Hiking the 46 Adirondack Peaks

They are called the Adirondack Forty-Sixers. We couldn’t write about hiking in the Adirondacks without a tribute to this legendary hiking club. The name: Forty-Sixers comes from the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks. That is the peaks that surpass 4,000 feet.

The club is very well established and organized, new members are assigned a mentor that will assist them in their journey which has as its’ ultimate goal to climb each of the 46 peaks.

Once the last peak is reached the member will be awarded a special patch and be officially accepted as one of the “Forty-Sixers”. a real honor here in the Adirondacks. 🙂

HISTORY OF THE HIKING CLUB

This is truly a historic hiking club, it started almost a century ago! It was officiated in the 1920’s, however, its true origins can be traced to two brothers, Robert and George Marshall, and their friend Herbert Clark. In 1918 the trio set out to hike all 46 peaks.

Their epic experience started on August 1, 1918 with Whiteface Mt. and was completed on the summit of Emmons, June 10, 1925.

There have since been over 7,000 hikers who have followed their footsteps and officially registered their hikes becoming Adirondack Forty-Sixers!

Credit for forming the actual club, however, goes to another trio who were from Troy, NY. Edward Hudowalski, his wife Grace and their pastor Ernest Ryder. After having read about the original trios’ expeditions in a booklet that Robert Marshall had published, they became enthusiastic about the idea and decided to try for themselves.

In the 1930’s they actually started taking Sunday School classes on hikes up the peaks. In 1936 they finally climbed the last of the 46 peaks and six months later they formed the “Forty-Sixers of Troy” hiking club. The club grew substantially and was later expanded and in 1948 was transformed into the “Adirondack Forty-Sixers” hiking club.

THE WINTER 46ERS

The club also gives special recognition to those who climb the peaks in the winter. The goal is to climb all 46 peaks between December 21 and March 21. There is a special patch awarded to those who accomplish this called the Winter 46-R rocker.

The first one to climb all 46 peaks in the winter was Edgar B. Bean who finished his last peak in March of 1962.

There is also a group that calls themselves the naked 46ers, however, we decided not to include photos ;-).  Joking aside the group that calls themselves the naked 46ers are fully clothed other than their hiking boots. They actually hike all 46 peaks in their bare feet.

Such hiking, however, is not endorsed by the club. The club strives to concentrate on the experience of hiking, rather than individual feats that can lead to competition and sometimes foolish acts. On that note one 46er was actually arrested for hiking naked…

Even though there are no patches awarded for spectacular feats I feel that there are several accomplishments worth mentioning. For example the oldest to become a 46er was 86 years old. The youngest to become a 46er is a position that is shared between two 5 year old twins. There are also those who have done all 46 peaks under the moonlight and even one who has done all 46 peaks 46 times!

THE 46 PEAKS

Below is a list of the 46 peaks that “forty-Sixers” are required to climb. The peaks are listed from Highest to lowest. There are a few discrepancies in the list. For example, last few peaks fall just short of 4,000 ft and there is actually one peak registered at 4,000 feet that isn’t included in the list (MacNaughton). However, in view of the historic significance of the list it doesn’t seem right to insist on minor details. 😉

1) Marcy 5344 ft – 2) Algonquin 5114 ft – 3) Haystack 4960 ft – 4) Skylight 4926 0 5) Whiteface 4867 ft – 6) Dix 4857 ft – 7) Gray 4840 – 8) Iroquois Peak 4840 ft – 9) Basin 4827 ft – 10) Gothics 4736ft – 11) Colden 4714 ft – 12) Giant 4627 ft – 13) Nippletop 4620 ft  – 14) Santanoni 4607 ft – 15) Redfield 4606 ft – 16) Wright Peak 4580 ft – 17) Saddleback 4515 ft – 18) Panther 4442 ft – 19) TableTop 4427 ft – 20) Rocky Peak 4420 ft – 21) Macomb 4405 ft – 22) Armstrong 4400 ft – 23) Hough 4400 ft – 24) Seward 4361 ft – 25) Marshall 4360 ft – 26) Allen 4340 ft – 27) Big Slide 4240 ft – 28) Esther 4240 ft – 29) Upper Wolf Jaw 4185 ft – 30) Lower Wolf Jaw 4175 ft – 31) Street 4166 ft 32) Phelps 4161 ft – 33) Donaldson 4140 ft – 34) Seymour 4120 ft – 35) Sawteeth 4100 ft – 36) Cascade 4098ft – 37) South Dix 4060 ft – 38) Porter 4059ft – 39) Colvin 4057 ft – 40) Emmons 4040 ft – 41) Dial 4020 ft – 42) Grace Peak 4012 ft – 43) Blake Peak 3960 – 44) Cliff 3960 ft – 45) Nye 3895 ft – 46) Couchsachraga 3820 ft – 47) MacNaughton 4000 ft

I’ve been anxious to start the peaks myself, however, just writing the list was exhausting. Imagine hiking them all! 😉

Joking aside, if you live in/near the Adirondacks, or you come often you might want to consider joining the Adirondack Forty-Sixers. They all say that the experience is amazing. Not so much because of the “honor” of being a 46r but more from the time spent in the beauty of the Adirondacks. From the sense of accomplishment as you reach each peak and form the great friendships that were made on the journey!

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