Group Makes it Easy to Hike the Adirondacks
by M.F. Piraino - Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
Adirondack 46ers are hikers who have climbed all 46 of the peaks taller than 4,000 feet in the Adirondack Mountains. There are thousands of 46ers. However, there are far fewer (thousands less) who have completed the feat in the winter; Jim Wallace has done it twice. Never shying from a challenge, Wallace finds his happiness […]

Adirondack 46ers are hikers who have climbed all 46 of the peaks taller than 4,000 feet in the Adirondack Mountains. There are thousands of 46ers. However, there are far fewer (thousands less) who have completed the feat in the winter; Jim Wallace has done it twice.

Never shying from a challenge, Wallace finds his happiness in the hills.

“Once people start climbing the peaks, they’ll be sold,” he says. “It takes your soul over. For a lot of people, it becomes a goal in life. You’ll be up every weekend. That’s how it starts. And lots of those people, most of my good friends, I met in Meetup.”

The New York Mountaineering Group on Meetup.com (meetup.com/newyorkmountaineering) is headed by Wallace and offers people yearning for the outdoors a way to meet others with matching interests and to organize trips of all kinds. Whether it’s camping for a weekend or hiking for a day, the site offers options for varying skill levels.

“There’s always someone beginning,” he says. “You’ve got to take them under your wing.”

Wallace helps newcomers learn the ropes and modifies hikes so some people can continue and others can turn back sooner. The group also draws people of diverse backgrounds, professions and parts of the state.

“Most trips, no two people are from the same location,” he says. They come from Albany, Hudson Valley, Rochester, Buffalo and beyond. “Everyone is the same in the mountains.”

Though the Meetup group is run by Wallace, others can contribute trip ideas, and often activities on the site span running, hiking, climbing, skiing, kayaking and more.

“I’ve run some big races, marathons,” he explains. “The best mountaineers in the world train that way.”

Wallace also stands by the quality of the mountains Central New Yorkers have right in their backyard.

“I love anything out west,” he says. “I like it all. But the Adirondacks are some of the best. Colorado peaks are taller, but Adirondacks are tougher. Exposed roots, mud, boulders, pounding on your knee joints, endless miles. …When you’re in Colorado, it’s drier, and switchback trails — you can see where you’re going. In the Adirondacks, it’s all trees and then a summit. It’s two hours of walking in the woods wondering if you’ll ever get there. And it’s always farther than you think.” [SNT]

FAST FACTS

598: Members in the New York Mountaineering Meetup Group.

15: Organizers with about 10 years’ experience each (that means more than 150 years combined total experience).

5,343: Elevation (in feet) of Mount Marcy, the highest peak in New York. Wallace has climbed it “a couple dozen times.”

$0: The group costs nothing to join and is as simple as hitting this LINK

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