High On A Mountain

Kit Carson Mountain (14,165′) in early morning light from the summit of Humboldt Peak (14,064′). Sangre De Cristo Wilderness, Colorado

I came across this image while working on a submission for the 2013 Colorado 14’ers Calendar and it stopped me in my tracks. The yearning to get back on a mountain peak with Marla has been building for months as I’ve tried to be patient with my osteoarthritic knee; but never allowing myself to seriously think about climbing a mountain. But last night’s hike was strong and I’m now able to spend some time going through mountain photos, day-dreaming about that feeling of freezing on a mountaintop in mid-summer while waiting for those first golden rays that trick the camera into capturing warmth above timberline.

We were camped with Annie, Mike, and Chris, and Marla somehow convinced the crew that it would be awesome to start hiking at 2:30 a.m. to be on Humboldt’s summit at sunrise. I don’t know how she did it, but there we were the next morning, a short train of light, winding our way up Humboldt’s summit ridge. And it was cold! Just after sunrise, clouds building on the valley floor raced up the valley between us and Kit Carson Mountain, creating an alpine dreamscape that would eventually obscure the peaks, then tease us with views of the Crestones and the Sangre De Cristo skyline. I can’t wait to get back.

2 thoughts on “High On A Mountain

  1. Absolutely exhilarating image, Dave! What a find. And very well-written. Your skills as a photographer have long been enviable, but your gift for telling a story has grown to meet the visuals.

    Once on the summit, I wonder if your non-photographer companions saw the value of being there at that time of day. It’s one thing to look at a picture of such conditions, it’s an altogether different experience when it unfolds before your eyes.

    1. Thanks Cloudman…errr Toddzilla. Your kind words mean a lot, coming from a friend and one of the top photographers around. Our friends were slack-jawed as they had a front row seat to one of the most amazing displays I’ve ever seen. Nobody was complaining about getting up and hiking in the dark when golden light, endless peaks, and swirling, rising, playful, dramatic clouds came together for the first hour of daylight.

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