HOC Summits 43 of 46 High Peaks

Mike Nelson '16, Katie Murphy '16 and Charlotte Simons '16.
Mike Nelson '16, Katie Murphy '16 and Charlotte Simons '16.

The 2012 46 Peaks weekend of Sept. 29-30 was a roaring success, despite the constant rain. The Hamilton Outing Club (HOC) tied its previous record of 43 peaks summited, and almost doubled participation from last year, with 125 students hiking in the Adirondacks over the weekend. “As far as our goals... it totally met that,” said Assistant Director of Outdoor Leadership Sarah Jillings. Two of the trails-less peaks were impassable, due to a washed-out bridge and high waters from the rain, which made crossing unsafe.

Despite the wet weather all weekend, spirits stayed high. “People were pretty much wet the whole time but made the best of it, really just embraced the experience,” said Jillings. There were “some of the best [fall] colors I've seen anywhere...the weather made the colors that much more exceptional.” There were a lot of new hikers on the trail this year, and Jillings hasn’t “had a bad report yet.”

Marco Scheuer ’14 led a trip of three other students on an especially ambitious weekend, climbing Mount Colden, 14 miles of trail with 774 ft. of elevation gain, on Saturday, then tackling the Santanoni Range on Sunday, 17 miles of trail with 1080 ft. of elevation gain. Three of the seven peaks in the range qualified as High Peaks, which had the group on the trail from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., finishing the day by headlamp. “It was foggy all the way and really pretty,” said Scheuer. The trip was eventful – Mike Nelson ’16 wore a bandolier of Snickers bars to keep the group energized, and they had to hike across a beaver dam at one point to find the trail again. “It was informed enthusiasm and a high suffer quotient that made that trip work,” said Jillings.

Feeding all 125 students for the weekend was no easy task. HOC Officer Anna Bastidas ’13 handled all of the food orders, designing a standard menu for all trips to simplify the process, but “we really worked to accommodate any allergies or any dietary needs that came up, which wasn’t very many.” In total, HOC ordered 180 tortillas, 30 lbs. of pasta, 23 cups of oatmeal, 10 lbs. of tomato sauce, three boxes of brown sugar, 40 bagels, and plenty more to keep students fed and ready to hike. Bastidas was particularly grateful to Bon Appetit for all of their help in making this happen, and for the great relationship they and HOC have always shared.

The group couldn't be more pleased about the weekend. Sign-ups filled in record time – in past years, there have been tables out in Beinecke for days, but all spots for all peaks were full within 30 minutes of sign-ups this year, with a wait list, too. “I’m really happy with how it panned out,” said Bastidas. “All of the officers put in a lot of time and effort, and it definitely shows.”

Jillings was also pleased, and attributed the success of the weekend to the students. “This is the most committed group of officers we've ever had, and there’s a ton of enthusiasm in the club.”

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