Five years ago I was training for my second thru-hike of the 211-mile John Muir Trail. I hiked after-work conditioning hikes, but knew I needed bigger challenges to prepare for the altitude, the distance and the elevation gain I’d see over the course of my 22-day backpack trip in the Sierra Mountains. And the Six-Pack of Peaks was born.
The Six-Pack of Peaks included six seriously challenging hikes. They included longer mileage, more vertical gain and ultimately real altitude to help me know how my body would respond to the rigors of the JMT.
Five years later, the SoCal Hiker Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge is here.
This is our inaugural Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge, where you can not only take the challenge, but have a chance at winning some great outdoor gear — all while raising money for Big City Mountaineers, an great organization that gives under-served urban youth a chance to learn about what they can do through serious outdoor adventures.
How the Challenge Works
Register for the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge here. As an official challenger, you are stating your commitment to hike the six peaks this season. Any hikes completed between January 1, 2015 and October 31, 2015 qualify — even if you register after completing them. Once you’ve registered, you can log your hikes on the Six-Pack of Peaks Wall of Fame, sharing the story and pictures from your hikes.
Everyone who registers gets a personal thank-you card from me, along with some pretty sweet stickers. You’re also automatically eligible for our gear giveaway drawing, and a few others surprises. Complete all six peaks and you’ll earn an invitation to our Finisher’s Party this fall and be eligible for our grand prize gear giveaway.
The Gear Giveaways
Here are a few of the sponsors for this year’s giveaways:
With more to come!
The Six-Pack of Peaks includes (in my preferred hiking order):
Special Alternate Peak for 2015
This year due to the Lake fire, the entire San Gorgonio Wilderness was closed, including the recommended trails outlined in our guides to San Bernardino and San Gorgonio Peaks. The good news is that both of those routes were outside the fire perimeter and have been reopened.
The alternate peak for the 2015 Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge is Mt. Baden-Powell. This is shorter than all the other Six-Pack hikes, but it’s still a worthy peak, climbing nearly 3,000 vertical feet in under 4.5 miles and topping out at 9,399′ above sea level. If you hiked B-P during the closure, it will apply as an alternate for either San Bernardino or San Gorgonio Peak. But you’ll still want to hike those. 😉
A Word of Caution
These are not simple hikes on your neighborhood trails. The Six-Pack of Peaks are serious hikes in the wilderness.
You need to be in condition to tackle these routes. In my case, I was conditioning closer to home, covering the distance of these hikes before I tackled the vertical gains and elevation.
You also need to be equipped with knowledge and prepared for the unexpected. Bring a map, studying the route beforehand and learn how to navigate. Know when to turnaround or in case of emergency, execute ‘Plan B.’ Some of these trails are not well-marked and it’s easy to get disoriented and head in the wrong direction. Go into these hikes with your eyes wide open, and be prepared.
Finding a Group Hike
You don’t necessarily need to hike alone. There are many local hiking groups that schedule hikes up these peaks, and we are adding more to the list all the time. Check our event calendar for hikes with groups that I’ve personally hiked with.
Share Your Adventures
Signing up for the the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge gives you a worthy goal for the summer. It helps support a great cause. And as a challenger, you’ll be part of an awesome community of passionate, outdoor-loving SoCal hikers. You can join in on their adventures in the Challenger’s Forum, on the Wall of Fame, and via the #SixPackOfPeaks hashtag.
Are you up for The Challenge?
Sign-up for the inaugural 2015 Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge today, and share with your friends! Hiking peaks is more fun with friends.
I’ll be hiking the Six-Pack myself throughout this summer. Maybe I’ll see you on the peaks, and hopefully at our Finisher’s Party this fall!
DECEMBER 2016 UPDATE
The 2015 Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge was a huge success — but it’s over now. You can get the latest on the next challenge at SixPackOfPeaks.com