“The Mountains Will Wait For You” is the story of Grace Hudowalski, the first woman to scale all 46 high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains. She was a founder, as well as the historian and matriarch, of a group of mountain climbers known as the Adirondack 46ers.
A Ticonderoga native and Schroon Lake resident will be the focus of a documentary film to be shown locally.
“The Mountains Will Wait For You” will be screened at the Strand Theatre on Main Street in Schroon Lake Friday, Aug. 30, and Sunday, Sept. 1. Both showings will be at 6 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and children.
“The Mountains Will Wait For You” is the story of Grace Hudowalski, the first woman to scale all 46 high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains. She was a founder, as well as the historian and matriarch, of a group of mountain climbers known as the Adirondack 46ers. Today, the group numbers around 8,000.
Hudowalski was born in Ticonderoga and had a camp on the East Shore of Schroon Lake.
The film was made in 1993 when Hudowalski was 87 years old. Much of it was filmed at her Schroon Lake camp.
During the documentary Hudowalski reminisces about her earliest climbs as a teen-age girl in the 1920s, a time when young women largely didn’t pursue such activities. She explains her intense love of mountain climbing, the formation of the 46ers and shares her great pearls of life’s wisdom.
“When the documentary was filmed, aspiring 46ers were not only required to climb all 46 high peaks over 4,000 feet in elevation, but they also had to report their climbs directly to Grace,” said Fred Schwoebel, who produced and directed the film. “This meant that every climber was expected to write to Grace a letter after each summit, telling her about the experience: what they saw, what insights they gleaned from the mountains, and what the climb meant to them on a deeper level.
“And Grace responded to every letter in kind,” he continued. “Over the years, she wrote thousands of inspiring personal letters to climbers as they made their way to becoming bona fide 46ers.”
Hudowalski was much more than a mountain climber.
“She had a profound respect for the mountains and a deep spirituality surrounding them,” Schwoebel said. “A woman ahead of her time, she supported the promotion and preservation of the Adirondack Mountains. In fact, many of the preservation and trail maintenance programs she associated herself in the earliest days of the organization are booming today.
“While, on the face of it, this is a documentary about mountain climbing, it goes much, much deeper,” Schwoebel said. “It’s important to preserve Grace’s legacy as an example for all of us to carry on the good works of conservation and stewardship, not only for the Adirondacks, but for any mountain range or wilderness setting.”
Grace inspired so many through what she called ‘the sheer joy of climbing.”
Famed singer Johnny Cash narrates the film. John Leventhal, who wrote the documentary’s musical score.
Schwoebel has proposed renaming East Dix as Grace Peak in Hudowalski’s honor.
“The renaming will act as a beacon,” he said. “Future generations will discover Grace Peak and learn about a titan, an icon, a woman that surrounded herself with a family of climbers thousands strong. They will learn that in a man’s world Grace was a leader, not only for 46ers, but also as a supervisor for the New York State Department of Commerce. Both houses of the New York State legislature resolved to honor Grace by proclamation and a moment of pause in 1986. Grace Peak will honor a unique woman who devoted her life to the mountains, promoted tourism and espoused the recreational use of the Adirondacks.”
People can view a railer of the film online at www.themountainswillwaitforyou.com/view-trailer/