Glenn Randall Photography

Extraordinary landscape photography from Colorado and the West

Logo for Glenn Randall Photography

Sunrise from Crestone Peak



Crestone Needle from the summit of Crestone Peak at sunrise, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, Colorado

Sunrise from Crestone Peak, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, Colorado

There is no easy approach to Crestone Peak. Approaching from South Colony Lake requires climbing to Broken Hand Pass at nearly 13,000 feet, then descending 600 vertical feet to Cottonwood Lake. From there the route climbs a steep gully called the Red Couloir that splits the south face of Crestone Peak. Finding the entrance to the gully, which begins just above a cliff, sounded like the only route-finding challenge. I would need to find my way around that cliff to the right in the dark, then find the entrance to a narrow bench that would lead me back to the base of the Red Couloir. If I missed that entrance I would be confronted with impassable cliffs.


Crestone Needle reflected in South Colony Lake at sunrise, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, ColoradoI planned to start the day after climbing Crestone Needle with a sunrise shoot at South Colony Lake, then move camp over Broken Hand Pass to Cottonwood Lake. When I got up at 4:30 a.m. I could tell immediately there was much more moisture in the air than there had been when I went to bed. The sky was overcast as I hiked by headlamp up to the edge of South Colony Lake. As the gloom lightened, I could see that the tip of Crestone Needle was shrouded in mist. Catching up on lost sleep suddenly seemed like a much better idea than wasting time standing around on a sodden gray morning. I resisted the urge to hurry back to my warm sleeping bag and waited. Then, to my surprise, the rising sun found a hole in the mist and cast a band of warm light across the dramatic cliffs of Crestone Needle, which was reflected in South Colony Lake. I held my breath and started shooting, praying the wind would stay calm to preserve the reflection. When the light show faded, I returned to camp, packed up, and headed up Broken Hand Pass. By the time I arrived at Cottonwood Lake, all traces of mist had vanished and the day had become sunny and hot. I turned in early, expecting a clear sunrise the next day.


The Rocky Mountain Field Institute has built a solid trail to the base of the Red Couloir. I had hiked far enough up the trail the previous day to get a look at what I needed to do, and I thought the route-finding would be straightforward. But I lost the trail in the dark in a big talus field. The GPS route I had downloaded from wasn't helpful; it kept pointing me straight up a cliff band. If I was below the entrance to the bench, I should go up and right; if I was already above it, I should go down and left. After wasting several precious minutes wandering around in the dark, I finally tackled the cliff band head on and soon got back on route.


Sunrise over the east (lower) summit of Crestone Peak from the true summit of Crestone Peak, Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, ColoradoFrom there the route-finding was straightforward. After dealing with the crux ‒ some steep slabs near the bottom of the couloir ‒ the difficulty eased. I was already a thousand feet up the gully when the stars suddenly vanished. Mist welled up from the abyss below and swallowed me. My headlamp had been throwing a usable shaft of light for nearly 100 yards. Now it began reflecting off the mist. It was like driving on a foggy night with your high beams on. Suddenly I could barely see twenty feet.


I debated descending but remembered how quickly the fog had dissipated yesterday morning after the sun rose. I continued upward, cautiously, as the fog ebbed and flowed. A fantastic scene greeted me on the summit as the sun rose. Waves of fog were rolling up the valleys to the west, cresting the jagged ridges all around me, then breaking like waves. Warm light from the rising sun shone through the fog and kissed the crests of the waves. I photographed in every direction until the light grew harsh and the fog dissipated, then headed down. After breaking camp, I hiked energetically back to Broken Hand Pass, fueled by the excitement of the unique scenes I'd just witnessed. A strong west wind was building as I crested the pass and headed down the east side. By the time I reached a campsite below South Colony Lake, the wind was screaming even down in the trees. After a restless night spent lying awake wondering if the tent poles would break in the next gust, I packed up and headed for Mt. Lindsey. I had one more Fourteener to climb before heading home.

Loose print sizes
Matted-only sizes
Framed sizes
Gallery float sizes
Metal print sizes
Gallery-wrap canvas sizes

All major credit cards, plus PayPal, are accepted. You do not need a PayPal account to order online. All financial transactions are handled by PayPal's secure servers, not this website.

Glenn Randall Photography  |  2945 Colby Dr.  |  Boulder CO 80305-6303 | Office 303 499-3009  |  Mobile 720 320-7126

Contact me  |  Join my mailing list | Like me on Facebook  |  Privacy policy  | Search this website

Delivery times

Shipping information

Larger framed sizes


Secure ordering

Privacy policy

I offer over 100 images on this site, in four or five sizes each and as many as five different presentations (loose, matted-only, framed, gallery-wrap canvas, and gallery float). It is impossible to keep every size and presentation of every image in stock at all times. Accordingly, most of the items I offer for sale on are hand-built one at a time as customers order them. It normally requires between five and ten business days to complete an order, but it may take longer if I am on an extended shoot. Shipping time is in addition to these figures. To get specific information about delivery time for a particular item, please call 303 499-3009 or email me. I will do my best to accommodate rush orders. Thanks for your patience!

All photographic prints, regardless of presentation (loose, matted-only, framed, etc.) are delicate and require careful packaging to be shipped safely. Accordingly, all online purchases will have a 15 percent charge added for shipping and handling. This shipping charge only covers shipments to the continental United States. Please contact me for a quote on shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, or to international destinations. If you would like to pick up your print at my home office in Boulder rather than have it shipped, please call 303 499-3009 (office) or 720 320-7126 (mobile) to complete your purchase and make arrangements for pickup. Alternatively, I can deliver prints in the Denver metro area for $1.00 per mile based on round-trip mileage.

All matted-only and framed prints larger than 24x30 inches, all gallery-wrap canvases and gallery-float prints larger than 30x40, and all framed panoramas wider than 30 inches, are too big to be shipped via FedEx ground and too big to fit in any standard-size art box. While these prints can be shipped, they require a custom-made crate and the cost is exorbitant ($300+). I strongly suggest that all customers who live outside the Denver metro area and who wish to purchase a print larger than the maximums specified above buy the loose version and take it to the custom frame shop of their choosing. Loose prints can be shipped rolled at the standard shipping rate of 15 percent of the retail price. I will gladly provide detailed instructions to the framer on the moulding I use and my preferred method of mounting and framing the piece.

I use elegant hardwood frames on all of my framed prints. The image above right shows the frame I use for the smallest framed size of this image. I use proportionally larger frames with the same color finish for larger prints. The moulding shape will vary, depending on the size. For more information on the frames I recommend for different size prints, please visit my framing page.

Studio Moulding frame 353-125 cherry Studio Moulding Forte 4934 mahogany-finish picture frame Studio Moulding Forte 4834 mahogany-finish picture frame

I allow returns for a full refund (minus shipping) for 30 days from the date of delivery if you are dissatisfied with the print. You are responsible for the cost of shipping the print back to me, including the cost of insuring it for the full retail value, and the print must arrive in salable condition for a refund to be issued.

All online orders are processed by Paypal, but you do not need a PayPal account to order. All major credit cards are accepted. Order processing through PayPal is completely secure. Neither I, nor anyone who might be able to hack into my computer, will ever see your credit card information. You can order online with complete confidence.

Contact information provided by the customer, including email address, telephone number, address, etc., is used solely for the purpose of completing the order. This includes information pertaining to gift recipients. Financial information including credit card numbers, expiration dates, and billing address is used solely to bill customers for their order. I will not sell your email address or any other personal information  to anyone. This website uses Google Analytics, which provides me with information on how users interact with the site. Users remain anonymous. Google Analytics does not collect any information that I could use to identify a specific person. This site also uses the remarketing feature of Google Analytics. Visitors who view certain pages on this site may later be shown ads relevant to the content of those pages  when they visit other websites. To opt out of all tracking by Google Analytics of your visit to this site or any other site, please install the Google Analytics Opt-Out Browser Add-On. You can get more information on this software by visiting this secure Google site,