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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, August 11, 2011
Coreys hike 46 High Peaks
By Jordan J. Michael
GUILDERLAND Hiking all 46 Adirondack High Peaks is equivalent to climbing Mount Everest 3.7 times from sea level. It’s a timely challenge.
A father, mother, and their son Dave, Tammy, and David Jr. Corey, of Guilderland recently completed the task after hiking to the top of Whiteface Mountain on July 24. The family started 23 months earlier with a climb up Giant.
“I didn’t think I could make the first one,” Mrs. Corey said. It took the Coreys 10 hours to complete the 7.5-mile hike on Giant. “I was huffing and puffing the whole way. We’re quicker and stronger now.”
On Friday, Mr. Corey recited some astonishing numbers: 8,000 miles in a car; 108,726 feet climbed; and 358.5 miles hiked. After all of that, the Coreys are part of the distinguished list of Adirondack 46-Rs.
“We did this to join the club, yes, but now it’s just fun to hike,” said Mr. Corey, who works for the town at the transfer station. The Coreys have climbed Mount Washington (6,288 feet) in New Hampshire and 30 fire towers in the Adirondacks and Catskills. They plan to ascend 54 more Adirondack summits reaching an even 100 and 35 in the Catskills.
“It wasn’t easy,” Mr. Corey said of becoming a 46-R. “Some people say it’s not hard, but I don’t think that’s true.”
The Adirondack 46-Rs was created on May 30, 1948, coming from the 46-Rs of Troy, an informal club that brought mountain climbing aficionados together in 1937. Robert and George Marshall, along with friend Herbert Clark, were the first to record their climbs of all 46 peaks, from 1918 to 1925. The group identified the peaks as having an elevation of 4,000 feet or more.
The organization now has over 7,000 members. Hikers will not be enrolled into the club without reporting the climbs in writing. The Coreys have a large photo album full of evidence.
It all began with a joyride to Mount Washington on July 30, 2009. David Jr. asked his parents if there were any mountains to climb. “Yes,” said his parents, and the goal was set to conquer the 46 High Peaks.
David Jr., a rising sophomore at Guilderland High School, wanted to finish the peaks before he graduated. He has dreams of one day climbing the Seven Summits, which are the highest mountains of each of the seven continents Kilimanjaro (Africa), Vinson Massif (Antarctica), Kosciuszko (Australia), Carstensz Pyramid (Oceania), Everest (Asia), Elbrus (Europe), Mount McKinley (North America), and Aconcagua (South America).
“Being a 46-R is just the beginning,” David Jr. said. “I get enjoyment out of these challenges. Not many people do it.”
Best and worst
Dave and Tammy Corey let their son pick the order of the 46 peaks. Macomb, Carson, Grace, Hough, and Dix were all conquered on June 18. It was a range of 15.1 miles covered in 13 hours. This was a contrast to Allen, which is 18.2 miles on one mountain.
Allen, taking 18 hours, was Mr. and Mrs. Corey’s least favorite because it was slippery and wet that day.
“The one good thing was 4.5 miles of raspberries at peak ripeness,” said Mr. Corey. “We got so full of raspberries, just grabbing a bunch. Besides that, the mountain is covered in algae. You can’t get a grip; we spent hours struggling. There’s a 20-foot wall before the peak when we thought we already reached the peak.”
“Slippery slides all the way to the top,” Mrs. Corey added. “Nothing to hang onto.”
David Jr. almost agreed on Allen as his least favorite, but went with Emmons, which also came with rain. “It was the last peak on a range of three,” he said. “It was 18 miles. No fun.”
The Coreys lucked out pretty nicely with weather, only having to cancel five hikes. It was easy to reschedule the climbs.
“You have to be prepared for anything because you’re far in,” Mr. Corey said. “There’s really no cell-phone service and you’re miles from houses and roads. You could twist an ankle.”
Mr. Corey and his son both agreed on Haystack as their favorite hike. Haystack is in the center of the Adirondack Park and has a long walk in of eight miles. They scrambled over open rock and trees on a dead calm sunny day. Mr. Corey said it was “so pretty” that he wants to hike it again.
“We broke out of the tree line about a mile from the top and Mount Marcy is to the right,” David Jr. said of Haystack. “It was the perfect day.”
Cliff, Mrs. Corey’s favorite peak, actually had cliffs to climb over. “The rock climbing obstacles were very enjoyable,” she said. “It was an adventure that had everything.”
Beyond the summit
As the Coreys hiked each mountain and researched them, they found each to have its own history. Trails aren’t always about the hike; they’re also about the waterfalls, ponds, lakes, fishing, and walking within them.
Skylight, a 21-mile trip covered by the Coreys in 14 hours, has a huge pile of rocks at the top. Mr. Corey explains, saying, “There was this guy many years ago who brought a rock to the top, making it a guideline as a joke. Everyone brings a rock. Our rocks were small, but there are huge ones in that pile. I wonder what that guy would think if he was alive to see that rock pile.”
While ascending Skylight, David Jr. heard an enormous noise. It was a fighter jet doing maneuvers about a half-mile away. This brought up another history lesson.
“A plane crashed into the side of Wright some time during the Cold War and the pieces are still scattered around,” Mrs. Corey, who works at the Campbell House in Schenetcady, said. The family has a picture of one of the pieces. “It was low-flying through the mountains and it took a couple days for people to find where it crashed,” she said.
While hiking Marshall, the Coreys came across a huge cement monument. “A guy set his pack down and his gun went off, killing him,” said Mr. Corey. “His kids made that monument and brought it there for him.”
Not one High Peak is the same as another. Not even close. That’s what gives this adventure such meaning. Such purpose. Hikers are walking past years of history and evolution.
“It’s just really fun,” David Jr. said. “You’re away from everyone and it’s quiet. Too much to do in a lifetime.”
“We take so much for granted,” Mrs. Corey said. “I look down as I step, but the scenery from the top…”
“Isn’t anything like it,” said Mr. Corey. “We’re not going to stop.”