Reaching the highest summits: Outing club recognized by General Assembly

The UConn Outing Club received recognition from the Connecticut General Assembly for reaching the summit of all 48 peaks over 4,000 feet in New Hampshire in one day.

The club received a certificate from the assembly, signed by Secretary of State Denise Merrill, President Pro Tempore Martin Looney and Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey.

“It is hereby known to all that The Connecticut General Assembly hereby offers its sincerest congratulations to: The UConn Outing Club in recognition of simultaneously occupying The Summit of All 48 Peaks in New Hampshire over 4,000 Feet. Eighty Eight Club Members Helped To Achieve The First of Its Kind Accomplishment! The Entire Membership Extends it’s very best wishes on this memorable occasion and expresses hope for continued success,” the certificate reads.

When Alicia Cascella brought forward the initial idea for the trip to Club President Billy Harasyko, it was met with great enthusiasm and support. In little time, they and 86 other club members were hiking throughout New Hampshire, Cascella and Harasyko said.

Operating from a base camp near Mt. Washington, the first 40 or so hikers arrived on the night of September 23 so they could get an early start on the next day. With four traverses over 15 miles in length, the longest being the Presidential Traverse at over 20 miles, many hikers had to leave camp at 3:30 a.m., Cascella said. Those who tackled the Presidential Traverse were also tasked with reaching the summit of Mt. Washington; the most prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River at 6,288 feet, according to the Mount Washington Observatory.  

Harasyko recorded a total of 239.3 miles traveled on Saturday as club members ascended each of the 48 peaks. They were split up according to skill level and each team had an experienced leader to guide them to the right trail heads, Cascella said.  

Both Harasyko and Cascella agreed the club’s greatest achievement may have actually been the sense of community that was built among its members, both past and present, throughout the weekend. With many new, unfamiliar faces, several members had to step into leadership roles immediately and rose to the task at hand. Having two large groups stay at camp on Friday and Saturday evenings further fostered comradery among the hikers, Harasyko said.  

Cascella also said Outing Club alumni expressed strong support for the effort via the Club’s social media accounts, while also representing as one of the 88 hikers participating in the trip.

As he looks forward to 2017, Harasyko said he has his eyes set on even bigger goals, “Maybe with the help of other Outing Clubs we can even do all of New York, or New England.”

There are 115 peaks over 4,000 feet in the Northeastern United States.

Rep. Gregg Haddad and Sen. Mae Flexer were credited with bringing forward the club’s achievement to the General Assembly. Photos of the trip can be viewed on UConn Outing Club’s Facebook page and Instagram @uconnoutingclub.  


Jeffrey Levins is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at jeffrey.levins@uconn.edu.