Tackling the Adks on a fast trot

Since the 1920's, when Marshall brothers first began tackling the High Peaks in earnest, hikers and climbers have been attracted to perform feats of climbing endurance in the Adirondack wilderness.

Bob Marshall and his brother, George, along with the family guide, Herb Clark are credited with being the first individuals on record to scale all of the 46 Adirondack peaks above 4,000 feet elevation.

Their accomplishments spawned the Adirondack '46ers, a hiker's advocacy group with a membership that now numbers in the tens of thousands.

Clark, a local guide, was described by Bob Marshall at the time as being, "The fastest man I have ever known in the pathless woods."

From his humble youthful wanderings in the Adirondacks, Bob Marshall developed a lifelong commitment of wilderness advocacy which eventually lead to his efforts to organize The Wilderness Society.

His initial scamps through the peaks, often dressed in tennis sneakers rather than the cumbersome climbing boots of the era, soon grew to longer excursions that included records for high peaks bagged in a day, (14).

By the fall of 1937, according to W. C. White's book, Adirondack Country, Marshall had gone on "more than 200 walks of 30 miles in a day, 50 walks of 40 miles and a number of longer walks including one of more than 75 miles."

When asked about such jaunts, Marshall remarked, "It's a great thing these days to leave civilization for a while and return to nature."

By the 1950s, as peak bagging became increasingly popular, a number of local, summer camp counselors began a friendly competition when one counselor completed the 46 High Peaks in 11 days.

Ed Palen, currently a rock climbing guide and the owner of Rock and River Lodge in Keene was a teenager counselor at Camp Pok-o-Moonshine in 1972. That was the summer when he and Sharpe Swan, a fellow counselor established a long held record for the fastest trip up the 46. Their journey took six days and 18 hours.

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