48 Peaks: Hiking and Healing in the White Mountains

At forty-eight years old, Cheryl Suchors―hoping to find concrete successes and a feeling of control as she changes careers and fifty stares at her from the horizon―vows to summit the highest forty-eight peaks in New Hampshire’s grueling White Mountains. Neglecting to consider her flimsy body, scoliosis, bum knee, and fear of heights, she dives into the challenge.

Along the way, Suchors suffers numerous injuries; her hiking buddy succumbs to ovarian cancer; and she endures breast cancer, a mastectomy, chemotherapy, and five years of adjuvant therapy herself. But she always returns to the mountains―and in that connection she finds spiritual nourishment, as well as a space powerful enough to hold her grief. Over the ten years it takes her to complete her quest, she learns that mastery alone doesn’t satisfy her and control is often an illusion―that she must connect with hiking comrades and with nature in order to feel nourished and enriched. In the end, Suchors creates her own definition of success.

48 peaks cheryl suchors

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What People are Saying About 48 Peaks:

“…Suchors’ journey feels authentic, and her writing, gleaned from journals she kept over the years, brings to vivid life a proud and driven woman, her staunch support network, and her vibrant, intelligent best friend and soul mate. She evocatively explains how every early alarm clock, hiking-boot print, and summit happy-dance makes her think of her relationship with her friend. Throughout, her prose radiates a sense of determination: “Mt. Tripyramid would push me to my limits.…No matter. Though I might be a month shy of forty-eight and potentially a fool for giving up a lucrative business career to write a novel, I would complete this ‘event.’ ”

An inspiring yet relatable true story with exciting scenes and plenty of heart.”

— Kirkus Reviews

“10 Life-Changing Memoirs To Pick Up This Fall

Fans of Wild by Cheryl Strayed will love this new memoir. Cheryl Suchors had one goal in mind when she took up hiking in New Hampshire: climb all 48 peaks of the White Mountains. Spending 10 years pushing towards her goal, Cheryl endured the death of a close friend and her own cancer diagnosis. Quickly finding solace in the outdoors, hiking became a form of therapy to Suchors — and throughout her decade-long venture, she learned tremendous things about life and herself. 48 Peaks takes an eye-opening look at grief, strength, and the power it takes to overcome your biggest fears. “


“Cheryl Suchors charts two different journeys: her ascents of the White Mountains and her involuntary expedition into the world of hospitals and return to health . . .Suchors writes with eloquence and honesty about the complexities of friendship and about the landscapes she knows so well. 48 Peaks is a compelling and moving book.”

—Margot Livesey, best-selling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

“48 Peaks is the compelling story of one woman’s hiking journey… and a meditation on life, loss, friendship, and love. This book should provide inspiration for many a hiker as they embark on their own mountain journeys.”

—Steven D. Smith, editor and compiler of White Mountain Guide, 30th Edition

“Cheryl Suchors’s beautiful, essential 48 Peaks, is at once a memoir of a friendship and the story of Suchors’s triumph in hiking after her own bout with cancer. Engaging, vivid, and deeply openhearted, this book could be called a manual for hope.”

—Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir