Andrew Terrill

The outdoor diary of a writer, photographer, and wilderness wanderer

Mount Blue Sky – a mountain renamed

IT HAPPENED LAST Friday – at roughly 3 p.m. on September 15th: the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (the federal board within the U.S. Department of Interior which has the final say on the renaming of all natural features on public lands) voted to rename the closest fourteener to Denver.

The mountain that probably went by many different names before recorded history, that was once referred to as ‘Ceneeteese’ (the Arapaho word for ‘misty’), then Mount Rosalie (named after a woman who never saw the mountain), then Mount Evans (to honor Colorado’s second governor, who we now know was culpable in the genocide of Colorado’s indigenous people), now bears the name ‘Mount Blue Sky’.

The journey to rename the mountain has been years long. But the ancestors of those massacred at Sand Creek in 1864, who have been campaigning for the name change though the group the Mestaa’éhehe Coalition, have finally achieved their goal: removing the name of the man responsible for the murder of their forebears.

It’s sadly clear from the immediate response online to the renaming that not everyone will use the new name at first – or ever. Some won’t understand why the change has been made – and won’t genuinely try to. Some will resist it, some will mock both the name and those who fought for it, some will merely be indifferent, some will agree with the change but consider the new name too generic or not representative of what the mountain truly is… but many will accept it, and many will celebrate it. Either way, the new name is now official.

For my part, to publicly accept and celebrate it, here are a few photos from on (and around) the mountain, all taken this year. This is a mountain I’ve visited many times over the past two decades and have spent a great deal of time this year getting to know really well. Here is Mount Blue Sky then, in only a select few of its many, many moods:

Sunrise mist Mount Blue Sky from Mount Spalding 2023
Morning mist beneath Mount Blue Sky, August 2023
sunrise and spindrift january 1 2023
Sunrise on New Year’s Day, January 2023.
Wild weather near Goliath Peak January 1st 2023
Typically savage winter weather. New Year’s Day, January, 2023
sunrise resthouse meadows january 16 2023
Fierce winds at sunrise near Resthouse Meadows. Mid January, 2023.
mount blue blue sky summit panorama feb 12 2023
Mount Blue Sky’s summit panorama on a rare calm winter day. February 2023.
spindrift chicago lakes drainage feb 17 2023
Strong winds and spindrift along the Chicago Creek valley, February, 2023.
creek frosted rocks 17 february 2023
Frost feathers creeping across Chicago Creek. February, 2023.
blizzard march 3 2023
Another snowstorm. March, 2023.
hikers on Bierstadt march 11 2023
Hikers closing in on the summit of Mount Blue Sky’s near neighbour, Mount Bierstadt, in 60mph winds. Mid March, 2023.
sunrise across the plains bristlecone pine march 20 2023
An ancient bristlecone pine at sunrise. Early April, 2023.
sunbeams and snow colorado april 15 2023
Clearing storm, mid April 2023.
morning light on mount evans mount blue sky 23 april 2023
Sunrise light on Mount Blue Sky, seen from nearby Chief Mountain. Late April 2023.
frozen lake in spring snow colorado 4 may 2023
The thaw begins at an unnamed lake, early May, 2023.
hells hole bristelcone pine may 21 2023
A late season snow in Hell’s Hole and a stately bristlecone pine. Late May, 2023.
chicago lakes 15 june2023
The spring thaw well underway at Upper Chicago Lake. Mid June, 2023.
Bierstadt and Mount Evans Mount Blue Sky colorado 18 june 2023
Mount Bierstadt (left) and Mount Blue Sky (right) seen from the south. Late June, 2023.
three mile creek aspen wood spring colorado 19 june 2023
Spring growth in the aspen woods of Three Mile Creek. Late June, 2023.
sunset gray wolf mountain colorado june 25 2023
Sunset high on the flanks of Gray Wolf Mountain. Late June, 2023.
forest pines 2nd july 2023
Summer in the forest. July, 2023.
Predawn on Mount Blue Sky 6 July 2023
Predawn light and morning fog, seen from the summit of Mount Blue Sky. July, 2023.
view east across denver front range foothills and the plains from the summit of mount blue sky Colorado 2 July 2023
Above the world in a place of renewal. View east from the summit of Mount Blue Sky. July, 2023.
mountain goat on rock mount blue sky Colorado 2 July 2023
Mountain goat, a familiar Mount Blue Sky sight. July, 2023.
mount blue sky Colorado 2 July 2023
Summer at Summit Lake, but the ice still hasn’t thawed. July, 2023.
Mike Dano on the Sawtooth Ridge - 8 July 2023 - crop
Climber on the Sawtooth Ridge. Mid July, 2023.
ice abyss trail colorado 15 July 2023
A pool of meltwater beside the ‘Abyss Glacier’. Mid July, 2023.
marmot and approaching storm colorado abyss lake 15 july 2023
Was that thunder? Storm clouds and a watchful marmot. July, 2023.
splashing moose - guanella pass - 7-24-23
A bull moose escaping mosquitoes near Guanella Pass. Late July, 2023.
Columbine Upper Bear Tracks Valley - colorado - 5 aug 2023
Columbine near Upper Bear Tracks Lake. August, 2023
storm and rainbows - colorado - 5 aug 2023
Late day storms moving out toward the plains. August, 2023.
Summit Moment Rosalie Peak 5 August 2023
Above the clouds on Rosalie Peak. August, 2023.
Abyss Lake beneath Mount Blue Sky August 2023
Clearing storm at Abyss Lake. Mid August, 2023.
New Camp beneath Mount Blue Sky August 2023
Camp, beneath cloud-capped Mount Blue Sky. August, 2023.
sawtooth and bierstadt august 2023
Rich evening light beneath the Sawtooth Ridge. August, 2023.
Brocken Spectre - Cauldren Peak - 27 August 2023
A Brocken spectre on the summit of Mount Spalding. Late August, 2023.
View North from Spalding - Cauldron Peak - 27 August 2023
Across the wilderness on a late summer morning, the tundra covered in hail. Late August, 2023.
sunset roosevelt lakes colorado - 3 september 2023
Sunset at Roosevelt Lakes, as evening storms head out across the plains. September, 2023.
Pegmatitie Points an Rosalie Peak - 3 september 2023
Surveying the wilderness as autumn begins to burnish the tundra. Early September, 2023.
Sunrise Mount Blue Sky Colorado august 16
The first sunrise on the newly renamed Mount Blue Sky. The morning after the renaming, September 16th, 2023.


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