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Saranac Lake village mayor Clyde Rabideau dressed in "6er" swag.  Rabideau says he still has one summit to bag before he's an official member. Photo: Brian Mann
Saranac Lake village mayor Clyde Rabideau dressed in "6er" swag. Rabideau says he still has one summit to bag before he's an official member. Photo: Brian Mann

Do you have what it takes to be a Saranac Lake 6er?

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We've all heard of the Adirondack 46ers. They're the club of hikers and climbers who have summited all 46 of the Adirondack's highest peaks.

People who compete that grueling task are given an official number and official bragging rights. Now the village of Saranac Lake is hoping to launch its own version of that challenge with its new "6er" program.

The goal is to draw visitors to the ring of beautiful but less difficult mountains that surround the village.

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Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

The goal is to draw new attention to approachable summits around Saranac Lake, including the popular Mt. Baker trail. Photo: Brian Mann
The goal is to draw new attention to approachable summits around Saranac Lake, including the popular Mt. Baker trail. Photo: Brian Mann
Mayor Rabideau unveiled the idea on Thursday, speaking to a small gaggle of reporters downtown.

He's pushing idea that the six mountains clustered around Saranac Lake should be seen as sort of their own little mecca of hiking opportunities.

"I was cross-country skiing across Lake Colby on a January Sunday afternoon and I just started looking at our mountains and I counted them," he says. "It just kind of gelled from there."

Six mountains are being bundled into the 6er program, including Ampersand, Baker, Haystack, McKenzie, St. Regis and Scarface.  Photo: Brian Mann
Six mountains are being bundled into the 6er program, including Ampersand, Baker, Haystack, McKenzie, St. Regis and Scarface. Photo: Brian Mann
Rabideau's idea is that people who climb these peaks will be known as "6ers" – a play on the "46ers" who climb all of the Adirondack Park's High Peaks.

"Whenever we get a post up on Facebook, we'll get five or six hundred views and a lot of 'likes' so I think we have a good thing going."

Rabideau has long been frustrated by the fact that so many people don't know about the Adirondacks.

The "6er" program, started by the village, will be paid for without tax dollars using donations and proceeds from the sale of swag.  Photo: Brian Mann
The "6er" program, started by the village, will be paid for without tax dollars using donations and proceeds from the sale of swag. Photo: Brian Mann
Surveys show that a lot of potential tourists even as close as Boston or New York City have no idea what the Park and its communities have to offer.

He says even people who come to the Adirondacks sometimes don't know about his village.

"I talk to people on the trail, which I often do and I ask them if they know about Saranac Lake and most of them don't. So this is a way to introduce Saranac Lake and our beautiful mountains to that community."

May 25 – next weekend – will be the official start date for the 6er program.

And just as people who complete the 46 high peaks get a number and official recognition, people who climb all six of these peaks will get a "6er" number and a patch and a bumper sticker.

I do intend to do all six, that's for sure. -Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau
Rabideau says people who try to do the whole cluster in one day will be known as Ultra-6ers.

"This is the Ultra-6er patch, which will be highly coveted," he says. "There's a lot of talk on the street how fast this will happen. We've heard everywhere from nine hours to sixteen hours for the first Ultra-6er to come back and ring this bell."

The mayor of Saranac Lake has fixed an iron bell in the bandstand in Berkeley Green Park downtown.

People who climb McKenzie, Ampersand, Scarface, St. Regis, Haystack and Baker are supposed to ring the bell six times. Rabideau says he hopes to earn his own patch and his own right to ring the bell soon…

"I'll be honest with you," he laughs. "I didn't really do Haystack. I did McKenzie, but I didn't take that left hand turn up Haystack on the way up. But I do intend to do all six, that's for sure."

The 6er program is being paid for with donations and through the sale of hats and tee-shirts.

As part of the ceremony next weekend, the village will also honor the memory of Herb Clark, the Saranac Lake guide who is the very first Adirondack 46er.

Clark's name will be added to the village's "Walk of Fame."

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