This photo is a result of a lot of different and strange circumstances lining up in unexpected ways. A couple days prior, Matt (Matt Jackisch Photography) and I had scrambled up this mountain to have a look at the view and learn the route, only to be caught inside a cloud at the summit. We waited as long as I could stand it (I was frozen as we huddled down beside a large rock that was acting as a windbreak) and had wrapped my emergency blanket around myself, but the cloud wasn't showing any sign of dissipating. Hands and feet numb, we decided to head down, disappointed.
We rested for a day before attempting the real goal, summiting for sunrise. We woke up at 3am, scarfed down breakfast, and made our way to the base of the mountain with our headlamps shining the way. This was the first time I'd ever attempted to attain a summit for sunrise, and I was equal parts excited about the prospect, and nervous about wandering around deep in the backcountry in the dark.
After accidentally passing the cairn which we were supposed to turn at to begin our ascent, we retraced our steps and then began our climb. It got cooler as we ascended, and pretty soon we realized it was snowing lightly.
First light came as we reached the ridge. The rocks were especially slippery with the fine dusting of snow; we had to make our way slowly and carefully upwards to avoid slipping.
Only about 20' away from the summit, I suddenly heard, in my mind, my dad's voice as clear as a bell. I'll keep what he said to myself, but it was a special moment for me because I've not heard his voice (even in recording) since he passed away two years ago today. Heart in my throat, I reached the cairn, touched it, and then settled in with my camera to witness one of the most spectacular and breathtaking sunrises I've ever seen in my entire life.