A 1:00 AM wake up call is usually to pick up roommates from the bar after a night on the town, but this one was different. This time I intentionally set my alarm to go off a 1:00 AM. Within 30 minutes I was headed out the door with all my gear that I had meticulously packed a few hours earlier. Siri is telling me the sunrise is at 6:41 AM, meaning after arriving at the Ski Hut trail head I have just under four hours gain to four thousand vertical feet to reach the summit of Mt. Baldy.
I have done this hike before, but this time was different. I have never done this hike through the pitch black with nothing but headlamps and the faint moon to show us the way. With more layers than I ever thought I would need in Southern California and enough camera gear to rival a small production company, we were on our way.
90 minutes later we arrived at the ski hut (marking the halfway point to the summit), where we took our first break. Trying not to disturb the sleeping guest in the ski hut, we quietly reevaluated our clothing situation and enjoyed our first snack. Within the next half mile we came across the first signs of ice, forcing us to cautiously proceed along the trail. The next part of the hike we knew was going to be difficult, as it is tough during the day. At this point the trail separates and is a free for all, without being able to see the peak we had to feel it out. Soon we reached the summit, and scrambled to set up cameras for timelapses before throwing on more layers. Seeking protection behind rock windwalls, we bunkered down for the most epic sunrise I have ever seen.