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Minaret Lakes Story/Photo

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Minaret Lakes Story/Photo

Postby maverick » Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:14 pm

The day was quite eventful after zooming down from the top of Edith Pass
as a thunderhead closed in on me as I ascending the pass earlier from the south.
As I reached the top the dark clouds seemed closer than ever and I knew I had to
get down into the safety of the trees, and off the ridge.
As I got closer to Minaret Lakes I met 3 young men who were planning to stay at
Minaret Lakes for 2 days.
I stayed at one of the smaller lake while they set up between the trees near the
main lake close to the shore.
I explored the area and then proceeded to set up for some sunset photo's after dinner.
In the morning the clouds were all ready moving in for some promising action later on
it the day, and since I was going to climb the ridge north, above Minaret Lakes, and
not knowing what conditions I will find on the other side of the ridge I packed up
early after taking some sunrise photo's.
As I climbed up the ridge the view of Minaret Lakes was quite pretty and as you
will see the clouds, some quite dark for 9 am were moving in slowly from the
east and the west.
Once at the top of the ridge I had to turn around because of the steep snow fields on
the northern side, which were very hard, and with no ice axe or crampons I was
not risking a fall.
As I proceeded to head down back towards Minaret Lakes several dark clouds came
into my view and made the scene look optimal for a great black & white photo.
I love the energy of a storm that is conveyed in B&W photo's, so I stopped and started
taking pictures.
On the left side of the photo (east) you can see a dark cloud moving into the picture.
Though darker than what I usually see so early in the morning it did not raise any
As I finished taking pictures and started down, about 10 min's later, I was looking at
the dark cloud which was above the main lake now, and I saw a bright flash which
went straight down into Minaret Lake which coincided with a deafeningly loud
thunder clap.
Hail started up seconds later and I was still pretty high up with no place for cover
if the thunderhead started my way.
I started running down with my pack and pancho on trying to get as low as I could
hoping the thunderhead would proceed up towards Cecile and not towards my position.
Luckily about 5 min's later I heard another thunder clap to my west putting my
concerns to rest.
Afterwards I wondered what a rude awakening those guys must have gotten from that
thunder clap, it must have been pretty scary.
Please, sit back from the screen to enjoy this pretty big photo.
Last edited by maverick on Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Minaret Lakes Story/Photo

Postby BrianF » Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:02 pm

Wow, good story - Awesome photo.
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: Minaret Lakes Story/Photo

Postby hikerduane » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:17 pm

That one sure doesn't look like a killer. Thank you.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Minaret Lakes Story/Photo

Postby maverick » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:11 am

Thanks Brian and HD.
Sure does not fall into to the typical thunderhead category.
I know/seen that there can be a layer of clouds creating a thin layer obscuring a
thunderhead above it, but this was not the case here.
I have never witness something like this before, and I have been in a fair amount of
I was under the assumption that there had to be cumulonimbus clouds present or at least
some cumulus clouds in the process of building up to the nimbus stage to generate
cloud-to-ground lightening.
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