As BrieAnne Wilson ’10, M ’12 trudged upward, wind and cold gnawed at her face. It was only November, but the weather had surprised her and her friends with snow and temperatures that dipped below freezing.
Now they were caught in a snowstorm on the side of a mountain in the Adirondacks. Unlike Wilson, who brought winter gear, half the group forgot hats and gloves. Some even neglected to bring winter coats.
They pushed on through the snow. When Wilson finally hoisted herself up to the summit of Big Slide Mountain, which stands 4,240 feet above sea level, she was greeted by a panorama of New York state’s highest and most rugged mountains.
“The view was absolutely fantastic,” Wilson said. “The fulfillment of getting to the top … I felt very rewarded once I got to the top.”
Since that climb with the college’s Outdoor Club in 2009, Wilson has conquered all 46 of the Adirondacks High Peaks, those that rise more than 4,000 feet.
She was officially inducted as the 7,328th member in the Adirondack Forty-Sixers Club May 27 in Lake Placid.
Wilson dedicated her final mountain, Gothics, to her deceased grandfather, who along with her father got her interested in the outdoors when she was young. On the summit, she placed a memorial and drank a toast to her grandfather with wine she carried up.
Now Wilson has a new goal to climb all 46 High Peaks again, but during winter. That would put her into an even more exclusive club of only 564 who have accomplished that feat.
“You get such a rush from it that you’re like ‘I need to do this again,’” she said.
— Ken Sturtz ’12
Ed. Note: This story originally appeared in the May 23 edition of the Oswego Palladium-Times. This modified version is republished with permission.