The Backpacker’s 48 – A White Mountain Peakbagging List

Mount Isolation Peakbagging Trip. 2010 - Camping in the Dry River Wilderness

Mount Isolation Peakbagging Trip - 2010 - Camping in the Dry River Wilderness

The White Mountains have a rich tradition of peakbagging and there are many interesting peak lists that you can work on. I’m currently focused on the maddeningly difficult Trailwright’s 72, which only lets you count a peak per trip and requires 72 hours of trail work too.

But the problem with most of the White Mountain peak lists is that they cater to day hikers, not backpackers. Don’t get me wrong. I like day hiking and I did 27 of my 48 White Mountain 4,000 footers that way. But backpacking has always been my true love and it is a very satisfying way to string together a lot of peaks on a multi-day hike. Backpacking also means you can linger if you budget the time for it and is a refreshing change from the rush rush pace of a day hike. You can take in sunrise and sunset views, watch the stars at night, eat breakfast on a 4000 footer, or just hang out with your friends in camp.

For example, take the Bonds (Mt Bond, West Bond, and Bondcliff)  which are one of the longest single day peakbagging hikes you can do in the Whites.  Most peakbaggers hike the Bonds by doing an 22.6 mile out and back from the Lincoln Woods trailhead on a very long day hike. But if you backpack the route in a 1 night trip, you can hike in from Zealand Rd or  Lincoln Woods, spend the night at nearby Guyot Campsite, and hike back the next day. I did this trip last weekend and got to stargaze at night and have breakfast on the summit of West Bond the following morning. You can’t experience that day hiking.

The Backpacker’s 48 is not for everyone, but it is a very different way to experience the White Mountain 4000 footers. It’s really just a personal list that I’m working on, but if you’d like to do it too, by all means. Maybe we can even make it an institution someday.

The Rules

In the interest of simplicity, the Backpacker’s 48 includes all 48 peaks on the AMC 4000 footer list. Here are the rules:

  1. You only get credit for a peaks you climb on an overnight backpacking trip.
  2. You can’t stay at an AMC hut or RMC hut during your trip unless the hut is a lean-to/shelter with one open side. This means that The Perch (RMC), The Log Cabin (RMC) and Guyot Campsite (AMC) are legal campsites but that Crag Camp (RMC) and Madison Hut (AMC) are not. The only exception to this rule is Cabot Cabin.
  3. You can summit multiple peaks during a backpacking trip.
  4. You must record the route of the trip, the location of your campsites and the date you climbed each peak in your summit log.

The Peaks

Here’s a list of the Backpacker’s 48, showing the log of my climbs, as an example.

MountainElevationDateRouteCamping
Washington62882009-06-0719 Mile Bk Tr->Carter Dome Tr->Carter-Moriah Tr->Wildcat Ridge Tr->Old Jackson->Madison Gulf->Osgood->Gulfside->Lion Head Tr->Tuckerman Ravine TrLost Pond Stealth, Valley Way
Adams57742009-06-0719 Mile Bk Tr->Carter Dome Tr->Carter-Moriah Tr->Wildcat Ridge Tr->Old Jackson->Madison Gulf->Osgood->Gulfside->Lion Head Tr->Tuckerman Ravine TrLost Pond Stealth, Valley Way
Jefferson57122009-06-0719 Mile Bk Tr->Carter Dome Tr->Carter-Moriah Tr->Wildcat Ridge Tr->Old Jackson->Madison Gulf->Osgood->Gulfside->Lion Head Tr->Tuckerman Ravine TrLost Pond Stealth, Valley Way
Monroe5384   
Madison53672009-06-0619 Mile Bk Tr->Carter Dome Tr->Carter-Moriah Tr->Wildcat Ridge Tr->Old Jackson->Madison Gulf->Osgood->Gulfside->Lion Head Tr->Tuckerman Ravine TrLost Pond Stealth, Valley Way
Lafayette5260   
Lincoln5089   
South Twin49022009-03-14Fire Wardens Tr->Lend-a-Hand Tr->The Twinway->North Twin Spur->North Twin TrOn the Twinway
Carter Dome48322009-06-0519 Mile Bk Tr->Carter Dome Tr->Carter-Moriah Tr->Wildcat Ridge Tr->Old Jackson->Madison Gulf->Osgood->Gulfside->Crawford Path->Edmunds PathLost Pond Stealth, Valley Way
Moosilauke4802   
Eisenhower4780   
North Twin47612009-03-14Fire Wardens Tr->Lend-a-Hand Tr->The Twinway->North Twin Spur->North Twin TrOn the Twinway
Carrigan4700   
Bond46982010-06-18Lincoln Wood Tr->Bondcliff Tr->Twinway->Twin Bk->Lincoln Bk->Lincoln Wood TrSouth Twin Stealth
Middle Carter46102007-07-0719 Mile Bk Tr->Carter Dome Tr->Carter-Moriah Tr->Wildcat Ridge Tr->Old Jackson->Madison Gulf->Osgood->Gulfside->Crawford Path->Edmunds PathRattle River Shelter, Imp Shelter
West Bond45402010-06-18Lincoln Wood Tr->Bondcliff Tr->Twinway->Twin Bk->Lincoln Bk->Lincoln Wood TrSouth Twin Stealth
Garfield45002009-10-30Garfield Tr-Return 
Liberty4459   
South Carter44302007-07-0719 Mile Bk Tr->Carter Dome Tr->Carter-Moriah Tr->Wildcat Ridge Tr->Old Jackson->Madison Gulf->Osgood->Gulfside->Crawford Path->Edmunds PathRattle River Shelter, Imp Shelte
Wildcat44222009-06-0519 Mile Bk Tr->Carter Dome Tr->Carter-Moriah Tr->Wildcat Ridge Tr->Old Jackson->Madison Gulf->Osgood->Gulfside->Lion Head Tr->Tuckerman Ravine TrLost Pond Stealth, Valley Way
Hancock4420   
South Kinsman4358   
Field4340   
Osceola4340   
Flume4328   
South Hancock4319   
Pierce (Clinton)4310   
North Kinsman4293   
Willey4285   
Bondcliff42652010-06-18Lincoln Wood Tr->Bondcliff Tr->Twinway->Twin Bk->Lincoln Bk->Lincoln Wood TrSouth Twin Stealth
Zealand42602009-03-13Fire Wardens Tr->Lend-a-Hand Tr->The Twinway->North Twin Spur->North Twin TrOn the Twinway
North Tripyramid4180   
Cabot41702010-07-24Starr King Tr->Kilkenny Ridge Tr -> ReturnCabot Cabin
East Osceola4156   
Middle Tripyramid4140   
Cannon4100   
Hale40542009-03-13Fire Wardens Tr->Lend-a-Hand Tr->The Twinway->North Twin Spur->North Twin TrOn the Twinway
Jackson4052   
Tom4051   
Wildcat D40502009-06-0519 Mile Bk Tr->Carter Dome Tr->Carter-Moriah Tr->Wildcat Ridge Tr->Old Jackson->Madison Gulf->Osgood->Gulfside->Lion Head Tr->Tuckerman Ravine TrLost Pond Stealth, Valley Way
Moriah40492007-07-07Rattle River Tr->Kendusceag Tr->Carter Moriah Tr->Black Angel->Wild River TrRattle River Shelter, Imp Shelte
Passaconaway4043   
Owl's Head4025   
Galehead4024   
Whiteface4020   
Waumbek40062010-07-25Starr King Tr->Kilkenny Ridge Tr -> ReturnCabot Cabin
Isolation40042010-09-07Davis Path->Isolation Tr->Dry River TrDry Rviver Campsite
Tecumseh4003   

 

Most Popular Searches

  • white mountains backpacking
  • backpacking white mountains
  • 1 night over night backpacking white mountains

,

9 Responses to The Backpacker’s 48 – A White Mountain Peakbagging List

  1. Guthook September 22, 2011 at 3:00 am #

    Hah. I like it. I'm closing in on my NH 48, so maybe I do need another list to keep me busy. I'd like to do the NE100 as well, but….

    So here are some more technicalities to take into consideration for this Backpacking 48 list: if you're a through-hiker and you do work-for-stay at the huts, do those 4000 Footers count? I did that, and stayed in town when I got to Crawford and Pinkham Notches, so maybe those don't count, even though I camped in lean-tos outside of the Whites. Or how about if you just work-for-stay at one of the huts, with camping nights on either side?

    On the New England Trail, my path through the Whites was a bit convoluted: Camped at Unknown Pond, then hit Cabot and Waumbek, camped near Waumbek then near Cherry Mountain, then climbed Hale, worked-for-stay at Zealand Hut, climbed Tom, Field and Willey, then stayed in Conway. Day-hiked Isolation, stayed in Conway again. Continued backpacking for some more peaks…. so maybe Isolation didn't count. How about Hale, Tom, Field and Willey?

    Bet you didn't think you'd have someone nitpicking technicalities this early in the morning :)

  2. Earlylite September 22, 2011 at 3:16 am #

    I did think about that but it opens it up to people who only sleep in the huts and day hike to the peaks from them. That's why I allowed 3 sided shelters and platforms where the intent was to camp outdoors.

    We can rewrite the rule to eliminate paid hut stays (since work-for-stay) is free, but I don't know if you get to stay for free in the self-service huts in winter. Do you know? If they're free that would make a rule amendment hard to write cleanly.

    Of course you could also just rehike those peaks. I know that sounds extra hard, but you'll probably do it anyway to get to the ones you missed previously.

  3. Guthook September 22, 2011 at 3:32 am #

    Yeah, I definitely will hit the ones I've already done. I've thought of a few other lists I could do, as well. Like 48 With A View (only counting ones I've done with clear views) or 48 In A Cloud (only counting those with no views at all).

    So many options. Sometimes I also think I should stop bothering with the lists and just hike. But then again, my natural inclination is to need a specific goal (hence through-hiking).

  4. Earlylite September 22, 2011 at 3:40 am #

    The Backpacker's 48 is really about hiking and not peakbagging anyway – I know that sounds like a contradiction. I really care more about hiking the trails and stringing together interesting routes than bagging peaks, exclusively. Plus, it becomes a vehicle for doing longer trips into remote areas of the whites, and for bagging lesser peaks that are not on lists. You have to be willing to camp out to get to the heart of the mahoosics, the pemigewasset wilderness, the wild river wilderness and the kilkenny.

    The lists help me focus, that's all. Plus working on multiple lists at once is very effective. In addition to the BP 48 and the Trailwrights, I am slowly doing the 52 with a view.

  5. Mazzachusetts September 22, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    My general strategy is to backpack in somewhere, set up camp, generally at a camp or tentsite, and drop off gear (if possible), and then hit peaks without the weight. I think this lets me multitask and gives me the best of both worlds when the route allows it. I'm only 7/48 so I have certain peaks reserved for Backpacking trips, others for novice winter hikes, and some for day hikes.

    I couldn't imagine doing all 48 without doing at least a third on backpacking trips…

    Maybe when my setup gets lighter I can be more aggressive.

  6. Earlylite September 22, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    I can appreciate that. I just like a different view every night.

  7. Tom Murphy September 22, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    It's on. Finally a good reason to hit those summits. Thanks!

  8. Victor September 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    I really appreciate your comments about the allure of backpacking vs. day hiking. Though I have done a lot of backpacking, I come from a more European model of hiking, and the Whites provide a superb outlet for that style. I love the cycle of early rising, strenuous physical challenge, and relaxed evenings with good food and lodging.

  9. John Whynot September 24, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    There's always the NH 48 Direttissima. Do all 48 peaks North to South (or South to North) on one backpacking trip…

Leave a Reply