The northernmost High Peak of the Adirondacks was named for the first person to stand atop its 4240-foot summit. In 1839, a fifteen-year-old girl named Esther McComb lived with her family on a road at the foot of the mountain. Though Esther hoped to one day stand atop the summit of Whiteface Mountain, her parents disapproved of her ambitions and forbade her from climbing it. Despite her parents’ wishes, Esther decided to ascend the mountain anyway, and set off on a solo hike toward Whiteface. After reaching the top of the mountain that now bears her name, she soon became lost. A search party scoured the mountains all night, finally locating her the next morning. Following this incident, her mother began to refer to the mountain as Esther as a joke, but the name clearly stuck.
The summit of Esther Mountain, the twenty-eighth highest peak in the Adirondacks, is now marked with a plaque bearing Esther McComb’s name. In 1939, the Adirondack 46ers honored her with this monument, dedicated “to commemorate the indomitable spirit of Esther McComb, age fifteen, who made the first recorded ascent of this peak for the sheer joy of climbing.” Located near Whiteface Mountain in the town of Wilmington, Esther’s unmarked trail is usually climbed in combination with Whiteface Mountain.
“Esther Mountain: Wilmington, NY.” Adirondack.net, 2019, www.adirondack.net/business/esther-mountain-11106/.