A Night at Crystal Mountain


A friend invited me along for a trip to Crystal Mountain Resort, to camp out under the stars and see if we could capture images of the milky way over Mount Rainier.
The drive to the resort is itself, a beautiful ride. Arriving we purchased a gondola ticket ($22.00) and rode up to the restaurant.
We stayed overnight, taking pictures of the resort, sunset, gondola and of course, Mount Rainier. Here are a few images.

Gondola and Mount Rainier

Gondola and Mount Rainier

Admiring the sunset

Admiring the sunset

Mount Rainier and the Milky Way. The lights on the mountains flanks are headlamps of climbers headed for the summit.

Mount Rainier and the Milky Way. The lights on the mountains flanks are headlamps of climbers headed for the summit.

Mount Rainier from Crystal Mountain Resort

Mount Rainier from Crystal Mountain Resort

Mount Rainier and flowers

Mount Rainier and flowers

Riding the gondola

Riding the gondola

Crystal Resort, at night

Crystal Resort, at night

7 thoughts on “A Night at Crystal Mountain

  1. Beautiful work. Such great shots under tough lighting conditions. I love the headlights of the climbers on the mountain – contrasted with the stars above.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hey Andy! This was a great post! I’ve been excited to go take photos of the milky way for a long time, but sadly, sunrise will be close. I’m going up to Crystal Mountain this Friday and will be staying at crystal mountain hotel. I wasn’t exactly sure, but did you stay on the summit over night? If so, where did you rest (I assume, you rested a couple hours after capturing the images.)

    Thanks so much!

    • Hello!
      When I went to Crystal we brought backpack, sleeping bag, tent, etc. Rode the gondola up and intended to hike away from the restaurant and camp. Then, at 10:30pm the restaurant closed and the staff all left, rode down and no one was there but us! So we just camped there on the patio! The next morning at 7am or so the first gondolas came back up, with the restaurant staff, and we rode down. The best time to get Milky Way shots is when there is no moon in the sky, which is the New Moon. If you shoot with in 2 or 3 days of the New Moon you’ll be good. The next New Moon is July 4th. If you can get a shot when the moon is below the horizon, you may be good, but generally it reflects so much light that the stars are faint.

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