Mountain king

Fierce Mountain, Erik Stensland
“Fierce Mountain.” Storm clouds gather over Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park. Copyright © 2015 Erik Stensland. Used with permission.

I’ve posted innumerable photos of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, some bathed in alpenglow, others glistening with snow, and most splashed with light and shadow. But common to all was color. Color is an intrinsic part of RMNP, as Estes Park photographer Erik Stensland is quick to point out. Color is being there. I think he delights as much in the intricate colors as in the landscape itself.

In this photograph, however, first posted to his Facebook page on June 24, he took a rare (for him) step into the realm of black and white and brought back one of my new favorite photos of Longs.

This is the malevolent, brooding, dangerous mountain that always lurks just behind the sunshine, wildflowers, and romance. Climbers forget it at their peril. One must never — ever — underestimate this peak.

The photo appears in Stensland’s gallery, Images of Rocky Mountain National Park, and on his Facebook page.

10 thoughts on “Mountain king

      1. As do I, every time I look up at that peak.

        (Of course, if you are referring to the photograph itself, the credit is entirely Erik Stensland’s.)

  1. At 14,259 feet elevation, Long’s Peak is safe from me. I get headaches at 10,000 feet and would likely pass out before reaching its summit.

    I get why some people want to climb these things, although “Because it’s there” is, I submit, an incomplete answer. It’s certainly not to discover what’s up there. Something there is in the human spirit that craves adventure and that means the unusual and the dangerous. Maybe it’s addiction to adrenaline highs? Perhaps the same thing is at work with the fascination with fireworks. Last night, around here, ended with explosions that seemed to exceed all past celebrations. Age tempers the effect. When I was young, I wanted a motorcycle but never had the time to justify one. I probably wouldn’t be alive now if I’d had my way.

    1. “Because it’s there” doesn’t get you to the top of a peak like this, but it may set your foot on the trail. And the adrenaline is a fleeting thing, quickly lost in fatigue and the task at hand. It’s something deeply personal and probably different for everyone. For me it had something to do with this peak being the overseer of everything I did and every place I went in my early years in the area. I wanted, just once, to be the overseer, to stand atop the highest peak in Northern Colorado. And the indescribable satisfaction of having done so remains with me today.

  2. Who could ever tire of mountain images?
    What a remarkable shot – the black and white emphasizes the contrast in texture between clouds and hard rock earth. (Could muse over so much this can represent: dreams vs reality, art vs science…….)
    Thanks for the lovely post

      1. So beautiful. And relaxing. Even just the sound is relaxing. One thing I really enjoyed during my few years in NY were the birds. So many flyways through there. So much variety.

... and that's my two cents