With better weather around the corner, you may be itching to get outdoors and soak up some Vitamin D. Challenge yourself to see the world from a mountain top by participating in the Six Pack of Peaks Challenge.
This series of self-paced, self-reported, hiking challenges features six iconic peaks in different regions of the country. Jeff Hester, a self-proclaimed avid hiker and backpacker, originally created the challenge when training for the John Muir Trail. If you haven’t heard, the John Muir trail requires some next level skills in order to conquer numerous miles at high altitude. As Hester mapped out his training plan, he settled on Mt. Wilson, Cucamonga Peak, Mt. Baldy, San Bernardino Peak, Mt. San Jacinto, and San Gorgonio. While the challenge was originally localized to Southern California, after gaining much popularity, Hester has since created nine additional Six-Pack of Peak Challenges.
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• Colorado Rockies
• Central Oregon
• Northern California
• New England
• Arizona Summer
• Arizona Winter
• Nevada – Coming Soon
• Utah – Coming Soon
• Pacific Northwest – Coming Soon
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO HIKE
Most challenges run January through October with participants opting to hike higher peaks in the summer after the snow melts. While the mileage, elevation and vertical gain differ from peak to peak, you are guaranteed a beautiful backdrop every step of the way.
Each Challenge has three tiers of pricing with registration fees varying for each challenge. Starter ($20 – $40) gives you access to log and track your hikes through the Six Pack of Peaks website, earn virtual badges for your profile, and entry into monthly gear giveaways. Explorer ($35 – $55) includes a welcome packet, a challenge patch and stickers. You’ll also get a Leave No Trace reference card which outlines minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors. Trailblazer ($55 – $85) styles you with a t-shirt showing the six names of the peaks in the challenge selected.
No matter which level you select, a portion of the proceeds supports charity partners. Big things have happened over the years with more than $40,000 raised for Big City Mountaineers, which provides under-resourced youth with opportunities to have transformative experiences in the outdoors. The Heroes Project, an organization dedicated to redefining the personal limits of injured veterans through extreme outdoor expeditions, has raised $30,000.
BECOME AN AMBASSADOR
Once you’ve hiked the Six Pack in your area, you can become an ambassador. Help increase the hype via social media and you’ll receive comped entry to ALL challenges, an exclusive Six-Pack of Peaks Ambassador t-shirt, two free challenge registrations (for giveaways or fundraisers), a personal discount code to share with friends, family, and followers, and more surprise swag.
As of right now, ambassador positions are available in Utah, Arizona and the Pacific Northwest (Washington State). Hester is always scoping out new peaks for challenges, so additional territories may open.
Completing the challenge in a single season is a feat only a few can claim. Grab your hiking boots, backpack, and camera, and be one of the few.
*Hiking Tip: If you are not an experienced hiker or find yourself suffering from altitude sickness, start off with smaller elevation gains and pack cans of oxygen just in case. Boost makes several sizes and flavors.
Written by Bethany Stirdivant