Distance

3.6 mi to summit

9.9 mi total

Elevation

1,962 ft start

4,850 ft max

Vertical

3,542 ft gain

Time

3 hr 8 min to summit

9 hr 12 min total

Attempted a sunrise hike with Jeff and Meenu. We left home at 11 pm Saturday, after maybe two hours of sleep (plus a short nap earlier in the day). We arrived and were the only car in the lot at 3:15 am. Jeff warned us that the trail starts getting steep fast and the first couple of miles were about the steepest - to get up Marble Mountain. And he was right, it was definitely a challenge. It said it was 48 degrees when we left the car but I quickly became very warm and took off my outer layers. After we made it up the 2 miles it leveled off for a bit. The darkness was hard, only seeing a few feet ahead, and we could see the clouds and fog gathering. As we started up again towards the summit of Whiteface it was definitely getting foggy and we knew our sunrise view was probably not going to be great but we still hoped. We caught a glimpse of a beautiful fiery red in breaks of the mist as we got closer. When we got to the wall that was to the highway above us, it was starting to get lighter. We were tempted to climb that wall but it seemed like a risky idea. I was tired and hungry but kept pressing on, knowing that we were probably running a little late and the fog was getting worse. I put layers back on as it was getting cold and damp. We made it to the summit at about 6:10 am, sunrise was supposed to be about 6:20ish but it was already pretty light. And freezing! The wind and damp air were pretty brutal, and I dug out my gloves but not before my fingers felt completely frozen. It was eerily quiet up there on Whiteface with the observatory closed and being the only ones at that hour. We watched the clouds moving fast and there were some breaks in them that offered amazing views, but mostly it was not a good view day up there. We tried to warm up a bit out of the wind in a little shed and then started down. Pretty quickly as we descended the skies were really clearing up so we got some better views - and even debated going back up to the summit but ultimately wanted to keep moving. We headed back down to the junction and over to Esther. It was starting to be a beautiful day and we were starting to see a ton of people - as it was the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. From there on the trail was pretty full of people. The views on Esther were limited but a nice view of Whiteface with a cloud right at the top. The trip back down seemed long (as usual) and that last two miles was steep again on the descent. We were back to the parking area at about 12:30 pm, and the lot was packed now. It was amazing to be done with a hike at mid-day, but we still put in a little over 9 hours with our stopping time. We drove to Lake Placid and got sandwiches (from the 46 sandwiches, I had Colden) and coffee and then made the drive back home. It was only about 5 pm when I went out for my short run instead of 11 pm, so that was a big improvement.

Feet | Meters
Natural Atlas (US)
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Key gear

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Other peaks climbed on this trip