Dawn Patrol Gratitude


That moment when you reach the top of the peak and you look over the horizon and see the alpenglow hit the tops of the mountains. One by one, each peak takes on a whole new look, richly colored hues enhanced by red glowing bands of clouds reflecting over the mountain range.
As we climb to the peak, I see my friends individually smiling at each other — that wordless nod or look that you give your companions, radiating gratitude. If I were to be cast in a remake of the movie “Groundhog’s Day,” I would want to start the day over and over again skiing the backcountry, watching the sunrise, and of course, with these amazing women.

The concept the “dawn patrol” was popularized by Andrew McLean, a designer at Salt Lake City-based Black Diamond Equipment, who coined the phrase after meeting up with other alpinists in the Wasatch Range for an early morning ski tour.
McLean would wake up at 3 a.m. to meet up with the dawn patrol tour of the Wasatch range — and make sure they were all at the office and in their seats by 8 a.m. The tradition continues and during the winter it could be considered an anomaly if, on any given work-week day in the Wasatch, you didn’t run into a Black Diamond Equipment employee on the trail before workIMG_8215

In my last blog post, I discussed the community of events that are happening all throughout the country that are inspiring all-female adventures. The point of these events is not to exclude men but rather to uplift and empower women. In the case of the dawn patrol that I organized – I invited the guys. They either bailed the day before, slept in, or didn’t even show up.

It’s not a bad thing.

Rather, it was cathartic for the group of women to get up early, hike uphill, and see the sunrise together over the Wasatch Range.

The five of us had a lot going on that morning and a lot of things on our minds …

Did he remember to pack a change of clothes for the kids for daycare?

Am I going to get a call for a second interview?

I miss him and our memories.

I hope the dog isn’t sleeping in my bed.

I miss this place.

All those conversations that were going on in our heads slowly passed and it became more about being in the moment. Gratitude for the mountains, the sunrise, and more importantly, each other.

My original intent for this post was to highlight the latest women’s specific backcountry gear, avalanche education resources, and quote the latest trends on the growth in the backcountry category for women. Believe me, this will all come my dear readers. But for now –- I just wanted to express my gratitude for that special morning in the Wasatch.

Thank you, my friends who woke up early that morning, you mean the world to me.


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