Readers’ wildlife photos

October 18, 2021 • 8:15 am

Today we have a set of lovely and impressive landscape (mountain) photos by James Blilie, an erstwhile climber. His captions are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

This set are landscape photos of mine with the theme being mountaineering. These are older, from the 1980s, when I was younger, wilder, and had better knee joints. All are scanned Kodachrome 64 slides.  At this time, I always climbed with a camera around my neck and shoulder, usually with a Pentax M 20mm f/4 lens attached.  I scrapped the manufacturer’s camera strap and tied on climber’s webbing instead.
First is a view of climbers on the Redoubt Glacier, below Mt. Redoubt (Washington Cascades). September 1985.  We climbed Mt. Redoubt the day before this photo was taken, in terrible weather:  You couldn’t see further than about 100 feet due to clouds/mist.  Mt. Redoubt is one of the most remote peaks I have climbed.  The trek in was harder than the climb.

Next is a view of the valley of the Sauk River and the Central Cascade Range on a winter ascent of Whitehorse Mountain in February 1986, at sunrise.

Next are a few photos from a trip I took in August 1986 to do the Ptarmigan Traverse with a group of climbing friends.  This was a spectacular trip:  A high-elevation trip through a segment of the North Cascades.  First, two climbers on the airy summit ridge of Dome Peak.

Then a group of climbers traversing the summit ridge of Magic Mountain:

Then, descending towards a camping site at Yang Yang Lakes:

Next is a shot of some friends climbing the last icy ledges of McClellan Butte in the Cascades, near Seattle.  At this time, a group of friends and I would make a climb on the winter solstice every December.  Expect bad weather!  21-Dec-1986.

Next are two photos from a May 1987 trip to climb Mt. McKinley (then, now officially Denali)—20,310 feet (6,190 m).

The first a view of Mt. Foraker (17,400-foot; 5,304 m) from the Kahiltna Glacier with a Cessna 185 operated by K2 Aviation out of Talkeetna, Alaska, visible against the mountain, lower right. (We did not summit.  “Worst May weather since 1960-something.”  It never went above 0°F (-18°C) the entire time we were on the mountain – two and a half weeks.)

Then a photo looking north towards the summit of McKinley from the Kahiltna Glacier, near the airplane landing spot, just outside the National Park boundary.

Next are two photos from a climb on the Olympic Peninsula near Seattle, a peak called C-141 peak, named because a military C-141 airplane crashed into it.  This was a late winter climb in April 1987, which was training for our Mt. McKinley attempt.  First one looks SE from the high ridge showing Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier in the distance.

The next shows the summit area of peak C-141, with a climber like a tiny speck in the small col, left center:

Next shot shows the middle and south peaks of Three Fingers in the central Cascades. This was taken in October 1988 during an ascent of the north peak of Three Fingers. A climber is in the foreground.  You can see the old fire lookout on the south peak of Three Fingers, upper right.

Finally, getting out of North America, we have a shot of Mt. Kenya from the west, showing the main peaks of Batian and Nelion and the Diamond Glacier nestled between them.  August 1991. The icefall below the Diamond Glacier, the Diamond Glacier Couloir is regularly climbed.

16 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. The icefall below the Diamond Glacier, the Diamond Glacier Couloir is regularly climbed.

    It used to be, but these days climate change means that it rarely exists.

    1. Yes, that doesn’t surprise me too much, though I have seen recent climbing reports from the route.

      Mt. Kenya is (roughly) 5 miles from the Equator. But it was one of the coldest places I visited on my tour in 1990-92. Being above 16,000 feet of elevation means serious cold.

      1. “Mt. Kenya is (roughly) 5 miles from the Equator.”

        Reminds me that Chimborazo in Ecuador is the highest peak in the world, higher than Everest if measured from the centre of mass (or volume?) of Earth. Because of that fat tummy the Earth has, I wonder whether Mt. Kenya is effectively more like a 20,000 foot peak.

        On the other hand, I suppose it must be height above sea level which determines oxygen concentration and how cold it is typically. At least in the early 1800s, Humboldt and companion wouldn’t have used an oxygen tank when attempting Chimborazo and getting higher than anybody else had anywhere.

        Once again, really interesting pics! Thanks.

        1. You are correct in identifying elevation above sea level as the critical parameter. It drives “how high do I need to climb to get there?”, the weather, and the partial pressure of oxygen you are breathing. 🙂

          1. Sure, it is the critical parameter for human mountaineering difficulty, but the more objective measure in terms of geometry is the actual distance from the earth’s center. I vote for Chimborazo.. “The highest point on earth'” is not an organism-dependent statement about biology, it’s a geometrical statement.

            1. Obviously, you are entitled to your opinion.

              In my opinion, elevation above sea level is contained in the term “highest” [point on earth]. This is how people use and mean the phrase. (I.e. highest above what? Does anyone mean furthest from the center of the earth when they use the phrase? Do we measure airway flight levels from the center of the earth? Center of geometry or center of mass?)

              Geometrically, it would be, “point furthest from the geometric center of the earth”, which is of no practical significance to humans* or other organisms (or erosion, sedimentation, mountain formation, motion of tectonic plates, etc.). (* Except maybe coders who program for ballistic missile guidance.)

              How is that more objective?

              1. I don’t deny that elevation above sea level is a useful concept. It surely is, especially to a mountain climber. But “What’s the highest point on earth?” does seem to me to be a geometric question, making no reference to air density or other things. Nevertheless I know it is just an opinion, and I certainly understand why you as an avid climber would want the answer that is most relevant to your activity.

                If I were designing a neutrino trap, I’d want the neutrinos to go through as much earth as possible. Chimborazo would be a better starting point than Everest.

  2. Impressive stuff, especially what looks like balancing on a ridge at the summit. I have good balance but that would give me pause.

    I’ve ventured above 14K a number of times.

    Of course, I did it while driving a Suburban and had plenty of snacks (except Hawaii, where I was driving a rented car).

  3. I always look forward to your photos! These are fantastic! The photo of two climbers on Dome Peak is breathtaking!

  4. The Three Fingers picture confused me. There is another mountain, Three Fingered Jack, in the Oregon Cascades.

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