What is the Adirondack Forty-Sixers, Inc.?
The Adirondack Forty-Sixers, Inc. is a membership organization that recognizes those who have climbed the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York State with an elevation of 4,000 feet or higher. The mountain elevations are based on the figures listed in Russell M. L. Carson’s book Peaks and People of the Adirondacks that was published in 1927. While subsequent geological surveys have indicated that four of the peaks are less than 4,000 feel, the club uses the original measurements as the basis for membership.
In addition to registering those who have climbed the 46 High Peaks, the club’s mission is to education the public on responsible wilderness use and to encourage stewardship in the High Peaks region. We sponsor programs to promote safe hiking and the preservation of the wilderness so hikers will be able to enjoy the region for generations to come.
The Adirondack Forty-Sixers is not part of the Adirondack Mountain Club. Many climbers choose to become members of both organizations.
For additional information on the history of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers, whose origins date back to the 1920s, please go to our History section.
What Are the Membership Privileges?
Recorded climbers are entitled to wear “ADK 46R ” patches and emblems. Only active members, i.e., those who have paid dues, may vote on club matters and purchase pins, decals and other Forty-Sixer merchandise. Active members receive the club’s semi-annual publication, Adirondack PEEKS, in addition to newsletters and announcements of upcoming events. The club holds two meetings yearly, which are open to the public. The spring meeting is held Memorial Day weekend and the fall meeting is in early October, both in the High Peaks area. These weekends include environmental projects (including trail maintenance and litter pick up), a business meeting, a dinner and an evening presentation (in the fall).
Trail Etiquette and Regulations
The Forty-Sixers believe in the principles of “leave no trace” (www.lnt.org).
- Plan ahead and prepare.
- Camp and travel on durable surfaces.
- Pack it in, pack it out.
- Properly dispose of what you can’t pack out.
- Leave what you find.
- Minimize the use and impact of fires.
- Respect wildlife.
- Be considerate of other visitors.
The Adirondack High Peaks are beautiful and unique. The vegetation is as fragile as the rock is durable. Treat the area with care and respect so that future generations may enjoy it as you do. On all summits, travel on marked paths and bare rock so as not to trample the vegetation.
Forest Preserve Camping Regulations
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) maintains registers at main trailheads and other locations. The registers are there for your safety. Sign in, stick to your destination, and sign out when you leave. The registers are also used to compile statistics about wilderness use and, thereby, help determine where and how the DEC allocates its resources.
If you desire to camp within 150 feet of a road, trail or water supply, you must camp in a location designated as a camping area by DEC. If you want to get away from the crowds and commonly used camping areas, you can camp where you like if you are over 150 feet from trails and/or water. In order to protect the fragile environment of our summits, camping is prohibited above 4000 feet in elevation in the Adirondacks except from December 15th to April 30th. This permits the serious winter camper a chance to enjoy the summits and still do minimal damage.
Adirondack leantos (open camps) are located along the trails and are on a first come – first serve basis and up to capacity, which varies from six to ten persons. Be ready to share your leanto with others. The intelligent camper does not count on finding a leanto empty, or even available, but takes his/her own shelter. Leantos have been removed in many areas. Check before your trip.
- Groups planning to camp in the High Peaks Wilderness Area are limited to no more than eight people per group.
- Camping is allowed at any location below 3,500 feet in elevation, provided the site is at least 150 feet away from any road, trail or water source and except where prohibited by a DEC sign. Within 150 feet of a road, trail or water source, you may camp only at a DEC designated site. These sites are marked by a yellow DEC disk.
- Between 3,500 and 4,000 feet, camping is allowed at designated sites only. These sites are marked by a yellow DEC disk.
- Camping is prohibited in the Adirondacks above 4,000 feet except from December 15th to April 30th.
- Many access points in the High Peaks Region are on private property. Camping is not allowed anywhere on these lands. You are responsible for confirming that you are on Forest Preserve Land before establishing a campsite. Continued public access to private property is assured only if we comply with the landowners’ wishes.
- Careless campers are a significant problem in the High Peaks. Bear canisters constructed of solid, non-pliable material specifically made to resist access by bears are required for overnight camping in the Eastern High Peaks Zone from April 1 to November 30. Even in other areas, you are responsible for keeping your food from bears.
- Adirondack lean-tos (open camps) located along trails are available first-come, first-serve up to their capacity, which varies from six to ten persons, and are meant to be shared. Many lean-tos have been removed. It is best not to depend on finding a lean-to with room, but to pack in a tent.
Group Size Limits and Other Regulations
- Day hiking groups are limited to no more than 15 people in the High Peaks Wilderness Area.
- Camping groups may not be larger than eight people.
- Dogs must be leashed in many High Peaks locations.
- Glass containers are prohibited in the High Peaks Wilderness Area.
- The DEC webpage, http://www.dec.ny.gov/, has up-to-date regulations for the area.
How About Fires?
Open fires are not permitted in the Eastern Zone of the High Peaks Wilderness Area. In other areas, they are not recommended, but they are allowed without a permit in most of the Forest Preserve. We recommend using lightweight stoves and discourage open fires. Stoves are more dependable in inclement weather and cause less damage to the environment.
…and Drinking Water?
The DEC recommends treating water from any backcountry source by one of the following methods: an appropriate filter, chemicals or a timed, rolling boil of at least two minutes. Never put anything in or near water that you would not want to drink yourself.
Trash visibly destroys the quality of the wilderness. Be guided by the ethic: If you carry it in, carry it out. That includes food waste. The forest critters have survived remarkably well without you to feed them. Your trash is your responsibility. Do not burn it. Burying anything other than human waste is prohibited. If less considerate people have littered, please do more than your share and pack out their trash, too.
Where can I get help in an emergency?
You may meet forest rangers or other DEC personnel on the trails. They will be glad to help you with search and rescue or with law enforcement. Most hikers you meet are also willing to offer information and help.
If you need emergency help, the Forect Ranger Emergency Line is (518) 891-0235. Do not count on cellular telephone reception in the High Peaks. With any emergency in a remote area, you will have to rely on what is at hand, mostly your brain and what you have in your pack. We recommend that you take a workshop in wilderness first aid. Workshops are offered by Wilderness Medical Associates (wildmed.com), SOLO (soloschools.com/), the American Red Cross (redcross.org) and hiking organizations such as the ADK.
The Division of Lands and Forest of the DEC at Raybrook, NY, 12977, manages State land in the Adirondack Park. Write or phone them at (518) 897-1200. If they do not have the information you want, they can direct you to someone who does. The DEC is updating management plans for many areas in the Forest Preserve. For current regulations, check the DEC webpage, www.dec.ny.gov/, or contact the DEC by phone before you begin your trip.
Give Something Back
Once you have climbed the 46 peaks, your responsibility as a Forty-Sixer isn’t over. We invite you to participate in one of our stewardship programs to “give something back” to the mountains that have provided you with so much pleasure, enduring friendships, and memories to last a lifetime. Help us preserve this wonderful place. Our volunteer trail maintenance program conducts several day-long and weekend projects throughout the summer months in cooperation with the DEC. Projects range from trail clearing and general maintenance to bridge building and lean-to restoration. You don’t have to be an experienced trail worker or recorded Forty-Sixers to participate, for additional information please go to our Trail Crew section.
The sentiments expressed below by two of the club’s most dedicated leaders reveal the essence of the 46 experience—the challenge of climbing the mountains, as well as the responsibility of protecting the High Peaks environment. The measure of a true 46er is not about checking off mountains on a list, but about sharing the joy and satisfaction of the adventure with others while accepting the obligation to preserve the wilderness.
“We Forty-Sixers can take pride in our dual role of creative conservationists, of both helping new people experience the high summits and of helping them learn to preserve the high country through volunteer work and via responsible woodsmanship.” — E.H. Ketchledge, #507
“The hikers you meet are friendly people. Speak to them. The Forty-Sixers are a friendly group, on a first-name basis. Many lifelong friendships are made here. We hope that you join the Forty-Sixers in a growing stewardship for the High Peaks. May you have many enjoyable, safe, and responsible trips in these mountains. Good climbing!” — Grace Hudowalski, #9