Besides a love of hiking and a need for challenging myself the roots of this project go back 15 years.
I received a phone call one January 7th evening that led to a doctor in the Banff Hospital telling me that my son had died that day, buried in an avalanche while backcountry skiing. This was a wrecking ball that hit our family very, very hard. That evening we were a very sorry group of four trying to come to grips with what we had just learned. Many phone calls were made and the first of innumerable tears were shed. Dominic left home at age 19 and went to work for a good friend of mine in Lake Louise, thus following in my footsteps. His plan was to become an alpine guide and he climbed and hiked extensively.
A friend told me that we would never get over it but we would get used it. And he was right.
A soothing balm was the outpouring of support that came from the various internet hiking forums that were very popular at that time. Huge threads of sympathy and support ensued on Views from the Top, ADKHighpeaks and Adirondack Forum. My son, Dominic, and I had hiked all of the Adirondack 46 high peaks together and most of our endeavours had been posted on these forums.
Due to this support I decided to found the ADKHighpeaks foundation, which turned out to be a very complicated undertaking that Tim Dubois shepherded most admirably. Had it not been for him the foundation would never have seen the light of day.
Since then, with Jack Coleman at the helm the foundation has raised greater than 150,000 dollars, most of which has gone straight back to the Forest preserve. I personally have singlehandedly raised more than $25,000 by doing (three) ambitious hiking projects. I say singlehandedly but without the support of many people I would never have succeeded. My wife Sylvie Cartier has been unwavering in her support of these whacky projects which have impacted on her to a significant extent.
Briefly, my previous projects have been:
2014: Winter 46 in 10 days.
2016: Project Full Deck that involved covering 48 peaks during a 2-week romp through the HP’s wilderness. This involved half bushwhack peaks and half trailed peaks.
2018; project 100. The ADK hundred highest list in a single winter.
The project for which I am currently preparing is a winter 46 through-hike. What this implicates is doing the 46 High Peaks from start to finish without entering into a building or vehicle. It will be a supported hike because I am unable to carry enough supplies for the entire
through-hike. Also, in my case moisture management will be a problem without making fires. Therefore, I am enlisting a number of hiking friends who will be supporting me. They will be bringing in re-supplies (mostly food and dry clothing but also white gas, batteries and even water). Friends will also be breaking out specific trail sections that see little or no winter traffic. Some will be camping out with me and many friends will be hiking with me. I began training for this project since August, which has included 2 months of hiking and scrambling in the Canadian Rockies and up to this writing, six weeks of hiking in the Adirondacks. The Adirondack hiking has been a lot tougher than the Rockies, which won’t surprise anyone who is familiar with the Adirondacks.
I hope you the reader will continue to follow my progress as I prepare for this upcoming project and of course donate generously.
It is through these hiking projects, that so greatly resemble Dominic, that this father who has lost a hiking son, finds a degree of solace.
Thank you for reading.