[Published in Apex to Zenith #52 – First Quarter 2001]
By: Chris Covill
The following is a short story by an astounding young man. Only 12 years old, with boundless enthusiasm, Mac Clemens has completed 47 HP’s and is looking up at Alaska already.
Mac Clemens – age 12
“Always be prepared for the worst” – that’s my motto. To survive in the wilderness of the 50 highpoints, you must never give in. Plus, it helps to have a father who cares about me; like bringing food, extra clothes, and water.
My favorite HP so far has been Florida. All I had to do was walk a few feet from the parking lot to the marker. Only problem, there wasn’t a McDonald’s anywhere close, but a least I didn’t have to dig a hole to go to the bathroom.
Seriously though, so far, Mt. Whitney was the hardest, because I did it as a dayhike. Dad and I started at 4:30 am on a full moon night and got back at 5:00 pm. I hope I never have to try and do that again, at least not in a day. The best part of the hike was knowing that I made it to the top and back, and I can keep climbing after the longest day, and survive.
This past summer was especially good because I climbed Mauna Kea, Boundary, Whitney, Gannett, and Granite. It was tons of fun since I got to go to Hawaii and meet lots of club members, including Mr. Covill, Mr. Longacre, and Mrs. Winger. (Mrs. Winger—did you get my notes on top of Gannett and Granite?).
I saw big horn sheep, mountain goats, a zillion moose and all kinds of little critters. The fires in Wyoming and Montana were really, really bad. Dad and I took some excellent video of the horrible fires north of Riverton, WY.
Gannett was really cool! Summitt day, we left base camp at 6am and we summited at 1:55pm. (Dad had set a 2 pm turn-around time and I knew he meant it, so I climbed really hard) I got to lead the last quarter mile over the summit field and that was the best.
We got back to base camp at 8:30 pm and I died in the tent. Granite was another long summit day, starting from a place called froze-to-death plateau, going up, then way down, then way, way up. We got caught in a thunderstorm with lightning, hail and rain, about 500 feet under the summit, but we hunkered down in a hole until it passed (5 guys ahead of us got caught on top and had to run to their lives). We waited about 45 minutes and went on up to the summit in the most perfect weather—clear, cool and no wind.
So far I’ve done 47 hp’s. This coming summer I’m trying to do Hood and Rainier. If I do good there, Dad say’s we’ll try Denali in 2002. (He still has to do it first to make sure we can do it safely). If I climb Denali, then I’m going to take it easy and relax. One thing for sure, I’ll never forget what I’ve done in such a short period of time
(Dad’s note: Mac’s first HP was Hawkeye Point on July 19, 1995 at age 6. Heather, Mac’s 14 year old sister, has 38 hp’s to date)
I’ll see you all at the 2001 convention in Maryland. There are many things to do, like canoeing. To all of the wonderful people I have met at past conventions, hopefully I’ll see you again.