This photo was taken from somewhere in the Himalaya (not sure where), showing the expansive night sky and the incredible view of the Milky Way galaxy (seeing the “sombrero” shape from the side). It’s really a striking photo. Sadly so few of us get a view like this not only because we’re not at a higher altitude (where the atmosphere is thinner) but because of light pollution from man-made sources.
At high camp on Mt. Adams, at about 9,000 feet, the view was (though not as striking) very similar. For me it was the first time I’d really seen the sky in that manner. It was not too long after midnight that I crawled out of the tent to go the bathroom. To minimize the initial complications (and the risk of waking the others) of getting out of the tent I elected not use my headlamp. This seemed brilliant at first, but as I stepped a few feet away from the campsite I realized that I needed to be pretty careful not to walk off the side of the mountain (and fall) or off the small rocky area we were camped in and onto the glacier (as I wasn’t wearing my crampons…so I’d fall and slide down the mountain). As I was done with my business, I remember looking up and seeing that view, and just being frozen, staring at it. After a minute of staring straight up I got a bit dizzy (that’s the altitude)…and retired to my tent. But the view was fantastic.
On Mt. Shuksan this coming August, we won’t have the same altitude at high camp, but the location overall is far more remote, so with less light pollution as we had on Adams, I expect a similar if not better view. This time I’ll be prepared with my camera.