Reaching the peak


Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 05-11-2016 6:39 PM

Another day, another potential broken record. With every trip up Mt. Monadnock, Larry Davis further cements himself as the king of the mountain.

Davis, 55, of Jaffrey, is widely considered to hold the record for most consecutive days up Mt. Monadnock at 2,850 climbs. Davis has hiked the mountain over 7,250 times in the past 35 years – the equivalent in vertical feet of climbing Mt. Everest nearly 450 times.

“I’m not as concerned about climbing the mountain every day anymore,” said Davis, who rides his bike about 4.5 miles to the mountain when he hikes. “I try to climb the mountain about 300 times a year now; that gives me some time to work on some other projects.”

Davis will be at the Dublin Public Library Saturday at 10 a.m. to talk about his adventures. Davis, who grew up in Dublin, said he will also show off some of his photography.

Cataloging greatness

On his many journeys up the mountain, Davis has seen some amazing things: bears and moose, thunder and sunrises, and a number of hidden treasures that few have ever seen. While Davis has achieved legendary status for his hiking feats, few know of his love of photography.

“I spend a lot of time alone in the woods, and I have tens of thousands of photos,” said Davis, surrounded in his living room by some of his best prints. “I’ve taken so many that I can afford to be picky.”

Having so many photos – all of which have been stored in boxes along with detailed log books cataloging each trip up the mountain – has forced Davis to be creative in his photography. Davis’ latest project entails taking an image and mirroring it four times, creating a kaleidoscope-like effect.

“I still work with a film camera and I don’t have a computer, but I have a friend that helps me out,” said Davis. “I can take one image and turn it into four new images. It’s really awesome.”

The record

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Adversity doesn’t begin to describe what Davis went through in his journey to 2,850 consecutive climbs up the mountain, as he fought harsh weather, a busy schedule, and injuries on his way to history.

“I don’t recommend hiking with crutches. They make your armpits sore,” said Davis, who once “hobbled” up the mountain on crutches after splitting his knee open the day before.

What ultimately ended the streak for Davis was a terrible bout of pneumonia. Davis climbed the mountain for about a week before he realized something was really wrong. 

“My doctor told me that if I was to climb another day, I could have died,” said Davis. “I was forced to take a three days off.”

Despite his battle with pneumonia, Davis says he is rarely sick or injured, which he attributes to a healthy diet and riding his bike everywhere he goes.

Davis eats one three-course meal a day – chock full of protein, fruits, vegetables, pasta, and more – and gets all his drinking water from Falcon Spring on the mountain. Paramount to everything, however, is Davis’ “fountain of youth” – Moxie.

“It’s an acquired taste, but I love it,” said Davis, who drinks at least a can of Moxie every day. “I have about three to four cans strategically placed on the mountain.”

Future goals

Davis says he breaks a record every day he wakes up, but he no longer concerns himself with such things.

Davis has recently taken up a number of volunteer projects that consume his time, including working with Monadnock at Home and maintaining trails in the White Mountains. Davis also recently rebuilt a cairn on the White Dot trail on Mt. Monadnock.

“A lot of these mountain trails, especially on Mt. Monadnock, haven’t been maintained in years,” said Davis, who is certified by the Appalachian Mountain Club’s trail program to repair and maintain trails. Davis said he would love to help maintain trails on Monadnock, but he is waiting for an OK from management.

In the meantime, Davis plans to average 300 climbs a year up the mountain. While actively pursuing records is a thing of the past, Davis said it would be cool to eventually be the oldest person to climb the mountain.

“I once walked behind some people who were talking about me and my record, but they thought I was dead,” said Davis with a chuckle. “I certainly had to set them straight.”