Sundog Spectacular

July 17, 2017 Posted by: Maureen Gualtieri
Even veteran mountaineers around here cannot recall seeing anything this otherworldly in the Alaska Range.  

The last NPS patrol of the 2017 season was treated to an exceptional sky show while packing up the 14,200-foot camp the evening of Wednesday, July 5, 2017.  The park helicopter had departed 14K camp about 10 minutes before the rainbowfest started.  Though difficult to describe, patrol members estimate a total of 3 sundogs and 3 to 4 rainbows were created when a bright sun filtered through dark clouds. The photos say it all, but be sure to check out the video link below as well to get a sense of the snow crystals falling and floating around them.  If you've got a theory, or if you've seen something like this before, be sure to share it on the Denali Rescue Volunteers Facebook page where the video is posted!

The interplay of sun and clouds creates three interlocking sundogs over 14 camp(Photo courtesy of NPS VIP Will Boardman)

A giant sundog-rainbow hovers over 14 camp
(Photo courtesy of NPS VIP Will Boardman)

A volunteer ranger attempts to capture in the interlocking rainbows on camera(Photo courtesy of NPS VIP Will Boardman)

Rainbows arc and bend in front of a mountain ridge(Photo courtesy of NPS VIP Will Boardman)

A volunteer ranger sits back to enjoy the show
Better than fireworks on the Fourth of July, mountainering volunteer Amanda Erickson lies back to enjoy the show.  (Photo courtesy of NPS VIP Will Boardman)

And now click on this link for some video imagery... 

Link to sparkling video

Last updated: July 17, 2017

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