Bighorn From Darton
Every summer I try to climb at least one big mountain, and this time it was Darton Peak. It's one of the highest peaks in the Bighorns, and is very prominent from Highway 16 far below. With a goal of standing on the summit at sunrise, that meant a 3:30AM wake up time. But the bright moonlight helped illuminate my route as the stars faded out. The wind chill up here was in the lower 20's and fresh snow lingered from a couple days earlier despite it being August. Darton is typical of other peaks in the Bighorns and is covered with car-sized boulders. With towering cliffs on 2 sides, the long and rounded peak requires a 16 mile roundtrip hike, but I was able to camp at Lost Twin Lakes the night before. At an elevation of 12,275 feet, the air is only 63% of what it is at sea level. There's always something beautiful about the way the the light appears at high altitudes at the edge of day. It's amazing how the colors can seem both soft and intense at the same time.This view is looking south towards Bighorn Peak.