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Notes from the North Woods

Meadow Hackett from Ray Brook celebrates the climb on the summit of St. Regis Mountain, while knocking off another one of the Saranac Sixers.

Meadow Hackett from Ray Brook celebrates the climb on the summit of St. Regis Mountain, while knocking off another one of the Saranac Sixers.

The Sixer Campaign is the brainchild of Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau, who fostered the idea in an effort to bring visitors to town and spur on a bit of additional tourism. The effort has been very well received, with merchants offering special deals for participants featuring licensed Sixer products which include local wine, beer and clothing.

The weather pattern that greeted the climbers who had gathered to attempt the inaugural kickoff of the Saranac Sixer Campaign last spring, was nearly identical to the weather conditions that greeted the Winter Sixers last week, although the heavy rains during the spring event were much tougher to deal with due to the heavy runoff.

A crew of hardy, runners, climbers and similarly minded mountain masochists departed Berkley Square in downtown Saranac Lake in the darkness of the early morning hours as they spread out to tackle six local peaks, ranging in elevation from a mere 2,452 feet on Mt. Baker, which requires a 1.8 mile round trip to the remaining peaks including McKenzie Mountain at 3,861 feet, with a 10-mile round trip hike, and Ampersand Mountain at 3,261 followed by Scarface Mountain at 3,088 feet elevation, Haystack at 2,874 feet and St. Regis Mountain in Paul Smiths, which stands at 2,865 feet.

The morning of the event dawned with cold temperatures, winds and a combination of snow and freezing drizzle as Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau launched the inaugural group off to the local trails in the dimming darkness of a bracing Adirondack morning.

The first group of Winter Sixers to finish included Caleb Strong of Victor, NY; who finished in a time of 9:55 and set a new Ultra Sixers speed record for the climb by knocking over an hour of the original record.

Strong was followed by Loring Porter of Lake Placid, NY; who finished in a time of 10:59. Porter became the original Ultra Saranac Sixer when he topped the field at the inaugural event in May by finishing in a time of 10 hours, 22 minutes.

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