46er Survey, Revisited

My apologies for never posting the rest of the survey results. In case anyone wanted to see the answers to the last three questions, here is a sampling of responses. I removed the answers that didn’t include details or just gave the name of a mountain.


What is your favorite mountain, and why?

Gothics.  It was my boyfriend’s first full day hike and I saw him fall in love with the mountains.

Whiteface and Esther…just a great day! First time climbing more than one HP in one day, huge sense of accomplishment, beautiful day, came out in the dark after watching the sun begin to set from the top of Esther…just remember such a great feeling.

Basin – combination of the views and the effort to get there.

Gothics from Orebed Brook- the slide is pretty cool and while it’s a difficult hike, it’s not so steep as to be scary.

Allen; if you can climb it in winter, you can do anything

RPR – did in winter on a gorgeous 25 degree day. Perfect conditions and views. Didn’t see a soul. A transcendental experience.

I enjoyed Sawteeth…saw a pine marten. Marcy, Gray, Skylight with my dog Banjo… proud of him. Full moon hike with my sister to Pyramid… unique and different. Haystack, Basin, Saddleback… beautiful and a long grueling day. Dix range… all of my friends bailed and I stuck it out and completed solo… was later lectured by a gentleman about hiking solo. Colden via the Trap Dyke. Whiteface via the slide.

Haystack is fantastic… the view of it in the summer from Little Haystack is amazing to me. Looks like something straight out of Africa. Colden loop with Lake Arnold and Avalanche Lake is also a great hike.

Marcy, I was the highest in the state! And Whiteface – feeling accomplished when you get to the top sweaty and tired compared to the nicely clothed tourists.

Skylight…it was my first and when I reached the summit I felt as if I were on another planet. It was so cool and like nothing I’d ever seen before.

I always loved Skylight. It’s so remote, yet the actual ascent is kind of easy and fun. And the views are outstanding. I recently returned when my daughter finished her 46 on Skylight in October 2011. So now it’s super special.

I am a big fan of both Gothics and Skylight equally. I have done Gothics numerous times (mostly for the view), and I recently did a sunrise on Skylight, which was absolutely stunning.

Algonquin. It was my second peak, and I climbed it with my wife (her first ever hike) and my daughter who was 20 months old at the time. It was also my second winter peak (first winter hike, but was on Wright first) and first multiple peak hike on the perfect winter day. I actually have a tattoo of the MacIntyre Range with snowflakes, and my kids’ names.

Marcy, it was my first one and I did it with no interest in hiking the other 45. I was simply doing to train for a future event that was derailed by a family illness. But it reminds me of a time before that illness.

Colden and Giant – the views and the people I met on the summit.

Algonquin, Marcy, and Gothics. Algonquin because of the rugged trail and incredible summit views. Marcy because it was a beautiful September day and I was alone on the summit of the highest mountain in NYS. Gothics because of the great views coming over Pyramid then the summit.

Upper Wolf Jaw – it was a fun day of rock hopping and I enjoyed all the rock climbing puzzles.

Gothics. The view was incredible, and walking along the ridge was amazing. It was also the end of a 3 peak day where I did Upper Wolfjaw, Armstrong and Gothics and it was so satisfying to be sitting at the summit. I was also alone up there for about 20 minutes.

My favorite hike was the Dix Range, on September 11, 2001.

Whiteface. One of my first and whole family with me. They all came to celebrate my 50th birthday. Many other fabulous hikes. Good weather and good companions always helps.

Algonquin. First peak I climbed when I was 15. Wright. 5th peak I climbed on my honeymoon when I was 24.

Great Range traverse, Rooster Comb to Loj. Nabbed Saddleback, Basin and Haystack for 44-46.

Favorite summit = Skylight – massive summit dome with gorgeous vegetation. Amazing views, especially of Marcy and Haystack. Favorite climb = Gothics via Pyramid…do it and you’ll see why!

Haystack. Rugged, remote, fantastic views.

Sawteeth – scenic trail is beautiful, views are magnificent.

Colden. To stand on the summit and look down into the black inky depths of Avalanche Lake; to stand so high above Lake Colden; to look over to Avalanche Mt. and on to Algonquin. I’ve been on Colden twice and on both occasions had the entire summit to myself!

Dix via Hunter’s pass, over Hough and down Lillian Brook HP. It was 1st high peak my daughter climbed, just a great experience.

Haystack or Nippletop. Haystack is tough but the views are fantastic and Nippletop’s approach has such fun with the false summit and wonderful views of the Dix area and the Great Range

Marcy and Skylight Loop. Great hike where you get to see a lot of different terrain.

Haystack – everything about it. The hike out via the Phelps Trail, climbing Little Haystack, etc.

Algonquin – I felt good during the day, hiked at a good pace, view was beautiful, not too windy, that’s when I decided I wanted to become a forty sixer 🙂


 What is your least favorite mountain, and why?

Upper Wolf Jaw. I was exhausted and just wanted to get down.

Cliff – missed the summit and had to go back.

Allen. I fell into Lake Jimmy on the hike in with a camera around my neck, but continued the climb.

Emmons. I felt we should have turned back after Donaldson. We got back to camp 30 minutes before sunset. Even with headlamps, that’s not good planning. But I hadn’t spoken up… now I do 🙂

Cliff, partially thanks to being chased off the top by a thunderstorm. Nothing like descending Cliff’s cliffs in the rain with lightning to chase you.

Couchsachraga; just plain demoralizing.

Allen, distance to view ratio is out of whack.

Esther – smelled like urine.

Redfield has been my least favorite. I had climbed Cliff just before and it was getting late in the day. It was a very LONG journey to the summit, often rocky and through the Uphill Brook. I thought this one would never end!

On the same day I did my favorite I also did my least favorite – Basin. The climb scared me a lot.   Going back down that ladder was the worst.

Whiteface. Why hike when you can drive? Americade was that weekend; the bikers were thicker than flies on shit.

Marshall because of the experience of wet feet, ill fitting boots and being in pain on the way.

Couch – shitty little hill I unfortunately had left to finish my winter 46.

Couch was just long and boring. Thank God I met a fellow hiker otherwise it would have been an even longer day than it was.

Allen because of the long distance and extreme elevation gain the last mile.

Nye. It is climbed as often as it is only because it is one of the 46 and is next to Street. It is undistinguished, lacks a view, and it’s so easy that you don’t even get the satisfaction of having accomplished something.

Porter, not a lot of views and lack of water for water pumps. Marcy – too crowded.

Phelps. I was running on 3 hours of sleep.

Couch: my husband got hurt on the way back and its a long hike out. Thankfully we made it out by dark.

It has rained every time I’ve hiked in the Seward range. So between the mud, the lack of views, and the weather, they were all basically forgettable.

In my opinion, Cliff is an annoying day hike between the mud and cliffs which culminates with a less than impressive view. A bit of a letdown in my eyes.

Couchsachagra – completely out of the way, ups and downs, bog, all for a peak that does not meet the true requirements of a 46-er high peak at under 4000 feet. Makes the Santanoni range hike difficulty increase tremendously.

Blake. No views, a hot and humid day where I had neglected to bring enough water.

Cliff. After missing the herd path for it, we ended up on Redfield in pouring rain, then were persuaded to climb Cliff on the way out by another hiker. Very muddy and wet, STEEP cliffs and areas of bare rock. Got no views since everything was fogged in.

Blake. I wasn’t is the best condition after a fractured foot.

Couchie….the mud, the distance required for the shortest peak with limited views, and of course the mud.

Blake… no others even close. Blake is just bleak. No views to speak of and the trail from Colvin is steep and surprisingly difficult over and back.

Tabletop. It was in incredibly cold weather (-20ish) and after a 2-3 foot snow fall. I broke trail the entire way. It was tough but I never felt all that cold. Got home, took off my boots and my foot was blackish/purple with frostbite……yikes (all good now though).

Blake. We had dropped our packs and then I realized that we were the last hikers of the day and if anything went wrong, there were no good options. It was a learning experience.

Couchie: pure suffering.

Tabletop – hot humid day, injured shoulder on descent

Giant – it was too crowded and I did it in July during Black Fly season!

Seymour. That’s easy. Took 12 hours 20 minutes, the climb of the mountain itself was supposed to take less than two hours; it took three to get up, two more to get down. It was a wet summer (2000) anyway, but the previous day had been a downpour, so the trail was even muddier than it would have been, the deer flies were horrendous. We lost the herd path and wasted time during the ascent. We were rained on five times during the descent and hike out. It was miserable.

Wright. Pouring rain and very cold. Slippery.

Seymour… almost lost my left eye to a branch near the summit… continued with eye swollen shut to Seward… caught in lightning storm and downpour on Seward… had to cross a raging Caulkins Brook downstream of trail on a log jam. It was quite a memorable experience!!

Nye. Not because of the lack of views but because my map lied about the location of summit of Nye. Lesson learned.

Seward because to grab the others in the range you have to re-climb and then descend the north face. The north face is my least favorite herd path around.

Big Slide…a long day in the rain.

Allen – difficult last mile, long sections along gravel roads, poorly maintained “trails”. Did not like passing within a few hundred yards of a (private) road 6 mi. into the hike, realizing that all that gravel road walking could easily be avoided if road access was available.

Emmons – seemed like it took forever to get there from Donaldson. Muddy, little in terms of views. Tabletop — muddy trail, lousy views (But it was great in winter!!)

Blake. No views, totally treed-in summit where I felt like I had to fight with the trees just to stand at the highest point of the mountain.

Cascade. I ended up doing it twice (once with my kids) and we got .3 mi from top and had to turn around because the girl we were with had underestimated time and needed to be home!!

Gray. I did not like that challenge at the very beginning of the mountain (rock wall to get down), and worried about getting back up it the whole time I was on the mountain.

At the time of the hike it was Couchsachraga, although looking back this turned out to be one of my favorites! Time has a way of healing tough memories in the mountains.



What has been your most challenging high peak to

date, and what has made it difficult?

Macomb in winter. I hiked alone, I broke my ankle on the slide and had to walk to my car.

My most challenging hike was Marcy, Skylight and Gray. I did this hike in April of 2012 after a higher elevation snowfall. We took up the Lake Arnold trail to hike Gray, Skylight and then Marcy. My hiking partner was experiencing foot problems, so I offered to break trail in the new snow. We spent an hour searching for the Gray herd path after consulting a guidebook, which included a description of the herd path that must have been outdated. Made it up Skylight, before breaking trail on the backside of Marcy. My first time on Marcy was freezing and I was exhausted from breaking trails for miles. My partner and I realized we should have taken the Indian Falls crossover trail to the Van Ho when we came upon the fresh snow. This would have saved hours and made for a more enjoyable trip. This hike was even harder than the Great Range Traverse we did at the end of August. As they say, conditions are everything!

Gothics. I didn’t eat properly before and ended up “bonking” between Pyramid and Gothics.

Dial. I hadn’t slept enough.

Gothics…mentally challenged by looking at the steep I would be climbing. Did the Lower Range in one day, this was the 2nd of 5 that day. Was wearing new boots and had horrible blisters starting by then…but I smiled the whole way, kept telling myself “I got this”…and I did! 🙂

Allen – by far the longest time to hike the last 0.7 miles of any peak

Wright – I missed the turnoff & ended up doing Algonquin and Iroquois first before looping back around. It was cold and rainy.

Many in the winter. The Sewards in winter, before the internet hiking boards got people to break out the trail and keep it broken out all winter.

Haystack twice. 1st time: cold & wet with zero visibility. 2nd time: 19 miles is challenging but the views made every inch worth it!

Seward. Turned around once due to snowfall and another time we came across an injured hiker and ended up assisting in his rescue.

For me the logistics of getting to Nippletop were a bit challenging. The first time I attempted it, I had to bypass it in order to stay on schedule (I bus up to the High Peaks every year from Manhattan). This year, I learned from last year’s failure and was able to backpack to the base at Elk Pass from JBL and get to the summit and back before sundown, but was not able to reach Dial before my turn around time.

I’ll have to say Big Slide (did this yesterday!). I was hiking out and decided to hike this with my overnight pack from JBL out through The Brothers. I heard going out this way I would have amazing views and I wasn’t disappointed but doing it with a full pack was HARD.

Seward. I opted to complete it during Easter weekend. With the trail closed, I ended up doing well over 20 miles. Lack of snowshoes (valuable lesson), made the hike rather painful, tedious, and potentially dangerous.

Iroquois in the winter because every time I head up that way a storm blows in and visibility drops to zero so I turn back.

Phelps, Because of the erosion and the water coming down the trail at the time. Sure hope the trail has been rerouted.

Gray. I got stuck on the eroded part for about 20 minutes trying to make it up. Climbed down and found the HP around it and made it to the top in no time

For me it was the Basin/Saddleback loop due to my fear of heights. Saved until near the end so I could work on overcoming the fear and although it never goes away completely became much better over time. What a great hike it turned out to be.

Giant. The weather turned and it started to pour, inadvertently went down the Roaring Brook trail with my two daughters (who were not amused when we discovered the error). It was a long correction, but it has made for good stories.

Couchy. Labor Day. 12 hours in rotten snow finding my own route. No trail or footprints to follow.

Gothics/Sawteeth as a one-way from the Garden to the Ausable Club. It had steep climbs and was a long day hike.

Perhaps Giant. I did it in the winter, AND, I got a misdemeanor possession charge, along with a speeding ticket en route (marijuana).

Sawtooth #1&2 – We did them together as a 14 1/2 hour bushwhack; the toughest hike I’ve ever done. They are remote and steep and covered with cripplebrush, deadfalls, and blowdown.

Algonquin. Endless rocks.

Grace Peak in winter; soloed Macomb, Carson and Grace on a cold February day with two feet of fresh snow. Lots of trail breaking, but that’s why I like to be alone too.

Algonquin. I was my first peak. I was out of shape and the climb back is just brutal because of all of the rock jumping.

Big Slide! Took me several times and a broken arm to hike it the first time.

Sawteeth was difficult due to the nearly 4 mile road walk each way ….. and my mistake of hiking this one after a long hiatus from hiking (due to health problems). If I hiked it now, the distance would not be a problem at all.

Rocky Peak Ridge – had to carry my 45 lb. dog 4-5 miles down off the mountain

Haystack, Basin, Saddleback long day… body shut down about 100 yards from Haystack summit… had to wait until my body started coming back around… a little scary.

Couchy (little bastard)

Cheney Cobble, part of the 100 highest list. Steep, remote, and thick with spruce and blow-down.

Depends on the day. But Mt. Jo has been more challenging than any of the 46.

Algonquin and Iroquois, first ones of the year and I have put on 30lbs since I last climbed.

I climbed Colden via the Trap Dike. It was extremely challenging and a little scary, but certainly exhilarating when we finally made it to the top.

Big Slide. Jan 10. 6 below. Carrying way too much and was out of shape. Cramping started because didn’t know how to layer-manage appropriately.

Colvin. I had to climb it twice in fresh falling snow and needed rope for the Colvin Step in showshoes.

Haystack. We climbed from Bushnell Falls on a very rainy day. Thinking short cut meant easier, we took the Shorey Shortcut for the first and probably last time. Maybe it was the rain but it felt like we were going back down in a huge U-turn. We made it to the summit but couldn’t see a thing in the clouds and rain but I did manage to find a pocket knife. We took the Phelps trail back and it was more like a river with the downpour. The irony is that by the time we made it back to the lean-to the sun came out. Haystack is on my must return list…..using a different trail.

Couchie. Hit the wall just below the summit and struggled the rest of the day. Got myself in a bad situation very far from the trailhead and had to use all of my mental and physical strength to get out OK.

The MacIntyres. Not so much the climb, but the descent to Lake Colden, the scrambling along Avalanche Lake, and the long return to the Loj with tired legs.

Tabletop because of breaking trail through 3 feet of fresh snow in -20 degrees F.

Basin in winter… deep, drifted snow, unbroken trail–only time I’ve ever turned around.

Allen – It took 9 hours to get to the top and I needed food. I had to crawl under a tree branch because I didn’t even have enough energy to duck under it.

MacNaughton. Attempted it three times now in winter. All three times were balked at.

Armstrong. Because of the steepness between UWJ and Armstrong it was the most technical climb I’ve had to do.

The most challenging are Haystack, Basin and Saddleback done as a day trip due to distance and cliff face exposure.

Haystack, Basin and Saddleback traverse from Loj to Garden in winter. Ice and lots of it!! Switched footgear several times, microspikes, snowshoes, crampons… back and forth… ice axe used a few times too!! Saddleback cliffs were tough!!

Couch. The psychological burden of going so far down then back up, and it was hot and humid.

Hough. Tearing ankle ligament, solo, in snowstorm.

Upper Wolfjaw Mountain in February 2011. Combination of cold temperatures, wind, slow group and deep snow made progress difficult. Some of the ledges on the ascent, while covered in ice, looked impossible to climb even with crampons.

Nippletop and Dial. My ill-fitting boots caused the loss of five toenails!

Blake. On the first couple of attempts I had a feeling that some large animal was watching me; no proof, just a feeling. That has not happened on any other hike.

Haystack, winter 70mph winds had to summit on hands and knees.

Basin. Very steep ledges. Had a slight emotional breakdown on descent, but I made it!





4 thoughts on “46er Survey, Revisited

  1. Hello Pru, I must say when I received this I had no clue that this was your blog. I thought it was from a Hudson Valley Hiker. Reading along it took me back to that weekend at Heart Lake climbing Mt Jo with Karen. Sleeping in the loft meeting you and another gal. It was such a great weekend! Then I saw you photo and was so surprise, then I said out loud omg it’s Pru’s blog! Thanks for sending. Hope alls well maybe our paths will meet again.🌲🐿

    • Sorry for the confusion! 🙂 I changed the blog name because I started hiking in the Whites, but I don’t have the time to get up there very often so I definitely won’t be going through them at the speed of the ADKs. That was a really fun weekend at the Loj and it was great meeting you too – let me know if you’re ever headed back up that way and we’ll have to try to sync our trips!

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