Path of Least Resistance
Sometimes the path of least resitance is quite far from a straight line, visually inefficient to us but quite plausible for the atmosphere. This shot shows that, and also, proves lightning doesn't have to seek the tallest point. Someone standing near the top of the mountain here wouldn't have been hurt, though he might have gotten quite a fright from the passage of 30,000 amperes of electricity very closely overhead. Meanwhile, an observer somewhere around the back right (NE) side of the mountain might be jolted dead in an instant.
South Fork CO (27 Sep 12) Looking NW