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Monday, January 17, 2022

Winter NH 48 4,000 Footers

After a busy work year, I decided to take a type-2 fun vacation to the White Mountains in New Hampshire to complete a winter NH 48. For those who don't know, the state has forty-eight 4,000 foot mountains in its White Mountain range. Typically people take years to complete this list, but I was looking for an adventure to shock my body, mind and soul - so I went for it almost entirely on my winter vacation. The mountains threw everything at me, from sub-zero temperatures, Hurricane-force winds, white outs and deep snow. All in all, I hiked 264 miles and climbed 79,882 feet in elevation gain. Luckily, I had some great company to share many of the hikes with. See below for some pictures beginning with my most recent hike. 

Mount Isolation

On February 6th, Dane, Elyse, Tucker and I met at the Pinkham Notch visitor center in frigid weather. We set out to do my final winter NH 48th peak (Mt.Isolation) via Glen Boulder trail - a route seldom traveled in the winter. Little did we know, the ~2-feet of fresh snow lay unbroken. Within a quarter mile, Elyse and Tucker turned around so it was Dane and I the whole way. The trail breaking was very strenuous. When we made it to Glen Boulder, Dane contemplated turning around, then eventually did turn around due to cramping and tough conditions. But I chased him down and we banded together to get it done together. It was a hike that build resilience and strengthened our friendship - a perfect way to finish this project!


Carters-Wildcats Traverse

Summer, Bluey and Dane helped me do the Carters and Wildcats Traverse. The hike was 13.43 miles with 6,650 ft in elevation gain. What a beautiful bluebird day with excellent trail conditions. We saw a few groups along the way, and held a steady pace led by Bluey the super pup. This was Summer and Bluey's longest hike. The best part of this hike was high speed glissading (butt sledding) down Wildcat mountain under a nearly full moon and the backdrop of the presidential range. This may be one of my favorite hikes ever!


Owl’s Head

I braved -12 degree weather and up -75 degree wind chill to do Owls Head fast and solo.  The hike was 16.96 miles and 3,141 ft in elevation gain. My moving time for the 17-mile hike was around 6 hours. Not many views, but a nice solo challenge. 


Cabot & Waumbek (double-header)

After dropping back down to the Vineyard for work, I revisited for the following weekend. Dane and I did Cabot and Waumbek. Waumbek was 7.08 miles and 2,738 ft in elevation gain, while Cabot was 16.96 miles and 3,141 ft in elevation gain. It was great to get back in the mountains together again. 


Galehead-Twins Traverse

After taking a couple days off, Summer, Bluey and I did Galehead and the Twins. This hike was 14 miles and 3,572 ft in elevation gain. The heavy snow dampened any semblance of sound - it was a winter wonderland. We came across two women going up Galehead. When we descended, they were waiting for us at the hut and asked if we wanted a ride to our car instead of ascending the steep South Twin mountain. We both emphatically said yes! Bluey too. The White Mountains is filled with wonderful people like Ginger and Barb!


Presidential Traverse

I did the presidential traverse solo. The hike was 20.4 miles and 9,000 ft in elevation gain. The ominous forcast of sub-zero temperatures, 75mph wind gusts and -35 wind chill kept all but a few at bay, so I had the range largely to myself. I did the hike in 13.5 hours and caught the sunrise on Madison and Sunset on Jackson. What a beautiful hike!


Passaconway & Whiteface

I reluctantly climbed out of my hotel bed and hiked Passaonway and Whiteface fast through the pouring rain. The hike was 11.36 miles and 3,950 ft in elevation gain. It was cold and wet all day, but I'm always in awe of the old growth forest in the Bowl Research center. I didn't see any human beings on that day. Hikes like this are practice for being comfortable being uncomfortable.



 Elyse and I climbed Carrigain. The hike was 14.32 miles and 3,839 ft in elevation gain. After hiking in the fog all day, the clouds dropped as it got colder and we were greeted with beautiful undercast. Elyse made me some homemade habanero salsa to boot!


Tecumseh & Hale (double-header)

Michelle and I did Hale and Tecumseh for a double-header. Hale was 9.87 miles and 2,676 ft in elevation gain, while Tecumseh was 4.74 miles and 2,242 ft in elevation gain. Big thank you to Michelle for battling through two peaks in one day, and providing some much needed pre-workout to get me through!



Elyse and Michelle met up to do the Osceolas with me. The hike was 7.60 miles and 3,228 ft in elevation gain. It was a gorgeous day with fresh snow and great company. We went out for some burgers at One Love after - So Good!


Pemigewasset Loop (semi-pemi)

 I attempted the Pemi-Loop solo, but only ended up doing the Semi-Pemi. The hike was 25.19 miles and 6,676 in elevation gain and took me only 11 hours and 7 minutes moving time. Mount Garfield would be the last peak I'd climb before heading back. What a long slog on nearly flat ground to the car. But the views on top were well worth it!



After going home for Christmas, I hit Mount Moriah solo on the 26th. The hike was 8.8 miles and 3,214 ft in elevation gain. I used the new Patagonia hat and Darn Tough socks my brother gifted me, and the new Black Diamond trekking poles my mom gifted me. I listened to the Patriots on my phone and only saw a few people on trail.



Michelle and I hiked the Hancocks. The hike was 7.71 miles and 2,444 ft in elevation gain. First hike of the year where we could glissade down the mountain.


Tom, Field & Willey

 I hiked Tom, Field and Wiley with Elyse, Ian and Alex. This hike was 9.61 miles and 3,655 ft in elevation gain. Elyse and I led the hike as Alex and Ian were new to the sport and wanted experienced people to tackle a winter hike with. They did great! Alex and Ian experienced their first gray jay. They both learned a lot too. Alex carried somewhere around a dozen bottles of water in his pack (ouch), and Ian's Nalgene bottle froze.


Carters-Kinsmans Loop

I headed north to finish my winter NH 48. I'd be on vacation for 2.5 weeks, and my goal was to tackle them all. The first hike I did was on December 22nd - Kinsmans and Cannons. This hike was 13.41 mi and 5,042 ft in elevation gain. Summer, Bluey and I hiked the Kinsmans together before I went on to hike Cannon alone. 


Bonds-Zealand Traverse

On March 1st, 2019, met up with my friend Hallie and a group of hikers to do the Bond-Zealand traverse. Having never looked up the specs of the hike, I didn't know what to expect. All I knew is that I would be helping to break trail. In retrospect, I now know that this is one of the toughest hikes in the range, especially in winter. The terrain, spruce traps (weaks spots in deep snow where spruce saplings lay, and sheer distance (25 miles) made it a doozy, but it was a blast and I got to meet new faces. Yes, the middle picture shows the snow near the blaze on the tree! Along the way, we bumped into the Herr family, a mom and her two daughters, who are well known for their experiences in the white mountains. There is a book about them, in fact. Hallie and I booked it and got out of the woods by 9pm. What made it more difficult for me was the fact that I did the Tripyramids the day before - ouch!