SARANAC LAKE - The village is inviting hikers and climbers from near and far to become the first Winter Saranac Lake 6ers.
The village has scheduled a "Winter Saranac Lake 6er Kickoff" event on Dec. 21. It will begin with a shotgun start at 6 a.m. at the Berkeley Green. The first person to hike all six mountains in the Saranac Lake area - Ampersand, Baker, Haystack, McKenzie, St. Regis and Scarface - and return to the downtown park will become the first Saranac Lake Winter 6er.
The village launched the Saranac Lake 6er hiking program with a similar event on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, a day that featured rain, 40-degree temperatures and up to 2 feet of unexpected snow on the mountain summits. A dozen people completed the grueling 30-mile-plus trek - six within 24 hours, becoming Ultra 6ers.
State Assemblyman Dan Stec, center, becomes a Saranac Lake 6er Monday, finishing on McKenzie Mountain with Bill Lietch, left, of Queensbury, and Ron Konowitz of Keene. The village has announced plans for a Winter 6er event on Dec. 21.
"The joke among the Adirondack mountain climbing community is that we'll have 80 degrees and sunshine this December 21st, as we had just the opposite on Memorial Day weekend, our kick-off day, when so many battled snow and frigid temperatures to reach the 6er peaks," village Mayor Clyde Rabideau said in a press release.
Rabideau said the format of the Winter 6er Kickoff event will match that of the one in May, except that the Berkeley Green gazebo will only be manned for the first 15 hours. Hikers who complete all six peaks can return to the gazebo and ring the Saranac Lake 6er bell six times, one for each peak they've hiked.
The village is encouraging aspiring Winter 6ers to register online for the event at saranaclake6er.com. Registrants will receive a goody bag that will contain an official 6er tuque, a 6er pint glass and coupons for discounted or free items at Saranac Lake businesses, among other things. Additional information about the December event can also be found at the 6er Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SaranacLake6er.
More than 300 hikers have been certified as 6ers since the program began just three-and-a-half months ago. Rabideau said those on the roster hail from places as far away as Spain and Australia, more than 20 are from New Jersey, and many more are from Saranac Lake, some hiking these trails for the first time.