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Identifying mountains made easy

June 23, 2010
By MIKE LYNCH, News Outdoors Writer

    A former North Country resident has created a new tool for identifying Adirondack mountains.

    Thatcher Hogan, who lives near Rochester, has created Thatcher’s Peak Finder for the Northern Adirondacks, which was released in April.

    This Peak Finder provides information regarding the views from Ampersand, Azure, Baker, Cascade, Haystack (between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid), Jenkins, Mount Arab, Owls Head (in Franklin County), St. Regis and Whiteface mountains.

    The Peak Finder provides two double-sided cards on each mountain, giving information for all directions. The cards have black and white outlines of the horizon.

    For a mountain such as Ampersand, located between Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake, it identifies 84 peaks, including 17 High Peaks. The peaks are as far away as 44 miles, the distance from Ampersand Mountain to Seventh Lake Mountain.

    At 8.5 inches in length and nearly 3 inches in width, the Peak Finder is made of durable thick, waterproof paper, making it perfect for packing on a hiking trip. The idea is to use them from one of the 10 mountain peaks listed above.

    Hogan picked these 10 mountains because they are some of the more commonly hiked and accessible mountains.

    “We felt the first one should be more family oriented and day hike oriented,” Hogan said.

    Hogan, who spent several years in the 1970s living in Saranac Lake and Duane, still has a camp in the Northern Adirondacks. He said the idea for the Peak Finder came two years ago when his wife Cathy Smith-Hogan and his son, Nathan, now 29, suggested the idea after returning from a hike up Owls Head Mountain in Franklin County.

    “They told me I had an assignment that I was supposed to put together a guide that described what you can see from the peaks,” Hogan said. 

    That was in the fall. By December, Hogan had a plan in place. He spent a year, taking photographs and analyzing maps, then finished up this past winter. With the help of his son Nathan, he is working on a new set consisting of mountains in the High Peaks.

    So far, the Peak Finder has been received well, Hogan said. Eastern Mountain Sports, which carries them, has already requested that he create a set for the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

    But before he went on to the higher mountains, Hogan wanted to make sure he focused on the popular smaller ones. That’s why he focused on mountains such as Baker and Owls Head.

    “If you have some friends up for the weekend, these are often the types of mountains to go up,” he said. 

    For more information, visit

Article Photos

Photo provided
Thatcher Hogan poses for a picture on top of Ampersand Mountain.



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