Situated in the center of the San Miguel Range near Telluride, Colorado, Gladstone Peak (13,913 ft.) is overshadowed by its two popular neighboring fourteeners Wilson Peak and Mount Wilson. But Gladstone is an awesome peak with a dramatic pyramid shape, and in my opinion one of the more photogenic mountains of the San Juans.
With a clear and calm weather forecast and a rock solid snowpack from previous sub-freezing nights, I knew I had an opportunity for a high camp to photograph a portrait of Gladstone Peak. Donning my crampons, I headed over the pass by Wilson Peak then up a steep snowfield to a high ridge of Mount Wilson directly facing Gladstone from across a saddle.
The precipitous ridge I intended to camp on was nothing but jagged boulders, but after scrambling around for a while I finally found one spot that was flat enough to camp on – after a bit of work! I started by filling in the larger holes with big rocks, then filled in the gaps with snow harvested from a nearby snowdrift. After two hours of work I had a flat platform between boulders to put my tent on, except for one problem – my tent was longer than the platform! No problem, I just let the tent hang off of the edge by about a foot and tied off all the guylines. While laying down on my air mattress, my feet were hanging off the edge! Still safe enough, but a bit strange.
I spent the afternoon just relaxing and soaking in the views from my 13,400-foot high perch, then enjoyed photographing Gladstone at sunset, and once again in the middle of the night when the moon rose.