The Adirondack Forty Sixers are a club of hikers—including more than 9,000 people today—who have climbed all 46 of the Adirondack high peaks which rise to at least 4,000′ in elevation. Members must document their climbs of the 46 peaks and report their climbs to the historian of the club. The Forty-Sixers are an important voice for the High Peaks region, and the club is “dedicated to environmental protection, to education for proper usage of wilderness areas, to participation in New York State Department of Environmental Conservation-approved trail projects, and to the support of initiatives within the Adirondack High Peaks region by organizations with similar goals that enhance our objectives.” 1 With the support of thousands of members who carry a lot of love for these mountains, the Forty-Sixers have spent decades doing important work to maintain trails on the peaks, promote conservation issues, and advocate for responsible enjoyment of the Adirondack mountains.
While several peaks originally thought to be higher than 4,000 ft are now known to be lower than the 4,000 ft mark, aspiring members of the club must follow in the footsteps of the club’s first members—Herbert Clark and Bob and George Marshall—whose journey up all 46 summits which ended on Mt. Emmons in 1925 has “in may ways played a part in shaping the history of the Adirondacks” according to the Forty-Sixers. The Marshall brothers hiked, hunted, and fished around the Adirondacks with Clark, a Saranac Lake native and a veteran Adirondack guide whom the Marshall family hired during summers. For the Marshalls, love of wilderness came from their father, a successful constitutional lawyer in New York City who “was a champion of minority causes, often providing free legal counsel, a respected Jewish leader, an amateur naturalist, and a staunch defender of wilderness,” who also “played a leading role in the passage of Article XVI, the “Forever Wild” constitutional amendment that protected the Adirondack Park. The family’s dedication to wilderness preservation was only furthered by Bob and George’s time in the Adirondacks, and in 1935 Bob founded the Wilderness Society with a group of like-minded friends. Today, the organization has more than 250,000 members and “has become the leading advocate for preserving wild lands in the United States.” And although Bob “hiked all over the country, he once wrote to a friend, ‘in spite of the more rugged mountains in a few parts of the west, the Adirondacks are still my favorites.’” 2
The member roster of the Adirondack Forty Sixers is available here.