Sunrise At 12,000 Feet

“It is currently 4:30 am, I have already been awake for an hour, hoping to get to the peak by sunrise”

Its noon of March 6, 2020, everyone is finally packed up and ready to start hiking the popular trail up to Pine Creek Lake.

Hannah, Jericho & Benjamin Hiking Up

The crew we had for this trip consisted of:

  • Benjamin The back country expert keeping everyone at a good pace.
  • Jericho Brand new to skiing and back country adventures.
  • Hannah Benjamin’s sister along for the adventure.
  • Me The photographer & sunriser

The Hike Up

The hike up Pine Creek is always a beautiful one. Around a mile in you pass the falls, which at this point was frozen so it was extra cool.

The hike up to Pine Creek Lake is one of the harder 7 mile hikes with 3,500′ of vert and lots of switchbacks, but it defiantly doesn’t lack in the views on the way up as you can slowly see more and more of Paradise Valley below.

As I said, Jericho was pretty new to the whole back country skiing world and about 2 miles in he snapped his pole in half on a tricky tree crossing.

Lucky for him we managed to make it work again with some sticks and duck tape. Good As New!

After that it was rather smooth sailing as we made our way up to the lake and set up camp. I got to bed in a hurry knowing what I was in for the next morning.

Here Comes The Sun

After a long night of being woke up by the harsh wind, I checked my watch and saw it was 3:30 am. Time to go

My plan was to leave camp by 3:45 and make it to the summit of Black Mountain by 5:30 when the sun rises.

With 2 miles and 2,400′ of vert ahead of me, I set off.

I had to stop every once and a while to check my digital map and take pictures like this one to make sure I was on track as it was too dark to see what was ahead.

Once I got to the ridge I thought it would be smooth sailing from there, but little did I know that only the easy part was done.

Once you get on the ridge the walk to the summit is quite treacherous, not to mention it was partially covered in snow and ice, and I was in ski boots. The ridge consists of a lot of rock scrambling, a little rock climbing and a lot of butt clenching. But I was determined!

Eventually I finally made it and was rewarded with the best sunrise I was ever witnessed.

After running around on the top taking pictures and taking some time to relax on top, I turned around and began the trip down.

I didn’t pack my skis up so I was actually butt sliding down on the snow which was terrifying at points, but actually pretty fun. Once I got back to camp I made sure to tell everyone what they missed out on.

After that the morning consisted of starting a fire and eating lots of food.

As we packed up camp, I looked back at the mountain I had just conquered with a big smile on my face.

Headed down

The skiing down was a good time, we were stopping every once and a while to let Jericho catch up. But he was keeping up amazingly well for his 1st time.

Once you get about 2 thirds of the way down you get back into the trees and that’s when skiing gets hard. You have to point straight and hope that you find a spot to get off to the side before you get going too fast. But we all made it back and alive.

This was defiantly a more simple story than the last one but it was defiantly one that I won’t forget. If you enjoyed consider subscribing below so you can hear more as I continue writing.

Until Next Time, Stay Crazy!

Crazy Trip In The Crazy Mountains

Day One Journal Entry:

“Today was a big day. We hiked 9 miles, 2,500′ of vert, all with 40ish pound packs and one extra sled. The sled added a whole new dynamic in my mountain climbing experience, we tied it off to the end of our packs and switch off every mile or so. Although I will probably be glad we brought it along, it sure was a pain to get up here. But now we have the camp all set up for the awesome week that is to come.”

Or at least that is what I would have wrote had I remembered to journal through the exhaustion that fogged my mind as I drifted off to sleep in my warm sleeping bag.

Sunrise on the mountains to the left, and Jadon driving us up to the right.
The Beautiful Drive Up To The Parking Lot

First you have to meet the crew that made this trip as awesome as it was.

  • Jadon When he’s not hyping the group up you can find him getting inverted.
  • Andrew The new guy just trying to survive the journey.
  • Keegan The hype man
  • Benjamin The quiet guy who pops out of no where and goes bigger than everyone.
  • Isaac The video guy who can’t help himself and gets in on all the lines.
  • Me The Photographer

Day 1: And It Begins

Benjamin breaking trail like a boss

The day started at 4:30 am, started hiking at around 7, just a lot of trudging with the sled, nothing too eventful. We got to the camp site around 5 pm.

We set up camp right on the edge of Granite Lake. Lucky for us there was a layer of slushy water about 2 feet under the surface of the lake which provided easy access to water.

We were all exhausted and got to bed shortly after setting up camp.

Day 2: Sore, but ready to go

Jadon running the camera

We wasted no time and got right to the skiing. I had the honors of the 1st line of the week.

We started off basic with the line you can see in the image above, mostly sticking to the right side to get the feel for things.

Right after we ate lunch we went over to some old slide paths and practiced our avalanche safety.

Keegan (Left) and Jadon (Right) making quick work of this rescue

While Jadon and Keegan were waiting for their round at practice, they decided to build a kicker out of a drift which proved to be a nice pass time while watching the sun set.


Jadon (Left), Keegan (Middle), Benjamin (Right)

After the sun set, we all sat around a campfire, drank hot coco, and dried our boots. We were waiting for it to get really dark to try out some night skiing.

our second shot at night skiing

Once we were happy with how dark it was we suited up, turned on our headlamps, and headed out. Isaac and I set up our cameras and waited with anticipation to watch the dot of light float down in the darkness.

Day 3: Pancakes!

After staying up till midnight night skiing the previous night, we woke up at 6:30 am on a mission to get a big line in with one thing motivating us, Pancakes!

this was our line as we saw it from camp

After the 1 mile approach we peaked over the ridge that was blocking our view of the run and we began to see what we were in for.

Benjamin once again leading the way in this enormous terrain

We hiked up the left most couloir in the picture above. It was right at 800′ of vert, and around 45 degree slope, maxing out at 55 degrees.

Isaac hugging the slope to show just how steep this stuff is. You defiantly don’t want to loose a ski or fall on this stuff.

the view from the top of our run

Once we all dug out or spots to clip in, I set out to find a spot to get some pictures. It was very steep and pretty intimidating, but I managed to sneak a handful of quality turns in there.

Jadon charging down like the boss he is

But then it happened, what we all feared…

As Isaac was making a nice turn his ski suddenly ejected which left him helpless to his instincts and the snow.

Lucky for him he fell in one of the less steep and softer parts and was able to stop his sliding and catch both his skis. But as smooth as it went, don’t be fooled, he defiantly got his fair share of adrenaline from the incident.

After we skied back we finally got to break out the pancake batter.

Jadon (Left), Isaac (Right)

Jadon was our cook who made all the delicious pancakes that everyone had been longing for.

As we devoured our pancakes, we slowly began to think, “Maybe the sled wasn’t so bad after all.”

We all drifted off to sleep in our slightly wet sleeping bags with uncertainty as to what the weather had to hold. Last we saw, (3 days ago) we were supposed to get rain the next day.

Day 4: Heading Out… Eventually

As I slept, I was rustled awake every once and a while by big gusts of wind and the sound of what I thought to be snow falling on our tent.

I finally felt rested and ready to go, as I opened the tent flap I was happy to see powder right at my doorstep.

I didn’t get much in video or picture of this day. But we really had a blast!

We finally got out and skied a gully we had been eyeing up all week and did it in prime conditions. The snow was soft, what a blessing!

Sadly we knew it was going to rain the next day and made the hard decision to pack up and get out of there. We didn’t end up leaving until around 5 pm.

Jadon eyeing up his line

Right after we crossed the lake we walked under a pillow line we couldn’t resist. Maybe a mile into our walk out and we already had to stop for a line.

After that detour, we managed to stay on track and ski/hike the rest of the way out. The first half was fun and filled with skiing, but after that was pretty flat and you know how that goes.

the whole crew making their way back to the car, one step at a time

After a long walk in the dark on the road that had been snow covered only a few days ago, we finally saw the glint of the car in our headlamps. This was just before 10 pm.

And the rest is history. As we all got back to our homes I enjoyed the best cereal I have ever had, and enjoyed the soft and dry feeling of laying in my own bed.

I hope that you enjoyed this story and maybe even learned something from it or got inspired! If you want to hear more stories like this you can subscribe below

Until Next Time! Stay Crazy!