You might think climbing the forty-six High Peaks is no big deal. After all, more than 6,200 hikers have done it.
But I’ve got news for you: those peaks are as big as they were when Bob and George Marshall and their guide, Herb Clark, climbed them. The Marshall brothers and Clark completed the first round of the forty-six in 1925, inaugurating an Adirondack tradition.
What’s more, no matter how many people preceded you, when you climb the High Peaks for the first time, you see the mountains fresh, just as the Marshalls and Clark did.
I was reminded of this when Seth Lang, a Crown Point photographer, sent me images of his recent hike up Mount Haystack with his brother, Kyle, and Thomas Tubbs. Seth, who is twenty-seven, and Kyle, who is thirty, were finishing their forty-six. They had climbed their first High Peak, Cascade Mountain, in 1994 but didn’t start seriously pursuing all the peaks until 2004.
“My personal feeling was one of pride and accomplishment,” Seth e-mailed me after his round. “Not only do I feel a deeper connection with nature, but also with my family back home. I feel that I am far better at solving problems now. I would argue that climbing the forty-six has as much to do with mental fortitude as anything else—maybe more.”
Why did he finish on Haystack?
“I was told by a very wise man that it had the best view,” Seth said.
He didn’t reveal the identity of the wise man, but it’s interesting to note that Bob Marshall also prized Haystack’s view as the best in the High Peaks.
“It’s a great thing these days to leave civilization for a while and return to nature,” Marshall once wrote with this view in mind. “From Haystack you can look over thousands and thousands of acres, unblemished by the works of man, perfect as made by nature.”
That holds true today just as it did in 1925.
Incidentally, you can see more of Seth Lang’s excellent photography on his website.