grand vistas of the surrounding mountains.

This is (part of) the view from the top of Aspen Mountain (Ajax). The Highland Bowl is on the right, and Pyramid Peak is the darker peak in the distance, center of the frame. The restaurant here at the top of Ajax is aptly named The Sundeck.

On my first day of work with SkiCo today, we went up to get the computers there at The Sundeck (and at the adjoining Aspen Mountain Club) ready for opening day on Thursday. Well, the gondola is not running full time yet, and we got “stuck” up there, so I was forced to sit outside and eat lunch with this as my view… Not a bad first day at work!

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a pic of the cloudless, sunny view there today—and I don’t seem to have any good wider-angle shots since I’ve been here—so, this is from a shot taken on my visit out here in Feb 2006.

Taken 2/26/2006.


Suspended Cars

Two gondola cars pass each other above Aspen Mtn ski area, amidst stormy skies.

Two gondola cars pass each other above Aspen Mtn ski area, amidst stormy skies.


Hiked Ajax just over a week after skiing there, for the late-season reopening during the Food & Wine Classic. Here, two gondolas cars pass each other, suspended high above Aspen Mountain. The stormy skies provide great shadowing and depth for the mountains and foothills down the valley.

Taken 6/22/2008.


View From Snowmass Creek

Looking at Snowmass Ski Area, from Snowmass Creek valley

Looking at Snowmass Ski Area, from Snowmass Creek valley

I helped a friend move today, from her place off Snowmass Creek Rd, and this was the view from her front porch! That is Snowmass Ski Area, looking at Sam’s Knob & Campground. So, now her place is available for rent too, and cheaper than where I am now. Hmm… I’m considering it, but it’s 20 minutes out of town. What a great view though!

Taken 11/14/2008.


Chapel And Shadow Mountain

after a fall dusting of snow on the Aspen Chapel and Shadow Mountain

after a fall dusting of snow on the Aspen Chapel and Shadow Mountain

The Aspen Chapel is one of the first picturesque buildings you see as you come into Aspen, right at the roundabout. It’s located such that there are great mountain backdrops in every direction, when photographing it. This particular view shows Shadow Mountain in the background; the front of which is part of Aspen Mountain ski area, and the Trainor’s double-black ski runs. There was good contrast provided by the fall colors and one of our first snows of the season. This was taken the same day as my earlier “Snow Is Coming” photo.

Taken 10/12/2008.


Last Run Ravens

end of day at Highlands, sunlight through clouds, ravens in lone gnarled tree

end of day at Highlands, sunlight through clouds, ravens in lone gnarled tree

This lone, weathered tree really stands out, on “Deception” ski run at Aspen Highlands (double-black in Oly Bowl), and it’s usually a good spot for a breather after the first pitch of pretty steep moguls there. This was my last run on this particular day (happy bday, sis!), and the sun was breaking through the clouds and really lighting up the snow where I was skiing, contrasting the darker areas all around me. This pair of ravens up in the tree squawked when I first came down–and helped draw my attention to the scene–but then they seemed content to let me hang out too, and take it all in… another good day on the hill! (ski day #13 of 52)

Taken 1/19/2008.


Alaska Views

Campsite at Grizzly Bear Lake, Chugach Range, Alaska

Campsite at Grizzly Bear Lake, Chugach Range, Alaska

OK, another non-Aspen view on the “Aspen Views” photoblog today… The topic of Alaska came up recently, and that got me thinking about my backpacking trip there a few years ago. It was shortly after my great visits out to Aspen; when I had decided I must move back to the mountains. This four-day adventure in the wilds of Alaska demonstrated to me exactly how out of shape I was, especially after our 12-hour hike on Day 3 (long days up there that time of year)! But the sheer magnitude and beauty of the place made up for a lot of the pain.

This photo shows our Day 2 campsite at Grizzly Bear Lake. My description from a blog entry I created a week afterwards reads, “The river/creek runs under a snow bridge, then down to the lake. It’s green and lush in the valley, surrounded by rugged peaks on all sides. The large rocks in the area where we camp were left behind as glacial moraine, and have long since been covered by moss and tundra vegetation. They look almost like small grass moguls on a flat ski slope, especially as the light gets low (it’s still dusk at midnight!).

My cousin Yvonne and her then-newlywed husband Billy were our outstanding guides for the trip, and Billy’s Peak a Week site gives a better fix on the location (with a map of our route), and has some great photos as well!

Taken 7/19/2006.


Independence Pass Morning

Black & White pic of sunny peak among clouds, from Independence Pass

Black & White pic of sunny peak among clouds, from Independence Pass

Somewhat thematic “Independence” pic for Election Day today… Had some great lighting, with the sun breaking through onto peaks with clouds all around, so I decided to try a Black & White photo. This was taken while driving up Independence Pass early in the morning, on the way to my Colorado Trail hike and Uncle Bud’s Hut trip (see my other posts from that trip, here on Aspen Views at, “Elbert And Massive” and “Sunset At Uncle Bud’s“.

Taken 9/21/2008.


Yin And Yang With Mountains

Mosaic of yin yang at top of the Rim Trail in Snowmass

Mosaic of yin yang at top of the Rim Trail in Snowmass

This wonderful mosaic—depicting the yin and yang taijitu in the center, and spiraling outward—can be found on top of the beginning section of the Rim Trail, just above Snowmass Village. Appropriately, there was great lighting from sun on the distant peaks to the north, beyond the cloudy skies overhead.

This first part of the Rim Trail provided a good short hike, with a bit of steepness to it, and providing great 360 views, with the option to continue on for the rest of the 6-7 mile loop.

Taken 5/26/2008.


Full Moon Sunrise

Full Moon at Sunrise over the mountains in Frisco, CO

Full Moon at Sunrise over the mountains in Frisco, CO

Full moon at sunrise in Frisco, CO (in Summit County, between Keystone and Copper Mtn).

One year ago today… I arrived in Aspen! One of the highlights of the 1000-mile trip from Illinois was watching the sun rise as I was driving into the mountains. The full moon set against the new snow on that ridge, as the sun was just starting to come up, made it rather surreal (that, or it was the sleep deprivation from driving a U-Haul twenty hours at that point!). I was so happy to be up in the mountains, just a few hours from Aspen. The view looking over Lake Dillon (near Keystone, Breckenridge ski areas) was pretty amazing at that point too.

Taken 10/27/2007.


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.


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.


Fall In Full Color

Fall Colors in Full Force!

Fabulous Fall Colors in Full Force!

Aspen trees in full glow on Aspen Mountain ski area. View from Ute rock, at the top of the Ute Trail, while hiking to the top of Aspen Mountain (aka, Ajax).

Taken 9/28/08.


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.