Forum Index > Trip Reports > Dickerman at Dawn, Part Deux 11/25/18
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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostThu Nov 29, 2018 7:54 pm 
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One of the trips that got me addicted to sunrise hikes was a trip up to Mount Dickerman on Thanksgiving weekend three years ago.  I wrote it up on Summitpost and you can check it out here if you're interested, but it was a great experience.  Beautiful dawn colors and a lovely sunrise.  My favorite photo from the trip was of the southern Mountain Loop Highway peaks with dawn colors above.  I kinda wanted to print and frame it, but it was taken with my cell phone and looked pretty bad blown up so I decided to go back and see if I could do better!

Dickerman at Dawn
Dickerman at Dawn

I've had kind of a bad run of mediocre to poor sunrise hikes this year.  Maybe only one or two that were even memorable, so I was trying really hard and doing some visualization to try and get good conditions.  I had all Thanksgiving weekend to head out on the best possible day and it looked like it would be Sunday.  Checking the forecast on Saturday, sunsetwx predicted a good sunrise and skippy sky forecasted some high clouds but not much in the way of low or mid level clouds.  I was hopeful for bright red clouds over Big Four with maybe a little alpenglow as the sun broke the horizon.  I also figured there'd be a trail broken the whole way up, as there was a Friday trip report of someone going up there and I figured there'd be traffic on Saturday to pack the trail down further so I left the snowshoes at home.  I woke up to a 1am alarm and made the long (for me) drive to the trailhead.  I was on the trail by 4:23am.

I had plenty of time so I went slow(ish).  I had taken my previous photo that I was hoping to improve upon at the meadow area ~5000ft so I kinda figured that would be where I'd set up for the show.  The trail was melted out for the first half an hour, but gradually became snowy.  I put on some microspikes which were helpful on the hard packed trail.  As I got higher I eventually started to see some very dark views of Big Four and others and it looked like a good deal of high clouds.  I reached the meadow and was pretty sure I was going to stop there.  Last time I went to check out the little knoll (views weren't that great) which left tracks in the snow, but this time it was a blanket of undisturbed snow which had a nice aesthetic to it.  I had some extra time so I hiked up the trail a little further to see if there was a better spot to set up shop, but there wasn't so I headed back.  At this point the there were already some nice colors and things were looking promising!

Dawn breaks
Dawn breaks
Scouting for a spot to watch the show
Scouting for a spot to watch the show
That looks about right...
That looks about right...
I posted up here
I posted up here
Early colors panorama
Early colors panorama

Soon enough the clouds over the Monte Cristo group lit up in shades of purple, magenta, and red and I couldn't help feel a little elated.  The color soon spread over Del Camp and Morning Star.  I alternated taking a few photos and spending a few minutes taking in the scene.  It was pretty much exactly what I had hoped for and I was feeling very thankful.  The peak color only lasted around 15 minutes, and it never really got over top of Big Four like I had hoped but I was very satisfied with the experience.  As quickly as it came, the color was soon gone and I packed up and headed for the summit.

Color over Monte Cristo area peaks
Color over Monte Cristo area peaks
Del Campo and Morningstar
Del Campo and Morningstar
Del Campo with peak color
Del Campo with peak color
Sunrise panorama
Sunrise panorama
Last light
Last light

The good views weren't over yet however!  Golden light illuminated the clouds as I neared the summit area.  I knew that the views were best from the view point past the true summit so I just headed right over and was greeted by cloud filtered golden light along the way.  It was cold, although really not that cold... upper 20s maybe, but it was windy which added a touch of chill.  I reached the view point and stepped up to the top.  Wind swirled around and as I peered over patchy golden light illuminated the mountains in the direction of Three Fingers, Whitehorse, and Jumbo and the views out towards White Chuck, Forgotten, Pugh, and Sloan were just as good!  I stayed here maybe 20 minutes just taking in the magical views.

Hiking up towards the summit
Hiking up towards the summit
Snowy trees
Snowy trees
Last stretch to the view point
Last stretch to the view point
Cold, windy, and absolutely stunning!
Cold, windy, and absolutely stunning!
White Chuck, Forgotten, and Pugh
White Chuck, Forgotten, and Pugh
Dickerman summit
Dickerman summit
White chuck
White chuck


After departing the view point I stopped briefly at the true summit, but didn't linger long.  I headed back down the mountain enjoying the winter wonderland and golden hour views.  I was half way down the mountain before I ran into any other hikers and saw maybe a dozen before I got back to the car.  It was easily my best sunrise hike of the year and I succeeded at getting a picture to print for my house.  The trouble now will be deciding which one!


Views
Views
Morningstar and Sperry
Morningstar and Sperry
Pano from the true summit area
Pano from the true summit area
Great views on the way down
Great views on the way down
Golden light on Big Four
Golden light on Big Four
Sperry, Vesper, and Big Four
Sperry, Vesper, and Big Four
Trail
Trail
Trees
Trees
So nice
So nice
Last views of Big Four
Last views of Big Four

I didn't keep track and don't want to look up the stats but it's something like 8 miles 4k gain and took me 6 hours car to car.  Great day in the mountains!
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geyer
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PostThu Nov 29, 2018 8:00 pm 
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eek.gif wow Aaron some real stunners!

do you remember what elevation the snowline was starting at?
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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostThu Nov 29, 2018 8:10 pm 
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geyer wrote:
do you remember what elevation the snowline was starting at?

haha, I just finished commenting on your report.  Nice one!  You know, I didn't really keep track, but I'd guess I put on microspikes around 3000'.  Snow was patchy before that and consistent after that.  Up above 4500 there was a good 2 feet of snow, but a hard packed trench made the going super easy.  All that is likely irrelevant now with recent snow in the last few days though...
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GaliWalker
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Have camera will use
PostThu Nov 29, 2018 8:19 pm 
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Beautiful! up.gif

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
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reststep
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PostThu Nov 29, 2018 8:50 pm 
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That is a great set of pictures.  Thanks for sharing.

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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Nancyann
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PostFri Nov 30, 2018 10:07 am 
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I see you are getting an early start on next yearís calendar contest!
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RichP
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PostFri Nov 30, 2018 10:25 am 
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You have me missing the Cascades.

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Without obsession, life is nothing. John Waters
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Bootpathguy
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PostFri Nov 30, 2018 10:37 am 
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Great collection of sunrise images.  up.gif  Thanks for sharing

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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostFri Nov 30, 2018 10:48 am 
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Nancyann wrote:
I see you are getting an early start on next yearís calendar contest!

Hahaha, yes! There almost certainly will be a photo from this trip in next year's calendar contest.  wink.gif

RichP wrote:
You have me missing the Cascades.

They really are something special, huh.  I just love the spread from Big Four to Del Campo here.  It's no wonder this trail is so popular, although both times I've been there I've had it pretty much all to myself.
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Roly Poly
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PostFri Nov 30, 2018 1:47 pm 
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What a fantastic experience. So beautiful!
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Michael Lewis
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PostFri Nov 30, 2018 2:47 pm 
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gotta dust the dirt off my beard after this jaw dropper. Thank you so much for sharing this!
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iron
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PostFri Nov 30, 2018 3:56 pm 
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damn.

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silence
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PostSat Dec 01, 2018 6:02 am 
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Stunning!  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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Zloi
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PostSat Dec 01, 2018 8:38 pm 
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Great shots. You DO have to sacrifice some comfort and sleep time to experience this--but it looks well worth it for those who are able! Thanks for sharing...
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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostSat Dec 01, 2018 9:49 pm 
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Thanks everyone!

Zloi wrote:
... You DO have to sacrifice some comfort and sleep time to experience this--but it looks well worth it for those who are able! Thanks for sharing...

It is worth it.  At least that's what I tell myself when getting out of my warm bed at 1am.  Sometimes it's better than others though.  I've had at least a half dozen such trips this year with completely socked in views or dark overcast skies, but it's still nice to get some exercise and bag a peak.  It's worth it to me to sacrifice sleep to get out into the mountains I love for an experience like this, and still get home early enough to spend the afternoon with my wife and two young kids.  It's not always easy juggling work, family time, and my love for the outdoors and this has been my solution to maximize both family and outdoor time lately.  It's also worth it to be able to share the experience with others.  I wonder if I was the only person to witness this wonderful sunrise out there in the mountains.  Stuff like this probably goes on all the time without anyone there to appreciate it.  I know I sure like all of your wonderful trip reports, and being brought along through story telling and photography on some amazing journeys to beautiful places.  I almost always do these trips alone, because nobody wants to get up that early... but at least I can bring you all along through these trip reports.  Thanks for coming with!
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Dickerman at Dawn, Part Deux 11/25/18
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