Big adventures require proper preparation. All the cool gear in the world won’t get you up the mountain if you neglect the two most important pieces of equipment: your brain and your body. Whether you are tackling a big peak like Mt. Whitney or a long trail like the John Muir Trail, you need to arm yourself with knowledge and the trail smarts to handle the unexpected. And your body needs to be physically prepared for the strain of long, steep miles at altitude.
When I developed my training plan for the John Muir Trail, it included several weekday conditioning hikes, longer weekend hikes, weight-bearing hikes and most importantly, hikes at higher altitude with substantial elevation gain.
As I researched my options, I settled on a series of six peak-bagging hikes, each progressively more challenging and all within a couple hours drive from anywhere in Southern California. These six peaks provided great preparation for the JMT, but they are also perfect for hikers training for Mount Whitney or other big adventures.
The SoCalHiker Six-Pack of Peaks
With that in mind, I organized a series of hikes called the Six-Pack of Peaks. Here they are, in sequential order:
It adds up to 27,108 feet of elevation gain over 82 miles!
The first year I led this with small groups. I had anywhere from 7-11 friends with me on each hike. And we brought along an actual 6-pack to toast the completion of each hike.
Are you up to the challenge? Register for the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge. This challenge runs from January 1 to October 31.
For 2016 we have three registration levels:
Starters get access to log their hikes, the Challengers-only forum, and chances to win gear.
Explorers get everything mentioned above, plus a thank-you note with the 2016 Six-Pack of Peaks sticker, and a $10 coupon good for anything in the SoCal Hiker store — everything from stickers, patches and t-shirts.
Trailblazers get everything listed above plus the 2016 Six-Pack of Peaks t-shirt!
Finish all six peaks in one season, and you’ll be immortalized on SoCalHiker, earn some great bragging rights, and have a chance at our Grand Prize Gear Giveaway.
And as with last year, 50% of all proceeds goes to support Big City Mountaineers.