There’s no greater feeling than hiking for hours up descents of upwards of 5,000 feet to the best views you could imagine. Once you summit a mountain, are exhausted, sweaty and your leg muscles are burning, you look around and it all becomes well worth it. On sunny days, you could see for miles from the peak of the shortest mountains in the Adirondack high peaks.
Conquering a mountain is probably the most exhilarating and therapeutic experience on earth. Occupying your hobbies with such outdoor activity as mountain climbing is not only good for your mind- feeding your psyche with a huge sense of accomplishment- it’s also a reflection of strong character and dedication.
Aside from all the benefit climbing affords you as an individual, it is also extremely good for your body. A true test of endurance and lower-body conditioning, climbers beyond their middle age often find themselves in the greatest shape of their life. And the benefits to physical health- especially later in life- are enumerable. Getting into the habit of collecting summit ascents- or ‘peak bagging-‘ can get quite addictive.
New York State offers the most famous, accessible and achievable mountaineering badge of accomplishment in the country, encouraging peak-baggers from around the country and globe. The 46ers is an organization recognizing climbers who have ascended the 46 high peaks of the Adirondacks, all of which are above 3,800 feet. There is also a separate badge for those having ascended the same peaks in the winter months, referred to as the ‘Winter 46ers.’
Just the other side of Vermont, there is the New Hampshire 48ers. Higher in elevation than the Adirondack High Peaks, the 48 New Hampshire peaks all summit over 4,000 feet, the highest of which being Mt Washington, reaching 6,288 feet. Meanwhile, in Colorado, there are plenty of options for mountaineering and peak bagging as well. There are 53 peaks across Colorado above 14,000 feet. To ascend every one of these peaks is to join the elite 14ers club.
Enjoying peak bagging is a magnificent hobby for the entire family. Just ensure preparedness with the right equipment and gear. Because if you are caught on top of even the lowest mountain- where the weather can turn on you in a heartbeat- it could cost you your life.