LAKE PLACID - Curious minds from across the Adirondacks and the world followed the Garmin GPS coordinates of Stefanie Bishop this past weekend as the Long Island endurance athlete continued her pursuit of breaking the supported Winter 46er speed record.
Bishop started out Thursday morning, March 9, attempting to summit all 46 Adirondack High Peaks in a faster time than eight days and 44 minutes - the current record held by Cory DeLavalle. As of Monday morning and five days into her attempt, Bishop was nearly half way done, most recently at the state's highest point Mount Marcy (5,344-feet) at around 6:30 a.m. Monday and neighboring Mount Skylight at around 8 a.m., to bring her total to 18.
Bishop began March 9 by hiking the mountains of the Santanoni Range - Santanoni Peak, Couchsachraga Peak and Panther Peak - before finishing that first day with a 9 p.m. summit of isolated Allen Mountain.
The woman attempting to break the Winter 46er speed record, Stefanie Bishop, far right, is seen Saturday at the summit of Nye Mountain along with the two local women who helped her stay on course during her hike Saturday, Elizabeth Izzo of Lake Placid, second from left, and Brittany Friedrich, far left, and their friend Jake.
(Photo provided — Brittany Friedrich)
She continued on Friday hiking through the MacIntyre Range - Wright Peak, Algonquin Peak and Iroquois Peak - before also hiking Mount Marshall.
On Saturday, she hiked Nye and Street Mountains in the morning before also hiking Cascade and Porter mountains in the afternoon. And on Sunday, she hiked the Seward Range - Seward Mountain, Seymour Mountain, Donaldson Mountain and Mount Emmons.
Winter weather conditions have forced Bishop and the team supporting her to alter their plans several times since they began Thursday, including choosing to hike different trails Saturday due to frigid temperatures. Bishop is facing the possibility of hiking in winter storm conditions Tuesday and Wednesday that are forecast to bring many inches of snow to the High Peaks.
Elizabeth Izzo of Lake Placid and Brittany Friedrich of Keeseville hiked Nye and Street Mountains with Bishop on Saturday. Speaking Sunday night, both Izzo and Friedrich described Bishop's spirit as upbeat and unwavering, despite several changes to plans due to inclement conditions.
"She's very focused," Friedrich said. "She knows what she needs to do and has a general idea of how long it needs to take her."
Friedrich said Bishop's homebase for the supported thru-hike of the High Peaks is the Keene Valley residence of Don Devaney. On Saturday morning, Izzo and Friedrich said the team supporting Bishop was based out at the Adirondak Loj and helped transport her to Cascade and Porter.
Part of Bishop's team includes a film crew that has accompanied her through portions of her hike. But when Friedrich and Izzo ran into Bishop on the way to Street and Nye mountains on Saturday, Bishop was backtracking on her trails parallel to the herd path leading to the two mountains.
Friedrich said she decided to try to join Bishop on her hike of the two mountains after she saw on social media that her friend Jaryn DeShane of Lake Placid had hiked the Santanoni Range with Bishop on Thursday. Friedrich said Bishop, who is not a 46er, had not met her, Izzo or DeShane until this week. Friedrich said her and Izzo came across DeShane going in on the herd path, and he told them Bishop was only 15 minutes ahead. They ran into a backtracking Bishop not-soon-after, and helped the endurance athlete bushwhack back to the herd path.
"They pretty much have everything working out of the back of Don (Deveaney's) car," Friedrich said. "They are kind of moving from place to place every day. Their homebase is actually Don's house, where they have all supplies and stuff. They transport what they need for each day in his car."
Friedrich said Bishop initially planned to hike the Great Range Sunday, but decided to do the Sewards instead due to an impassable water crossing near the John's Brook Lodge.
Izzo said during the hike Saturday the group hiked in microspikes and helped to break trail for Bishop while also giving her tips on hiking other areas of the Adirondacks, such as a recently dangerous spot near the summit of Whiteface Mountain.
Izzo added that Bishop was drinking water with electrolytes and, as a vegetarian, was eating ginger snaps and gummies to fuel her on Saturday's hike.
"She did mention that the cold is not her favorite and the extreme cold was definitely making things more challenging," Izzo said. "She was carrying a lot of hand warmers, but she wasn't letting it stop her by any means."
"I'm not sure if they have an exact day of when she is going to finish," Izzo continued. "It really all depends on the weather pretty much. If we are going to get this storm we are supposed to get on Tuesday, it's going to throw a big wrench into things."