Where Mountain Meets Sky: Muir Snowfield
pastel 12" x 18" on Fabriano Roma
This is one of my very favorite pastels, done from a photo one of the first trips to Mt. Rainier after I bought my first digital camera. I had also just recently discovered Fabriano Roma, a beautiful handmade paper with a slight laid finish and great tooth . . . a paper much like that used by Michelangelo. Muir Snowfield is a trudge of a hike, the first leg of any climb that follows the Camp Muir/Ingraham Glacier route to the summit. The Moon Rocks are to the lower right . . . a place where at the end of June 1995 I almost got blown off the mountain after my summit attempt.
The snowfield is vast, and later in the summer, treacherous. Every hundred feet of elevation gain was chore. But it also a place of stark, barren beauty. Ants, spiders, and even lady bugs crawled along with us up there. The immense summit stares down on long snaking lines of climbers hosted by Rainier Mountaineering, as well as those few of us in smaller groups, as if to dare us to continue. For many it is an oft repeated day hike . . . for me it was a feat never before attempted . . .
It was the sky, and below the serpentine spine of the ridge that falls below Camp Muir, that made this the scene that captured the spirit of climbing Rainier. Below is a colored pencil self-portrait, done from a photo taken by my guide, Steve Teufert, of Olympic Mountaineering, at the point where he and I turned around to decend . . . at Disappointment Cleaver:
My First Descent
21" x 17" colored pencil