46er Challenge Update

11 Jan, 2024

About a year ago, Davin Healthcare CEO and Owner, David Theobald MS, RN, CSP, set a challenge for himself: To climb all 46 Adirondack High Peaks and achieve the goal of becoming a “46er.”

The challenge is not simple. The shortest mountain on the list, Couchsachraga Peak, comes in at 3820ft with the tallest, Mount Marcy, touching the sky at 5,344ft. Only a little over 12,000 people have climbed all 46 Adirondack High Peaks. To achieve the honor, you need to train, work hard, and keep your wits. There are dangers that could end your attempt in a blink of an eye. But the reward for each summit, each mountain you tick off your list, is worth the challenge.

For every mountain he summits, David committed to sponsor a $1000 scholarship for students pursuing careers in the healthcare field.

With his most recent climb, on May 21st, David has summited 30 of the 46 peaks. He took some time to write about his latest outing and share a bit about the challenges and rewards of each hike:

It was a beautiful morning, and weather was partly cloudy to clear skies with temps in the 80s. Saddleback was one that we did before and knew we needed to hike it once again to climb both Basin and Haystack. We packed our gear and started at 5:30 am from Lake Luzerne to the Garden parking lot for a 7am start. The parking lots fill up fast, especially during the summer months. Luckily, we got a spot. We did some last-minute stretches, signed in at the garden sign-in post, and headed over to Saddleback. The trails were clear until we started hitting an elevation of 3,500 ft. After this, the trials started to be extremely wet and muddy, as the snowmelt was in effect. As our climbs continued, we ran into snow packed trails that proceeded to melt, leaving a treacherous path that slowed us down considerably. In some locations, you really needed to check the footing and try to step on rocks as to not have your foot get lodged into the slushy snow, which could easily trip you up with each step. 

Although it was slow going, we managed to forge ahead on the slow and steady climb to the top of Saddleback. The exhilarating views of the great range we enjoyed at the summit were worth the effort. We reached the top of Saddleback at 10am. After a brief 20 minutes break, we knew we had to keep a good pace so proceeded down the backside and bare rock faces of Saddleback over to Basin. The climb up Basin was equally as challenging, with uneven snow packs that swallowed up weary feet in an instant. Basin was a trek and a half leaving us feeling spent of energy, so refueling with food and water was key to give us the fuel to keep going. We planned for a long day and packed lots of water and snacks to get us moving. Thankfully, the trail has many clear water streams that one can easily filter to refill and replenish one’s water supply. The most important survival item in my bag is my Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Filtration Pump. It was the best $63 dollars I ever spent. It’s very difficult to carry enough water, so having a filtration system when you know there are water sources is key to preventing devastating consequences of dehydration.

After the strenuous hike up Basin, the panoramic views were breathtaking. It was about 12:30 at the top. We sat down and had some lunch, while resting our legs and tending to the many scratches from the many fallen trees we had to maneuver as we proceeded to the top. After a 30 min rest and power nap, it was time again to head down the backside of Basin and head over to Little Haystack then Haystack. We knew time wasn’t on our side and needed to quicken our pace if we wanted to get out during daylight. We continued to push forward through the slush, mud and broken trees to breech Little Haystack. The efforts were worth the strenuous climb up the mountain and into the clearing. If you are not familiar with the route, you would think you have finished Haystack. Well, it’s another mile down and up again to ascend Haystack. The views were just breathtaking and reminded me of the reasons we love the challenges of hiking and rewards that come with it. After a 20-minute rest and detailed viewing of the great range, we decided to head back down and out. The long trek back to the parking lot was equally daunting. Next time we plan to stay at the Ray Brook Lodge as this would break up the trip and take off 7 miles. In the end, 13.5 hours later, the hike was fantastic! We learned a lot about ourselves and abilities to persevere, especially when things get difficult. Many times our bodies wanted us to stop, yet our will and drive to continue forward inspired us to finish strong. You can learn a lot about life from hiking as sometimes not everything works out as planned, even with all the preparation and tools. Much like business and life, you need to be agile and adjust your pace and find the strength from within to carry on, especially when faced with extreme and challenging situations. This was a good day and I am thankful for the opportunity to continue our quest to achieve the 46 peaks with my son along with supporting the future of nursing and healthcare.

David’s journey may be over halfway finished, but he still faces many challenges. To follow his climbs, you can check out our 46er Challenge Page, where we regularly update with recent climbs, as well as words of advice from David.

References:

https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/new-york/haystack-basin-saddleback-trail

https://www.outdoorproject.com/united-states/new-york/haystack-basin-saddleback-mountain-lasso-loop