Ambassador Spotlight: Cece Lorthioir

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do when you’re not hiking? 

I am one of the first female hike leaders. In 2015, I organized a group of five to hike Mt. Baldy as a trainer for a 4-day trip to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail in Peru. When I came back from my trip, many people wanted to hike with me, which resulted in the creation of my hiking group, Hike Beyond the Hills. In trying to find peaks to hike, I accidentally discovered the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge. The rest is history. My mission as a hike leader is to build and support a community of responsible hikers who prioritize safety. I have trained people who had never hiked a mountain before and have become some of the most avid hikers I know. I have led over 100 group hikes, including backpacking–we conquered Mt. Whitney, Mt. Langley, White Mtn, Half Dome and other numerous peaks in SoCal, Eastern Sierras and beyond. I am a RN, an official Ambassador for Six Pack of Peaks and TOSI Snacks, REI Advisor & former guest blogger for National Forest Foundation.

When I’m not hiking, I’m quite busy working as a community-based Palliative Care Nurse.  I also do CrossFit and run for fun.

What has the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge meant to you? 

The Six-Pack of Peaks challenge is quite literally the best trainer for bigger mountains. It has also afforded me to be in a community of other like-minded outdoor adventurers. Many of them have become lifelong friends

What is your favorite hike in the Six-Pack of Peaks and why? 

San Bernardino Peak. (Editor's Note: San Bernardino is not a part of the 2021 challenge due to fire closures in the area in 2020. At the time of writing, there is a forest order closing the area that is in effect until March 31, 2022. Call the Mill Creek Visitor Center at (909) 382-2882 for reopening information.) It is challenging and beautiful at the same time.  My favorite time to hike it is after the first snow has fallen. The mountain is simply spectacular covered in snow. The trail itself is full of beautiful sceneries, through a forest of mixed-conifers and black oaks, which turn gold during the Fall season. The trail then reaches my favorite area called Manzanita Flat, which the name implies—carpeted with manzanita and studded with majestic Jeffrey pines.

Share one of your most memorable adventures. What makes it so special? 

In 2017 when I backpacked the Eastern Sierras for the first time and summited  Mt. Whitney for the first time. I trained and lead a 5 people group 50-miles thru hike to Mt. Whitney via PCT, JMT. It was also the same year of the record breaking snow in the Sierras and all the creeks in the backcountry had become raging rivers and some were too unsafe to cross.  Even Mt. Whitney Trail literally had a river of water flowing through it. This was the time when we developed our skills on following a paper map to find safer alternate routes on, using our sound judgment to safely maneuver the backcountry and never separate as a group despite differing opinions. Staying together during the difficult parts was the safest and most important lesson we learned.

What’s one piece of gear that you never hike without?

My Garmin InReach. I bought it for my first Mt. Whitney expedition and gave my family peace of mind.  They were also able to follow our progress and communicate to me daily weather reports. I still have the first version which is big and clunky, but still works great!

Share a quote, song, or another inspirational item that helps get you through the toughest hikes/life moments.

 “One step at a time.” This quote always reverberates in my head when I have to endure a challenging hike or endure a very difficult event in my life. 

What upcoming adventures are you looking forward to in the year ahead?

I want to knock out Charleston Peak and Telescope Peak in 2022. Maybe re-do Rim2Rim with some of my adventure friends. I want to explore other states such as Colorado, Washington, etc. It really depends how much time off I can do.

Share a fun fact about you that most people wouldn’t know.

I’m obsessed with snowshoeing! 

My PR for Deadlift is 200 lbs. 

I do not like to repeat things that I do. It’s really a marvel I’ve done the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge 6 times now!

Is there anything else you wish I would have asked you or anything you would like to add?

Just to say I am extremely grateful for this hiking community and all the close friendships I developed because of it. They are some of the most genuine and kindest people I’ve ever met. Many of these friends have also stood by me when I was faced with a life-changing injury 3 years ago. I truly feel so blessed to have them in my life.

You can find Cece here on Social Hiker, and on Instagram @cece_lor

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