Trip Reports (San Juan Mountains)

Photo journals from some of my outdoor photography adventures, starting with the most recent.

Late Early Summer in the San Juans, Colorado
June-July 2019

Last year in the spring of 2018 I was talking about how that winter's meager snowpack had caused summer to arrive a full month early in May, and I was able to trek from Ouray to Telluride in mid-May when normally that would be a mid-June type of thing to do...

Spring Skiing in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado
April-June 2019

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! 

2018-2019 was a winter to remember in Colorado, with roughly 160% of average snowpack by late winter...

Starlight on Sneffels, Colorado
June 2019

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...

A Snowy Sunrise in the San Juans, Colorado
May 2019

The exceptionally snowy winter in the San Juans keeps on going into May and our snowpack is currently 187% of average for this time of year! As I've been out splitboarding lately, I've been admiring all the peaks draped in thick snowpack, and thinking about how they'd look with colorful sunrise light...

Mount Hayden Backcountry Lodge, San Juans, Colorado
February 2019

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...

Snowy Ice Lakes, Colorado
October 2018

With fresh snow in the San Juan Mountains and dreams of winter I couldn't resist heading up high for a quick early season winter camp at Ice Lakes Basin near Silverton. I got a little more than I bargained for with two feet of fresh powder and knee-deep postholing through a snowstorm up there! In the morning I was treated to some fiery light for a few moments at sunrise, for a different kind of autumn color...

8 Days in the Weminuche, San Juans, Colorado
August 2018

In mid-August Claudia and I backpacked for eight days into the Needle Mountains in the Weminuche Wilderness of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. This was I think the sixth or seventh time I've done a week-long trek in this particular range, but I was still able to find some new routes to take and new places to camp and photograph along with some old favorites...

Grenadier Range, San Juans, Colorado
July 2018

In late July we went on a 6-day backpack trek in and around the rugged Grenadier Range in the Weminuche Wilderness of the central San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Along the way we scrambled up several 13ers, hiked over numerous high passes, and visited some gorgeous remote alpine lakes...

Hiking from Ouray to Telluride Around the Sneffels Range, Colorado
May 2018

The towns of Ouray and Telluride in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado are only 10 miles apart as the crow flies, but are separated by the rugged Sneffels Range. In the summertime it's possible to hike, run, bike, or even drive 17 miles over 13,114 ft...

Quick Tour through the San Juans, Colorado
August 2017

In mid August we found ourselves drawn back to the San Juans like moths to a flame. We spent a few nights car camping up above Red Mountain Pass, drove eastward over four old mining road passes, then did a backpack trip intp Cataract Gulch near the 14er Sunshine Peak...

Wetterhorn Ski Mission, San Juans, Colorado
April 2015

Wetterhorn Peak stands above its surrounding basins like an ancient crumbling volcano. Rising to 14,015 feet, the pyramidal fourteener is not only one of the most photogenic mountains in Colorado, but its steep eastern face holds a classic ski descent that I’ve been wanting to snowboard for years...

Wildflower Trek, San Juan Mountains, Colorado
July 2014

Earlier this week Claudia and I backpacked for 5 days in the mountains west of Silverton, Colorado, following an improvised route that took us through numerous high alpine basins filled with endless fields of wildflowers...

2013-14 Winter in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Winter 2013-14

A collection of my favorite photos from the winter season of 2013-2014 in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

Winter Camping above Ouray, Colorado
February 2014

I headed out yesterday for a night of winter camping up on the “lower” Bridge of Heaven overlooking the town of Ouray, Colorado. I've winter camped up here once before five years previously, but this time I found a ridiculous spot to pitch my tent, right on the point of a precipitous rock outcropping! This airy perch provided a spectacular scene for tent photos, as well as an island of dry rock amongst the snow to cook and relax in ease...

Winter Camping at Blue Lakes, Colorado
October 2013

Hungry for an adventure, on Tuesday I hiked up to Blue Lakes in the Sneffels Range to camp out in the snow. Late autumn can be a good time for winter camping – kind of like “diet” winter camping since there’s less snow to deal with and usually less avalanche danger (*depending, of course)...

Wetterhorn Peak, Colorado
June 2013

Unlike other mountain ranges in Colorado, the San Juan Mountains have a volcanic history. Around 35 million years ago this region was home to several dozen stratovolcanoes, similar to those in the present day Pacific Northwest...

Hiking Whitehouse Mountain, Colorado
June 2013

In mid-June we did a quick backpack trip and climbed up Whitehouse Mountain in the Sneffels Range of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado.

An Evening with Sneffels, Colorado
June 2013

On Saturday we ventured into the Sneffels Range in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado for a quick overnighter backpack trip. Taking advantage of a clear weather forecast, we camped all the way up at 12,900 feet on a high sub-peak of Sneffels...

2012-2013 Winter in Ouray, Colorado
Winter 2012-2013

A selection of skiing, landscape, and town photos in and around Ouray in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado during the 2012-2013 winter season.

Colorado Fall Colors
September 2012

Photos of aspens and autumn color, mostly in the San Juan Mountains.  This fall was a very colorful one, with the aspens showing off much oranger and redder colors than usual.

Autumn on Stony Pass, San Juans, Colorado
September 2012

Desiring a leisurely change of pace after our recent tiring backpacking treks, Claudia and I decided to go car camping this weekend up on Stony Pass in the San Juan Mountains east of Silverton, Colorado...

The Lime Loop, San Juans, Colorado
September 2012

Over Labor Day weekend some friends joined us for a strenuous 3-day loop trek in the Weminuche Wilderness, south of the area we hiked through last week. Our route took us over a high ridgeline with spectacular views of the Needle Mountains on the other side of the valley...

The Wild Heart of the San Juans, Colorado
August 2012

Last week we went on another 7-day trek through the high peaks of the Weminuche Wilderness in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. During our backpacking trip we were treated not only to spectacular mountain vistas, but to some pretty cool wildlife encounters too!

Supermoon on Sneffels, Colorado
May 2012

I’ve been itching for an adventure lately, so early this morning I hiked up Mt. Sneffels in the moonlight again! I left Ouray at 1:30am (ouch!) and started hiking into Yankee Boy Basin at 2:30am. The “supermoon” – aka, the full moon at its closest orbit to Earth – was incredibly bright, and I had no troubles finding my way without headlamp...