*See South Dix for more information.*
Though this peak once bore the name “East Dix,” in 2014, the U.S. Board of Geographic Names officially recognized “Grace Peak” as this mountain’s new name. Born in 1906, Grace Leach Hudowalski grew up in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. She married Ed Hudowalski in 1926, and the couple bought a summer home on Schroon Lake in 1954. With an interest in creative writing and public speaking, Grace worked as a publicity writer for the New York State Commerce Department, where she delved into the folklore and history of the state. She was later promoted to Travel Promotion Supervisor, where she served until retiring in 1961. A large part of her job focused on highlighting the Adirondacks and the 46ers, deepening her love for the region.
Grace was the first woman and ninth hiker overall to climb all Forty-Six High Peaks, granting her legendary status in Adirondack 46er history. From her first High Peak ascent of Mount Marcy in 1922 to her ascent of Mount Esther in 1937, Grace spent fifteen years exploring the mountains, often with her husband Ed (46er #6) at her side. As her husband progressed toward his goal of climbing all forty-six, Grace describes, “I was happy being in the woods until eventually I got bitten by the 46er bug and had to finish them all” (Heaven up-H’isted-Ness 37). Grace hiked in simple attire, due to the low availability of hiking equipment and the funds to afford them. She hiked every High Peak in a pair of pearl-buttoned, blue-checkered cotton shorts, which now sit in the Adirondack Experience in Blue Mountain Lake.
A strong advocate for encouraging women to explore the outdoors, Grace also helped found the Adirondack 46ers. She helped organize its first meeting in 1948 and served as its first president from 1948 to 1951. For the next fifty years, Grace kept detailed records of climbs reported by aspiring 46ers, maintaining a personal connection with almost every early climber. She wrote as many as two thousand letters per year to aspiring 46ers, believing in the important of hikers to share their experiences with other. She shared climbing advice, her devotion to the High Peaks, and her love for the outdoors through these letters- many of which now sit in the New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections. Grace played an active role in several other Adirondack organizations, such as the Adirondack North Country Association and the Adirondack Mountain Club.
Following Grace’s death in 2004 at the age of 98, the Adirondack 46ers began a fierce campaign to rename East Dix in her honor. A decade later, they succeeded, allowing Grace to live eternally in the mountains she devoted her entire life to.
The Marshall brothers and Herbert Clark recorded the first known ascent of this 4,012-foot peak in 1921.
Heaven up-H’isted-Ness!: The History of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers and the High Peaks of the Adirondacks. Adirondack Forty-Sixers, 2011.
Mann, Brian. “Adirondack Peak East Dix Is Now Named Grace Peak. Here’s Why.” NCPR, North Country Public Radio, 17 June 2014, www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/25160/20140617/adirondack-peak-east-dix-is-now-named-grace-peak-here-s-why.