During the Memorial Day weekend, there were more snowflakes than blackflies in the air, after a late spring snowstorm deposited nearly three feet of fresh snow on Whiteface Mountain and the surrounding High Peaks.
“That’s great,” I replied. “But the view is much better when you can see your house from the top of the mountains.”
While the Saranac 6’er Campaign will certainly serve to attract ‘ultra-hikers’ who are interested in speed and endurance, I expect the campaign will also prompt many local residents to get out and enjoy some of the surrounding summits that they have long enjoyed from a distance. After climbing all of the six peaks, hikers can register for Saranac 6’er status on the honor system. They will then be eligible to submit the dates to the village of Saranac Lake to receive an official Saranac Sixers number, a vest patch and a bumper sticker.
Participants can attempt a variety of achievements with a Sixer finishing up all six peaks, and an Ultra 6’ers completing all six peaks in a 24-hour time span. Winter 6’ers will complete all six peaks during the winter season, and Family 6’ers will do it all as a family. I was in Saranac Lake last Saturday on a cold, wet and windy morning to see how many of the one hundred or so pre-registered 6’er participants would show up. The wind was whipping the rain sideways as the first few hikers staggered toward the sign-up station.
The temperatures continued to drop and so did the rain, as weather conditions worsened throughout the day. By noon, snow had capped the nearby peaks and high winds pummeled the participants with a driving rain. Many in the crowd joked about awarding winter Saranac 6’er status to all finishers.
I listened as George Grzyb, an ultra hiker from downstate, complained the event was not going to begin until 8 a.m.
“I drove up late last night and slept in my car,” he explained. “I thought it would start at daybreak! I just want to get it over with before last call at the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, so I can enjoy a few pints of Ubu Ale!”
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.