I became a peakbagger sort of by accident, but I am a full fledged convert and climb a lot of mountains year-round on day hikes and backpacking trips. It all started when I hiked the New Hampshire section of the Appalachian Trail. That 160 mile stretch of trail runs over dozens of high peaks and I climbed so many (23) of the forty-eight White Mountain 4,000 footers, that it made sense to go back and day hike the rest.
That’s when I got hooked. I got hooked on being able to do a hard hike every weekend on top of the two or three day backpacking trips my wife lets me take periodically. If you’ve ever wondered about how I can keep writing about hiking every day, peakbagging is my way of keeping the experience and joy of hiking fresh in my mind in between multi-day backpacking trips.
But peakbagging is more than a way to pass the time between my longer trips. In fact, I am probably a much better and more skilled hiker because of it. Peakbagging forced me to improve my compass and navigation skills, in addition to weather forecasting, above treeline hiking, my scrambling and climbing skills, and all of the technical skills required for safe winter hiking in the mountains.
In addition to the physical benefits of my weekly peakbagging hikes, there is also a charming social community that ties fellow peakbaggers together. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had in the mountains when I come across a fellow hiker who’s working on a list.
On top of that, there are many peakbagging forums and trip report sites online where hikers share information about trail conditions, as well as hiking clubs and meetup groups that run day hikes and backpacking trips over the peaks. It doesn’t matter if you’re an old hand or a newbie, it’s usually pretty easy to find a hike to go if you want to meet people or don’t feel like going alone.
Those are some of the reasons why I like peakbagging.