What is Project Full Deck?


Getting some sun on Marcy.

What is Project Full Deck?

Project Full Deck is a back-pack and a fund raiser. The ADK High Peaks Foundation is handling the fund raising logistics.  100% of donations made will be going to search and rescue (LASAR) in the Adirondacks.

Project Full Deck (P-FD) will be a 15 day backpacking trip in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondack State Park in New York State. The name, Full Deck, refers to the itinerary which traverses fifty-two summits, a mix of four thousand foot “High Peaks” and sub-4,000 foot peaks from the ADK-Hundred Highest list. Part of the route follows established trails while a significant portion is completely off-trail. In order to keep my pack weight down to 20-25 pounds I will be re-supplied several times by friends who will be joining me for sections of the hike. I will camp out every night either in lean-to’s, in designated camping spots or off-trail in completely wild settings.  I anticipate that the hike will require 13 days to complete.


The origin of this project is Project 46, which you can read about here. P-46 was a ten-day marathon during which I day-hiked the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondacks in February of 2014. During those ten days I carried an ultra-light pack, slept in a warm bed every night and was fed and cared for by my great friends Tom Haskins and Doreen Heer in whose vacation rental I stayed. I began each day in clean clothes and had hot showers daily. P46 was followed closely by hundreds of people due to SPOT satellite tracking and enabled me to raise about fifteen thousand dollars for the ADK High Peaks Foundation.

Since then I’ve been without a special project to motivate me but have kept up with hiking and maintained my fitness. Last summer I did a lot of bushwhacking and kept trying to think up an interesting and challenging project. Gradually, one began to take shape and it evolved into Project Full Deck (P-FD).

Challenges and logistics.

  • Carrying a heavier pack: I mainly do day-hikes with a 10-15 pound pack so weight will be an issue especially on the bushwhack portions of the hike. Bushwhacking is much more difficult than trailed hiking and every pound carried makes itself felt. As such I will be striving to get the pack weight down as low as possible.
  • Light gear:  Instead of a tent I’ll carry a tarp and will use lightweight gear wherever possible. However, in some instances I’ll carry heavier items for comfort, safety and convenience.
  • Food:  I will dehydrate all of my meals and make my own beef jerky. I’ll also make my own energy bars and muesli. As mentioned, I’ll be re-supplied every 3 or 4 days by friends who will join me on portions of the hike or by my wife Sylvie. All re-supply points will be relatively close to trailheads and along trails with little elevation change.
  • Weather:  The most uncomfortable challenge will be hiking, and especially bushwhacking in wet weather. Setting up and breaking camp in the rain will not be the most fun parts of the trip!
  • Fitness:  Starting from a solid fitness base I have started backpacking/camping and continued with some tough bushwhacking (with a day-pack) and have been doing weighted hill climbs at home. Drawing on my P-46 experience I’ll be increasing the training progressively leading up to my start date.
  • Routes:  Some of the bushwhack routes I’ve elaborated are unknown to me so over the next three months I’ll combine training with exploration (and timing) of all of the routes I plan on including in the project.
  • Quarterbacking:  My wife Sylvie will be residing at Tmax and Topo’s where she will have internet access. Her job will be to coordinate the re-supplies and provide shuttle service for my hiking partners. If a scheduled re-supply falls through for any reason she will do the “run” herself.
  • Fund Raising:  Raising funds for the Foundation will be the keystone of the endeavor and Jack Coleman of the Foundation will set up a donation web site where you can donate to the Foundation on a per peak basis (same as for Project 46) or simply make a lump sum donation. Every dollar raised will go to the foundation and will be ear-marked for grants to a specific cause.
  • Internet Tracking:  This was a lot of fun on Project 46. I will carry a SPOT device, which will enable people to follow my progress via the internet. The satellite tracking updates my position every 10 minutes and places a marker onto a topographical map. At the end of each day my track will be transferred to a different map, which will be posted in this blog, and the live track will be erased.
  • Pictures:  I will try and get some pictures posted via my hiking partners after they hike out.

7 thoughts on “What is Project Full Deck?

  1. You are an inspirational person. Your achievements are Nat Geo material. have you given thought to bigger more national sponsorship?


  2. This is such an original and interesting project on a number of levels!

    It so important to support and highlight the often unrecognized work of search and rescue organizations, which are largely volunteer in Canada and the US.

    One question about the bushwhack sections: I can’t find any reference to your preparation in terms of navigation. You clearly have good topo maps, I take it you are good with the compass that goes with them?

    Nice to see you are leaving the GPS behind 🙂

    All best wishes for a successful trip,


    • Eliza, I did nearly every one of the bushwhacks on my prep/training hikes. This either confirmed that the route I had penciled in was good or that it needed to be changed. For example I was going to begin with a bushwhack of Macomb from West Mill Brook but after doing it decided to begin with Grace from Spotted.


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