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Hiking The RMC 100

Mount Adams from the summit of Mount Madison
Mounts Adams and Jefferson (rear) from Mount Madison Summit

The Randolph Mountain Club (RMC) manages about 100 miles of trails in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, including the major routes to the Northern Presidentials, trails connecting the club’s four camps, scenic paths on the lower slopes, and trails in the Crescent Range near the towns of Jefferson and Randolph.

In 2010, the RMC launched a special project called the RMC 100 as part of it’s 100th year anniversary. To participate, hikers are encouraged to hike all 100 miles of the RMC trail system and to record their progress in a specially formatted log book, available here in PDF form.

Thunderstorm Junction Cairn
Thunderstorm Junction Cairn

I was unaware of this until I received the latest edition of the Randolph Mountain Club Newsletter as part of my membership. I joined the RMC last year because they do so much with so little (750 annual members vs the 100,000 member Appalachian Mountain Club) and I wanted to support their local initiatives more directly.

Coincidentally, I’d begun a project of my own to hike all of the trails in the Northern Presidentials this year, with the greater dream (fantasy, most likely) of hiking all 1400+ miles of the White Mountain Guide someday, called Redlining. Needless to say, I have a way to go on that effort, but I’m not in a hurry to be honest. Adopting the RMC 100 sounds like a much more realistic goal that is consistent with my endgame, and it lets me reframe my Northern Presidential project to include hiking the Crescent Range Trails. I’ve never been to that area of the Whites, but it looks like it would make for some interesting winter snowshoeing and possibly winter camping.

Howker Ridge Trail
Howker Ridge Trail

My main motivation for hiking all of the trails in the Northern Presidentials was to make the process of bagging all of the Trailwrights’ 72 peaks in the area more¬† interesting by climbing up them using as many different trails as possible. That peakbagging list includes Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Adams4, Adams 5, Sam Adams, and John Quincy Adams, but it requires that you summit each peak one at a time, encouraging a diversification in the routes taken.

The RMC Bear Pit
The RMC Bear Pit

In addition, to bagging the Trailwright’s peaks, I want to stay at each of the 4 camps that the RMC manages, which include Crag Camp, Gray Knob, The Perch, and the Log Cabin. I stayed at 2 of these this year (Crag Camp and The Perch), and hope to get up to Gray Knob this winter.

So if you’re looking for a worthy day hiking or backpacking goal for next year, consider the RMC 100. It’s a trail list, not a peakbagging list, although the trails just happen to climb some of the biggest 5,000 footers in New England.

4 comments

  1. That is a spectacular photo of Adams, Phillip. I thought I had seen it all when Lafayette first came into view from behind Lincoln while hiking Franconia Ridge, but I imagine seeing Adams from Madison like that must be truly awesome. Doing an Adams-Madison loop is my #1 goal for the 2012 summer season. Do you have a preferred trail route for that, Phillip?

    Glenn

  2. There are many possible routes – hiking up to Madison via the Valley Way Trail is the easiest trail and a good route for your first climb. It leads to the AMC Madison Hut which is at the base of the final summit climb to Madison. From there, you return to the hut, and hike up the Gulf Side trail to Thunderstorm Junction and then to the top of Adams. There are other rougher and shorter trails to the top of Adams from the Madison Hut, but these are the classic paths and provide a good way to get oriented up there until you can recognize where you are (given that there are no trees or anything).

  3. That sounds great, definitely something to look forward to!

  4. I signed up for a membership after reading you say, "I joined the RMC last year because they do so much with so little (750 annual members vs the 100,000 member Appalachian Mountain Club) ……" You are so right. I am absolutely amazed on the amount of volunteerism that is involved in maintaining these trails. What RMC does has to be commended.

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