Sometimes, one needs to get up for an alpine start i.e. really, really early, and yet not have a functioning alarm. Cell phones have a tendency to lose the correct time when shut off and then turned back on in an area with no service and watches can break or run out of batteries.

Are there any tips for still getting up really early without an alarm?

  • 4
    I always have difficulty getting any quality sleep at all the night before an alpine start but that's me... BTW, alpine start implies alpinism, and I wouldn't start up the mountains without an altimeter. In my case a watch wich has an alarm.
    – Guran
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 7:24
  • I have never had this problem with a cell phone. Is this a problem that modern smartphones have?
    – gerrit
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 12:45
  • @gerrit I have had it happen with multiple cell phones, it happens when there is absolutely no service. Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 15:20
  • @CharlieBrumbaugh Odd. I've frequently hiked in areas far away from any service but never had this happen. When getting up is very important I additionally use the alarm clock on my Garmin GPS-receiver, though. That one always has coverage as I've yet to sleep in caves or slot canyons :)
    – gerrit
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 15:28
  • 5
    My cheap Timex is more then 5 years old, nearly unbreakable, and has sounded an alarm or two daily for the entire time.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 16:12

1 Answer 1


There are some things that will help in getting up early without an alarm.

  • Drink more water than normal before bed , this ensures that you won't sleep all of the way through the night.
  • Try to sleep so that the rising moon/early twilight will shine on you earlier (don't sleep on the west side of a big rock)
  • Once, up don't go back to sleep even if that means starting slightly earlier than you had planned.
  • Get to bed early.
  • If you do this enough times in a short time span, it is possible to approximate the time before sunrise by the position of Venus in the sky.
  • Remember that it is important to get up early, and that you can sleep later in the day.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.