Ryan Wichelns, 19, and Gabe Messercola, 18, best friends since their days at Stillwater Elementary School, have been hiking and climbing together in the mountains for the last half-decade. Each raised in the outdoors, they began climbing on Spruce Mountain and Hadley Mountain in the southern Adirondack Park in Upstate New York. They started climbing Adirondack 46-er Peaks in an effort to prepare for a backpacking trip to Mount Marcy, New York State’s highest peak. But even after the trip, their passion never slowed, leading eventually to trips to New Hampshire’s White Mountains, completing a traverse of the Presidential Range, as well as trips to the Catskills and to Maine’s Mount Katahdin.
Nearing the end of their 46-er quest, Ryan and Gabe’s love began to shift to larger mountains and more extreme adventures. Rock and ice climbing led to mountaineering, their current goal.
Ryan is a second-year journalism student at the University of Rhode Island with hopes of being able to write about his future outdoor adventures. Gabe is a freshman at Boston University, hoping to study environmental engineering. Both are experienced competitive rowers and ski during the winters but love climbing more than anything else.
Following their expeditions this summer, Ryan and Gabe finally summitted Haystack Mountain in the Adirondacks, finishing their five year journey to become Adirondack 46ers.
Check out photos from all their past adventures here.
Our Adirondack Traverse would never be possible without an entire team to support us. By supplying us at pre-determined points along our route as well as supplying us with our necessary transportation, they provide an invaluable service.