New Hampshire’s 48 4K’s

2014-10-04 14:38:00.000 – Mike Carmon, Weather Observer/Education Specialist


What is a challenge?

In searching around for definitions, the one that struck me most was ‘a summons that is often threatening, provocative, stimulating, or inciting.’

Recently, I completed a challenge that, for me, was right in line with this definition, although the summons was given by myself, so we’ll call it a self-challenge.

As any avid hiker that frequents the numerous trails amidst the White Mountains of New Hampshire will attest to, a great challenge to face is completing the New Hampshire 4000-footers. New Hampshire is home to 48 mountains whose summits exceed an elevation of4000 feet above sea level, all within the confines of the White Mountains. The challenge is to ascend and descend all 48 of these summits on foot.

Being an avid hiker myself, and having worked on Mount Washington for the last 6 years (the grandest of all the 4000-footers), I heard of this challenge and could not resist tackling it! It was fitting that Mount Washington would be my first peak to summit, after which I slowly made my way through the remainder of the peaks on this lengthy list over the following two years.

So many great highlights:

The Presidential Traverse, encompassing all 7 summits of the Presidential Range on a 20+ mile trek through the heart of the Alpine Zone

Bondcliff, one of the more remote and serene peaks, located in the Pemigewasset Wilderness, with not a car to be heard from its summit

-The steep and challenging North and South slides up to the Tripyramids

-The long trek in to Mt. Isolation on the Rocky Branch Trail, with incredible views of Mount Washington and Oakes Gulf from its summit

Mt. Garfield, via a trail with a modest grade that culminates at its peak with awe-inspiring vistas of the Pemigewasset Wilderness and the Franconia Ridge

And of course, the best memory of them all which occurred one week ago: summiting the 48th and final peak via the steep and rocky Signal Ridge Trail, Mt. Carrigain, where the remainder of the 47 peaks were all visible atop the fire tower located on the summit!

When I came to the Mount Washington Observatory as an intern back in the fall of 2008, fresh from central NJ, I had never stepped foot on a hiking trail, hardly owned a pair of hiking boots, or any other necessary equipment for that matter; so this accomplishment for me was incredible, and has given me a deep and new-found appreciation for the grandiose White Mountains, which I’ve worked and lived amongst for the last 6+ years.

It’s truly a spectacular and rewarding journey!


Mike Carmon, Weather Observer/Education Specialist

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