One of the great resources for the Hamilton Outing Club (HOC), is the College’s proximity to the Adirondack State Park. The Adirondack Park is the largest state or national park in the lower 48 states, and boasts thousands of miles of hiking trails, hundreds of waterways ideal for canoeing and whitewater rafting, and some of the largest tracts of undeveloped land in the Northeast.
The Adirondacks are known for the High Peaks—a collection of 46 mountains that stand taller than 4,000 feet above sea level. During its annual 46 Peaks Weekend, Oct. 1-2, HOC attempted for the fifth time to collectively (that is, have a student or faculty member) successfully summit every peak.
Planning for 46 Peaks Weekend took more than two weeks, and began with a strategic division of the 46 mountains into groups of peaks clustered together. The object this year was to send out many trips that could divide and conquer in groups of only a few students, so as to spread interested participants over as many of the mountains as possible. After two weeks of sign-ups and finalizing, HOC sent out 33 students on eight overnight trips, and 26 students on daytrips.
Several factors combined to prevent HOC from achieving its 46 Peaks goal—the weather throughout the Adirondacks was cold and wet all weekend, several trails were still closed from flooding in early September, and two Hamilton classes already had Adirondack trips scheduled for the weekend—but the HOC officers were not discouraged. More than conquering all of the mountains, 46 Peaks Weekend is about getting the community excited to play outside, explained officer Anna Bastidas ’13.
Not all trips have reported back on the success of their outings, but Bastidas suspects somewhere between 30 and 40 of the mountains were actually climbed. HOC’s most successful 46 Peaks Weekend was in 2007, when 43 of the 46 mountains were climbed by Hamilton students or faculty members.