Monday, June 19, 2017

Rocky Mountain Alps

The Mountaineers Mountains

I want to make sure I get this right because there are those who know more about this than I that are there to make sure to correct me if I stray from the absolutes. The San Juan Mountains of Colorado, from Ouray in the North and ranging South to Piedra and home to 13 of Colorado's 54 peaks above 14,000', and eight above 13,000 feet, have been referred to as the North American Alps, and they truly are. I have wandered through all of the mountains in the Gore Range, Swatch Range, Collegiate Range and the Maroon Snowmass Wilderness Area, and many places between, but there is nothing like the San Juans. For their expansiveness, and relief. The mountaineers mountains. I started kicking around in the southern mountains of Colorado only recently and have found that navigating them on foot is a supreme challenge. Mt. Sneffles Peak, at 14,157', pictured below is a true Massif and flanked by venerable ridge lines that beckon to be traversed. 

The images below, shot out the window of a Cessna 185, flown by my long time friend and mentor, Barry Stott, give a unique view into the utter expansiveness of this upheaval of granite. From the air, you can see layer upon layer of spine upon spine of some of the most rugged terrain that North America has to offer with an array of sculpted and unique features beyond any description.

Inviting and defying. 

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