09 February 2010

Mount Bierstadt in Winter

Mount Bierstadt at Sunset5 February 2005
exactly three months after surgery

We got up at 4 a.m., determined to shoot a sunrise before attempting to climb Bierstadt. We met Todd and Shyanne in Georgetown. It was gray and windy. Today was supposed to be a bluebird day.

As we neared the top of Guanella Pass, the northern strip of sky above Otter Mountain turned hot pink.

“Pull over! Pull over!”

The pink spread slowly around us, all the way around, and then the gray returned the same way, slowly encircling us. The color lasted all of about two minutes. Long enough to fire off about 16 photos.

One of the beautiful pics of Otter Mountain draped in pink got a bonus when a raptor soared into the frame immediately after I pushed the shutter. I bought my first digital camera a year ago, and sometimes the shutter delay can be a blessing. Not always, but every once in a while.

We donned our snowshoes and were the second party on the trail. When I realized, approximately quarter of a mile in, that I would not be able to shoulder my Camelbak, The Lizard helped me move it to my front. Todd and Shyanne decided they’d had enough and turned back. That was disappointing.

I did okay with the pack on my front. We made it to about 12,000 feet. Another 200 feet or so, and we would have been on slightly steeper terrain. I'm glad we turned back. I didn't want to, but I was so tired. As it turned out, I can't do downhill yet. It hurts too much.

The highlight of my trip was seeing a flock of about 12-15 chubby white ptarmigans fly over The Lizard’s head while he was taking turns breaking trail with six guys who passed us. The birds must have been slightly behind The Lizard because he never saw them.

Later, he noticed a white ermine and tried to point it out to me. I got a brief glimpse of the critter bounding through the snow. No picture. No tiny black eyes. No black-tipped tail.

I realized I can't climb “Cupid” next weekend. (Yes, that’s really the name of a peak near Loveland Pass that I’ve been wanting to climb on Valentine’s Day just because.) And I realized I won't get a winter peak this year. The mountains will still be there next year, fortunately.
Sunrise on The Citadel


  1. wow, that's beautiful...(and COLD!)
    Btw if you have time join the scribbler, I just nominate your blog :-)

  2. Often your descriptions are as colorful as the photographs.


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

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