Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ADK 46: Big Slide Mountain

In April, when my friend Joe was town,  I convinced him that he wanted to hike my last high peak with me. I wasn't exactly twisting his arm since he did a AT thru hike. But, it required some planning since he now lives in Switzerland.  With our other friend's wedding coming up in early October, the last weekend of September was planned.  I had expected to hike throughout the summer but camp, Marcy's heart worms, Alaska, and buying a home set me back.

However,  I told Joe (and anyone else who would listen)  that I was going to finish, I spent the past 6 weeks hauling up the the Adirondacks to climb my remaining 11 peaks.   These 6 weeks have been incredible,  I continually surprised myself with my ability to navigate unmarked trails, scramble rocks with ease, and hike for long days / distances.  It was challenging and I loved it.  I've been starving, exhausted, and missing the trails come Monday morning when I am at work.

Since starting officially in 1997, it never seemed quite possible that I would actually summit all 46 peaks.  Especially those nearly 20 mile trail-less ones, but I found myself at 45 this past Sunday morning, ready to have my last - first in the High Peaks in the Adirondacks.  

The weather was warm & gorgeous  I had already spent the previous 36 hours running through the streets of the Adirondacks with the Ragnar Relay and was feeling the tired after my 16 mile contribution towards the 197 miles that my team ran. Thankfully many of my friends joining me for the day had gone out for a bachelor party, so they weren't exactly sprinting up the mountain either.

We all met at the Garden Trailhead around 9:30 and made our way onto the trail just before 10.  We (and by we I mean me)  decided to climb up and back on the three brothers.  Unlike some of the mountains with the long approaches, we were climbing immediately.  

action shots from a friend, probably the only time I was in front.

The trail did not disappoint, we enjoyed using the Brother summits to relax and take in the view.  Just about 3 hours later,  at 12:51 I reached the summit of Big Slide Mountain.  I sent some positive vibes toward my new hiking friend Barry who was also finishing up on Sunday over at Haystack.  

Honey whiskey, chocolate and sunshine were all enjoyed as my friends helped me celebrate.  We stayed on the summit for nearly an hour, which is the longest I've stayed on a summit in years.  At 2, we decided that we should start making moves down the mountain so I could become an (un)official 46er. 

The views continued to be incredible as the sun was moving across the sky the colors of the leaves seemed richer. After a handful of wet/cold/cloudy day hikes, the Adirondack gods certainly gave me a break. 

At 4:30 we reached the trailhead and I successfully climbed up and back all 46 Adirondack High Peaks for the first time.  I said goodbye to my syracuse friends and met up with my high school friends at Chapel pond to rinse off a bit.  It  was the first time I've stopped there despite how many times I've driven past.

Driving back to Albany, the enormity of what I completed began to hit me. What an amazing ride it has been.  I appreciate everything the trails have given to me and who I am now verses who  I was when I (re)started my quest.

As for whats next?  Tackling the ever expanding to-do list that I've neglected since moving into my house.  And come December 21st, I'll be pulling out my snowshoes and kahtoolas to explore my Adirondack mountains in the snow.

Big Slide Mountain (Ranked 27th at 4240)

9 miles RT

7 hours including breaks

Gear Used:
Dueter Backpack, hydroflask waterbottles (40oz, & 32 oz) EMS Boots (discontinued - my original boots from 1997), oiselle shorts, and smartwool ski socks


  1. That's awesome. Congratulations!! Big Slide is an awesome hike, and a nice one to end on. I need to get out there more! Also congrat's on Ragnar. My team couldn't get enough people together in time and I missed it this year. I'm hoping for next year, even though it'll be a week after my wedding ha! Seriously so much congrat's 46 is a huge accomplishment.

  2. Congrats, Chris! What an achievement! And what an awesome hike to end with. :-)