the early bird gets the (best) sunrise at Whistler’s Black Tusk

It started as a mountain bike ride in Squamish, with a possible side of hiking the chief afterwards.

Tired legs and some cold beers later at the Howe Sound Brewery, my friend Steph and I had solidified a plan for our next epic adventure – which would start approximately three hours later.

We would camp beside the Squamish River (in a non-legal, but fully awesome camp spot,) and 2 hours into our sleep we would wake again, pack up in the dark and head for the hills. A big hill. Black Tusk to be exact.

One beer deep and a sunrise hike was suggested.

Garibaldi Lake we said.

Black Tusk! We beamed.

9pm rolled around and I was serenading Steph sweet songs on my guitar, trying to force shut eye, but the late night sun hung around a little longer.

Steph and I tried to sleep, we really did, but we kept hearing fireworks and odd loud noise around where we camped.

1:15am comes way too soon, every time.

We packed up and headed towards are cars in the dark. “What the HELL.” Steph shreaked. Her back window of her Subaru wagon had been smashed, but her very pricey mountain bike still in tact. As fast as I ever have, I grabbed a fleece blanket and some duct tape from my car (which I oddly had?) and taped up that window like a ninja. Then we got the hell out of there.

That’s what I love about Steph, since hanging around Whistler more, she’s been my adventure buddy, always up for anything, always positive. Even when her freaking window gets smashed.

2am  and we met another friend, Liam in the lot, and we started up the 14km hike to the Tusk. With headlamps, trail coffee and good conversations, we could see first light at some point when we were walking through the meadows, bypassing Garibaldi lake.

We kept checking our phones. With sunrise scheduled for 7:07am, we were counting down the minutes, the sun absolutely wasn’t allowed to crest before we got up there.

black tusk2

As we crawled our way up, exhausted from lack of sleep, the adrenaline of smashed car windows and the change in altitude, we could feel the sun peeking over the peaks.

Hauling our bodies up on the ridge for the grand finale and – we missed it.

By approximately 30 seconds. Damn, that sun rises pretty fast when you’re watching it, totally opposite to watching water boil.

blakc tusk1

Despite missing “the moment,” it was epic. One of the best feelings to date, being up there, at that time, with those people. The tusk looks SO small from the winding sea-to-sky, but when you’re up there beside it, it towers over you, a beast in the sky.

black tusk3

Totally unprepared for the ice cold weather, we decided to save the summit for another adventure. More details on that when it happens.

Until then, lock your cars and climb lots of mountains.


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