As we were hiking back to the car from Sheepshead, I stopped to take a few panoramas of the setting sun casting shadows across the grass and cliffs. Early morning and late afternoon are my favorite times of day in Cochise Stronghold because the grass turns a golden brown.
Last Look back at the Cliffs, Cochise Stronghold, AZ (16″x70″)
Setting Sun and Cliffs, Cochise Stronghold, AZ (13″x60″)
After climbing a multi-pitch route in Cochise Stronghold, we hiked back to the truck at sunset. I stopped to photograph the scrub oak trees cast long shadows across the high desert grasses.
Oak Tree Shadow in Grass, Cochise Stronghold, AZ (13″x44″)
After topping out on Sheepshead, we took a few minutes to eat a snack and snap a few photographs before walking off the back of the cliff and climbing more on the northwest face. Afternoon light contrasted with shadows and outlines of scraggly trees eking out an existence on the harsh clifftop. The air was surprisingly clear. Rows of mountains disappeared over the southern Arizona horizon.
Pothole, Tree, Shadow on Sheepshead, Cochise Stronghold, southern AZ (12″x18″)
Boulder, Tree, Shadow on Sheepshead, Cochise Stronghold, southern AZ (12″x18″)
Clear skies and cool temperatures in January provided ideal conditions to climb a few multi-pitch routes at Cochise Stronghold in southern Arizona. We started the first route on the northwest-facing edge of Sheep’s Head. Rivulets of ice filled the cracks, and gusts of wind left me shivering at the belay stations. By the time we ascended a few hundred feet, the sun had risen enough that I could take off my down jacket and climb more comfortably. When we reached the top of the rock dome, we found floating sheets of ice in small pools of water.
Euphoria Top-Out, Cochise Stronghold, AZ (16″x66″)
I went for a January pre winter storm (in Tucson read: rainstorm) hike in the Tucson Mountains. Cactus spines and arms stood out in front of the approaching clouds.
Cactus Top and Clouds, Tucson Mountains, AZ (12″x18″)
Saguaro Cacti in the Clouds, Tucson Mountains, AZ (12″x18″)
After the fog halted our coring efforts for the day, we took a few minutes to walk around in the clouds before heading back to camp (first panorama). The next day, we got up early and headed back over a nearby pass to start our long descent out of the mountains back to the Karnali River valley (second panorama).
Window through the Clouds back to Camp, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x50″)
Path over the Pass, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x52″)
As I mentioned in a previous week’s post, lake levels were down in 2016 in the mountains of far western Nepal after an especially hot year. I am accustomed to ‘bathtub ring’ images of Lake Powell in the American Southwest, but we could see our own ‘bathtub ring’ effect around our study lakes in the Himalaya.
Bathtub Rings around Retreating Lake, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x42″)
Cloud Reflections in Shrinking Lake, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x41″)
The rain stopped and many of the clouds started to clear off by sunset, so I climbed out of my tent, grabbed my camera and tripod, and rest stepped my way up the hill above camp to photograph the landscape as the sun descended over the ridge the west. I think the panorama with the rock in the foreground was one of my most successful photographs on the trip (first panorama). Although I don’t usually include my own image in my photographs, I also liked the way my shadow falls across the hillside opposite the setting sun (second panorama).
Rock Shadow at Sunset over the Lake, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x44″)
Rising Shadows and Retreating Clouds at Sunset, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x60″)
As I mentioned in last week’s post, rising air on the flanks of the Himalaya brings moisture to ~14,000 feet by around 11:00AM. We could see clouds gathering by 9:00 AM as we hiked across an open, rolling landscape to reach one of the slightly higher lakes (first panorama). By the time we cored the lake twice, visibility was down to a few feet- getting wet out on the water with no sunshine made the work miserably cold (second panorama).
Hike to the Upper Lake and Distant Clouds, near Jumla, Nepal (14″x82″)
Fogged in Upper Lake, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x74″)
The weather at 14,000 feet in June in the Himalaya can make coring lakes difficult. The sky tends to be clear from around sunrise to 11:00 AM, so I woke up early every morning, shook the ice off my tent, ate a quick breakfast, and got out on the lake to start work before conditions made coring nearly impossible (hail, lightning, thick fog). Here is a panorama of a picturesque cold, clear sunrise before we started our work.
Shoreline, Sunrise, and Shadows, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x62″)