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Programbo
01-11-2007, 20:53
I`m currently writing a book about my life (Mainly just for myself I guess) and I am in the area where I talk about all my backpacking/outdoors experiences....I`m curious to hear about other people`s memories of the first big climb they encountered when they started backpacking....I know sometimes that first "big hill" you remember that kicked your butt later turned out to be not so big after all once you hiked more seriously for a few years, but since it was your first climb at the time it seemed huge

rafe
01-11-2007, 21:09
Moosilauke, from that huge Dartmouth lodge on the south/western side. Thought I'd die. The next day, up & over Franconia Ridge. Thought I'd gone to heaven. It was 1975 or so.

Lone Wolf
01-11-2007, 21:12
1983. Mt. Elbert, Colorado. Was on an Outward Bound trip. We bushwhacked to the top.

Mags
01-11-2007, 22:06
The joys of CTRL C and CTRL V. :)

This is a story of my first time on the Appalachian Trail. In 1986 I was a Boy Scout in Troop 71 in my home town of Coventry, RI. Never went on a mountain before that day. The love of the outdoors would remain dormant but it came back with vengeance ten years later. ;-) This account was originally published in the March-April 2000 issue of Appalachian Trailway News; the magazine of the Appalachian Trail Conference.
Boy Scout Troop 71 of Coventry, Rhode Island is taking its annual Columbus Day Weekend camping trip to Mt. Lafayette in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It is October 1986. Iím part of the troop, twelve years old, all excited that Iím going to get to go on a real mountain! And, to make this trip extra special, Dadís going to be chaperone.


Dad often works overtime on Saturdays; ours is a young family Ėmoney and time are scarce. To spend a whole weekend with Dad is a treat.


Friday afternoon, I come home from school and see all the clothes Mom has packed for the trip. Momís afraid Iím going to ďfreeze up NorthĒ. The entire bedís covered with warm clothes: several pairs of jeans, flannel shirts, sweaters, socks, and long underwear. Somehow, it seems like this is too much clothing for a three-day camping trip, but what do I know? Iím just twelve. For this trip Iím going to get to hike with my official Boy Scout rucksack, made of cotton canvas. Dad has even let me have his official U.S. Army pocket knife. With my rucksack, and knife, Iím going to climb that mountain!


Saturday morning, all the Boy Scouts show up at the community center. I have on my hiking clothes: Sears Toughskins jeans, flannel shirt, long cotton underwear, sweat shirt, work boots. The bus ride to New Hampshire takes more than three hours, longer even than that ride to the big city of Providence. Looking out the windows, I see mountains. ďNoĒ, Dad says. ďTheyíre just foothillsĒ. If the foothills are this big, I think, how big are the mountains?


The bus finally pulls up the campground. Several canvas A-Frame tents have been set up, as well as a blue-plastic tarp to cook under. Sunday, we climb the mountain.
The hike begins in the morning. I donít say anything, but I get tired fast. Dad knows. He takes the rucksack. Why canít the other dads keep up with mine? Arenít all Dads the same? We get to the summit. I ask Dad what the white rectangles are for. He says they mark a trail to the other mountains we can see. We take pictures and rest a while. Then troop climbs back down toward the campground.


Most Appalachian Trail hikers recall the first time they stepped on the trail. Itís different for everyone. For some hikers, it doesnít happen until they take that first step on Springer Mountain. Others recall vacations to the Shenandoahs or maybe a picnic at a state park through which the trail is routed. Mine was as a twelve-year old, excited to be going with his Scout trip on a trip to New Hampshire.


It was not until ten years later that I learned what those white rectangles were. More importantly, I learned what they mean. Those white rectangles mean more than just markings for a long footpath. They mark a trail that can capture a personís imagination, that make a twelve-year-old wonder, and dream and get excited about being on a mountain. That memory can last, and, when that twelve-year-old grows up, he still wonders and dreams and gets excited about being on a mountain.

Blissful
01-11-2007, 22:36
Mine was age thirteen, trying to climb the Wittenburg on the Wittenburg Cornell Slide trail in the Catskills of NY on my very first backpacking trip. Was not carrying my backpack correctly (all on my shoulders) and ended up having to turn around as I was in horrific pain. Good thing too as a storm blew up with wind and rain. Quite an experience. I hated giving up though.

Sly
01-11-2007, 22:56
1983. Mt. Elbert, Colorado. Was on an Outward Bound trip. We bushwhacked to the top.

How'd you like it? I thinking of doing it this summer. That and San Luis Peak, will give me four 14ers including Mt Whitney and Mt Shasta I climbed in '99.

Footslogger
01-11-2007, 23:00
Longs Peak in Colorado - 1971. My first 14'er.

Drove out from Florida to climb and paid a dear price for coming from sea level and trying climb so high and so fast.

Breathless !!

'Slogger

bigben
01-11-2007, 23:07
My first 2 BIG climbs were both as a Boy Scout and at Philmont in New Mexico, Mt. Phillips in 1986 and Mt. Baldy in 1988, both with crap gear and 50-60 lb. packs. Phillips is (if I remember correctly) 11,700 ft and Baldy is 12,441 ft. I still vividly remember going up Baldy. 20 steps and stop. 20 steps and stop. The previous day we did 18 miles with 4000 ft overall elevation gain, made camp in the POURING cold rain, ate and pretty much passed out. Someone in our crew left a granola bar in his pocket and our camp was visited by a bear that night, as witnessed by the huge paw prints all around his tent and the broken in half log we were sitting on while eating. We/he got lucky.

The biggest since was Blood Mountain. Kinda pales in comparison now that I think about it.

Bigben

bigmac_in
01-11-2007, 23:12
My first big climb was getting my big fat a s s off the couch and out from behind my desk, and then heading out to the trail. Still a thru hiker wannabe, but hopefully that will come as well. :D

TJ aka Teej
01-11-2007, 23:26
Katahdin when I was 8. I'd been up twice before, but that was the trip I remember because I had just read Donn Fender's 'Lost on a Mountain in Maine' in school. I remember thinking a lot about the AT too, because we had camped next to some beat-niks from New York (feature that - from New York!) who had hiked all of the Maine AT. When I got to the sign on Baxter Peak I looked south and wondered if there was an 8 year old kid like me on a mountain in Georgia looking north.

rafe
01-11-2007, 23:34
Katahdin when I was 8.


WooHoo! You got de AT in your genes, Teej. I gotta say, climbing K is what clinched it for me in terms of having to do the AT. It was no longer an abstraction after that.

rockrat
01-12-2007, 00:25
My first big climb that I can remember was the Alum cave trail up LeConte in the winter when I was five. When me and my dad got to the top he and some other folks traded warm weather gear to some ill prepared couple for red wine and steaks.

ed bell
01-12-2007, 01:00
My first big climb that I can remember was the Alum cave trail up LeConte in the winter when I was five. When me and my dad got to the top he and some other folks traded warm weather gear to some ill prepared couple for red wine and steaks.A fair trade, they were lucky to share the shelter with you.:sun

DuctTape
01-12-2007, 04:44
On my first ever backpacking trip...

South out of Port Clinton.

That little thing sure is steep.

Furlough
01-12-2007, 08:45
Like a few of the other folks who posted above, my memory is from my first backpacking trip with the Boy Scouts.

It was 1974 and I was 13. I can't recall the entire trip, but the name of the trail was the AT and the name of the Mountain Climb was the Priest.

I also remember having a dutch oven tied to my external frame backpack and my trail shoes were purple high top converse "Chuck Taylors".

Furlough

latte
01-12-2007, 08:59
My first sighting of the AT was a sign on top on Cannon Mtn in NH. It said AT---->. I looked over to Kinsman and thought "Wow, that's a long way off." When my Dad told me how far it actually went, it didn't register, but I was drawn to it then and there. It registered how long the trail was when on a trip to Syracuse NY, we crossed the AT on the Mass Pike. I remember looking at the footbridge and then, as we passed it, turning around in my seat and watching it until it was out of view. I was seriously hooked! Two years later, I hiked the AT across Vermont. It was such a cool thing...A victory!!! I am on the 20 year plan now. I have done NH and GA and part of the 100 mile Wilderness. I look for trips to take every month. I am lucky to be a leader in a Boy Scout Troop that allows me to take boys backpacking each month. In April, I am bringing them to the AT. I wonder how many of them will become "infected" too?! ;)

otterman
01-12-2007, 09:06
From Fontana to Shuckstack while I was in college. Carried a 45 lb. pack complete with jeans and a bottle of Makers Mark. We got a late start and didn't even make it to the shelter that night. I also had my first stealth camp.

The Solemates
01-12-2007, 10:21
I`m currently writing a book about my life (Mainly just for myself I guess) and I am in the area where I talk about all my backpacking/outdoors experiences....I`m curious to hear about other people`s memories of the first big climb they encountered when they started backpacking....I know sometimes that first "big hill" you remember that kicked your butt later turned out to be not so big after all once you hiked more seriously for a few years, but since it was your first climb at the time it seemed huge

depends on what you are considering a climb. i remember the laural gap section (the one with all the stairs) of the foothills trail kicking my butt on one of my first backpacking trips when i was 10 or so. but as for a real climb, our first 14er, the highest one (Whitney) was breathtaking!:) i also remember Borah kicking our butts, mainly because we didn't summit. we tried to go too early and got bogged down in snow just past chicken out ridge.

The Old Fhart
01-12-2007, 10:48
The first big climb I did was Mt. Washington with my brother in 1960. At the time we didn't think it was that hard a climb. It has apparently gotten harder to climb since then, or I've just gotten much older!

Kerosene
01-12-2007, 11:25
My very first mountain was a day hike (sans pack) up the west side of Mt. Mansfield in Vermont in 5th grade. Being a 10-year old boy who played outside a lot I fairly scampered to the summit and literally ran down!

My first real backpacking mountain was Mt. Tammany from the Delaware Water Gap ascending via the AT and Red Dot Trail when I was 15. I learned the "lock step" on that ascent, lugging up a 45-pound pack. It probably helped my hiking career that it was a nice day with a nice view at the top.

One of the more interesting but really tough climbs I've done was ascending North Kinsman in the Whites (hiking NOBO). I was really glad that everything was dry!

hopefulhiker
01-12-2007, 12:16
Mt Mitchell in NC.. did this as a boyscout....

Bilko
01-12-2007, 13:53
Cheoah Bald. 'A lesson Learned.' From my journal: The next 9 hours were the toughest 9 hours I can remember. Forget, football practice in 100 degree temperatures, or basic training at 5:00 AM, or running the Peachtree 10K on July 4th. Those could be intense but we are talking 9 hours of walking a stairmaster. The trail went from the Nantahala River 1000ft to Cheoah Bald 5062ft in 8 miles. A 4,000ft gain in elevation. It was difficult. I got to the top around 7:30 PM, set up my tent, ate dinner and watched a beautiful sunset. There were a few small trees, but nothing big.<br>I could see for miles up here. I could see 360 degrees. I could see where we had been and where we were going. It was one of the highlights on the trail so far. There was nobody else up here. <br><p>On the trail up I passed some hikers coming down that suggested that I should try and reach Cheoah Bald to spend the night. I complained to them about the difficulty of the climb, asking "Is it as bad up ahead as it has been the last 5 miles?" One of the hikers replied back to me "It is, if you want it too be!" Wow, he was right, it is in the mind. Sure it was physically challenging, but I was at least out there trying. I was making progress, I was doing something good for my body, I was getting stronger. I was seeing some great sights, meeting some nice people, and feeling mentally relaxed. I could either make it a miserable experience or a rewarding experince, it was up to me.

sherrill
01-12-2007, 16:21
Let's see, there was this hill called Everest I can recall :D

Camp Rigecrest, Shawnee Hill, 8yrs old, helping my brother haul my dad's old sea chest up to cabin 9.

Programbo
01-12-2007, 20:26
depends on what you are considering a climb. i remember the laural gap section (the one with all the stairs) of the foothills trail kicking my butt on one of my first backpacking trips when i was 10 or so.

Yes..This is more what I was looking for..I probably worded it wrong..I wasn`t thinking "first big climb" as in your first 14,000 footer or whatever but the first steep hill you encountered when you went on your first backpacking trip...I know the first time I ever went out on the AT I went solo with a $19.95 K-Mart backpack...No hip belt...Big rectangular Coleman cotton canvas sleeping bag tied on the bottom with clothesline..That bag must have weighed 8 pounds..LOL..And about 4 miles down the trail I started up that first little knob which was probably just 500 feet vertical elevation from bottom to top (But kinda steep)... That little knob kicked my butt..I think I stopped twice to rest.....Years later I`d hike the same section of trail and breeze right up that thing non-stop and didn`t even consider it a climb at all

RAT
01-12-2007, 20:59
My first big climb was in the backcountry of our local mountains (Rich Mountain range in Sampson wilderness area) where we bushwhacked straight up some stuff so steep had to hold on to trees to keep from rolling off. Just to try and get to the top to see what was there ! Eventually after several tries at this we came out on top and followed those ridges until we came out on this really nice trail that had white blazes on it !! Had the fever ever since ;)

RAT

Mags
01-13-2007, 01:32
when you went on your first backpacking trip...


Ah..that's another copy and paste job! :)

My first backpacing trip:

An account of my first backpacking trip in 1996. I did not know what I was doing to say the least! But, everyone has to start somewhere. With me on that first trip was my buddy Tim. We both went to the same Catholic elementary school, worked in the same hospital, and (along with our other buddy Leo) probably spent enough to money on beers and wings in ďDaveís Bar and GrillĒ to pay for the addition they put up shortly after I moved to Colorado.

I do doubt Timís sanity since he left a lovely, intelligent, attractive girlfriend to join me for the last stretch of my Appalachian Trail thru-hike. His sanity was further questioned four years later when he left his a lovely, intelligent, attractive WIFE to join me for the last stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail. This letter was published in the September 2001 issue of Backpacker Magazine.

A Thru-Hiker is Born.


Years ago, my friend Tim and I started our summer with a trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I had done dayhikes and camping while in the Boyscouts, but no backpacking. I was 25 pounds overweight, and my gear included a Rambo-sized knife, a flashlight with a big 6-volt battery, and enough canned goods to stock a 7-Eleven. But we planned to only hike 12 miles, so how difficult could that be?


The first day, I was out of breath as we hiked, but enjoyed the sunshine and the fantastic views-until we realized we'd forgotten the map. Tim said he remembered the way, so not to worry. Around 6 PM, we saw the same campsite we had used the previous night. We'd hiked in a 12-mile circle! We set up the tent, didn't bother to eat dinner, and collapsed in our sleeping bags.

Skip ahead two years to a sunny August day. I'm on the summit of Kathadin, Maine, a big smile on my face because I had just complete a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. On that first, mistake-prone, trip, I got lost, carried too much, and in the end enjoyed myself thoroughly. Out of th adventure came a love for backpacking.


The view from that first trip:http://www.magnanti.com/miscwritings/aab.jpg

(From Mt. Meridian IIRC. Looking at the Carter-Moriahs)