Do you remember when you decided you wanted to hike the 46ers? I sort of do. I was on Mount Jo and heard a kid ask a middle-aged man if he was a 46er. “I’m at 27”, the man replied. “27 what?”, I thought to myself. I’m a curious soul so I probably googled it as soon as I got home. I reckon that’s how my journey started.
I’d already hiked three by the time I started for real. Slowly but surely, I got closer to 46. Then one morning, I woke up in my tent in Wilmington and walked out of it knowing this was the end. Let’s be honest, it’s not like this thing is really hard or anything, but there are 46 peaks to bag and they are 2-3 hours away so it does take time if this ain’t your day job.
I thought a toe injury sustained in Beautiful British Columbia had sidelined me for a long while; for a few days, I could barely walk and my foot was so swollen I couldn’t wear a shoe. But it turned out to be more of a scare than anything else. After a week of RICE and crutches, I set out to test that pinky toe and put a dent in the remaining summits. The Sewards were vanquished in a fun backpack in flip flops. A few days later, HaBaSa lived up to its glorious reputation. The toe would live. And just like that, Sawteeth and Gothics were the last two standing.
With cheap bourbon, even cheaper whisky and a six string on my back, we tagged Sawteeth like pirates raiding a Spanish ship in the 1600s. We then headed to Gothics. I heard a few bangs on the way down Pyramid. Let’s just say an electric guitar gig bag ain’t made for an acoustic, battle scars to prove it. But I digress… Gothics offered no resistance, only unobstructed views. And that was it, the list was complete.
It’s a funny concept, The List. What’s the point? You bag ‘em all and then what? Is it like getting a degree? Do you leave the ‘Dacks for good and start the 48 in the Whites? Do you hang up the ol’ boots to dry and pick up canoeing? I guess the answer’s personal.
I was pondering over this on the way to the last summit and I decided that “doing The List” has nothing to do with the actual list, the patch or the accomplishment. No, to me, it’s all about the tales, and lists are just a means to live them. The epic buttslides, the camping out at a 30-degree angle, the slipping in the river, the face-planting in the snow, the getting lost at night, the passing out in a lean-to after a beer and a half, the schlepping WAY too much gear for a 2-day backpack. The list goes on. Yeah, another list. But this one never ends, it only gets longer. That’s the beauty of it. Can’t wait for the 115; they’re sure to produce plenty more bonfire stories.
Sawteeth, Gothics, Armstrong
Haystack, Basin, Saddleback