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  1. #1
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Default White Mountains Challenge

    Anyone on whiteblaze have any thoughts on this? Sounds like a fun challenge.

    https://sectionhiker.com/the-white-m...-4000-footers/
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; AT from Lehigh Gap to Hudson River; NH 16/48
    "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." - Isaac Asimov

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    Good Luck, but I think someone actually did do that.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    A couple of guys did it last year, I think they finished but maybe only one finished. Search for Soaring High, I can't remember if it was a blog or FaceBook.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Good Luck, but I think someone actually did do that.
    Oh if i did it wouldn't be so I could be the first - just sounds like an enjoyable way to explore the white mountains and complete the NH 48. Just throwing it out there to get the thoughts of whiteblaze. How challenging do you think it would be to do? Harder than the Long Trail? Things one should consider if they were going to attempt it? I'm a little surprised the grid is done so often compared to something like this.
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; AT from Lehigh Gap to Hudson River; NH 16/48
    "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." - Isaac Asimov

  5. #5

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    This is just a slightly easier version of the Directisima. Matts successfully did it north to south but not south to north. A few other folks have completed it and many including Mats have had to drop out. As the Directisima has to be done in one continuous hike folks schedule it in early summer to take advantage of long days. A hot stretch can really screw up the effort.

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    Even though it's apparently possible to do this crazy route, it's insanely difficult, making it a real challenge.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    This is just a slightly easier version of the Directisima. Matts successfully did it north to south but not south to north. A few other folks have completed it and many including Mats have had to drop out. As the Directisima has to be done in one continuous hike folks schedule it in early summer to take advantage of long days. A hot stretch can really screw up the effort.
    Interesting. If I understand correctly, in Mats' hike he carried all his food from the start, i.e. no resupply, making it harder than this White Mountains Challenge, which allows you to resupply (as long as you walk to your resupply point and receive no outside assistance).

    BUT in this White Mountains Challenge the author describes the Direttissima as easier:

    "What is the difference between the White Mountain Challenge and a Diretissima?You can make use of motorized, wheeled, or tracked vehicles during a Diretissima but not during a White Mountain Challenge. This was the case when Henry Folsom completed a Diretissima in 1970 over the 46 White Mountain Four Thousand Footers (there were two fewer peaks on the list then) where he climbed all of the peaks and walked the distances between them, but drove home each night to sleep in his own bed (Henry T. Folsom, The Four Thousand Footers, “Diretissima”, Appalachia, 38:#4, p.65, 1971.)
    Technically speaking the White Mountain Challenge is not a Diretiss[i]ma, which means “shortest route” in Italian. No one can pronounce it or spell it correctly either, so I created the name the “White Mountain Challenge” which is easier to understand and convey to others."

    So now I'm a little confused. I'm guessing that you mean the way Mats did it is the toughest (and called a Directisima?), then comes the White Mountains Challenge since its slightly easier because it allows resupply, and both of those versions are harder then a plain diretissima which allows you to drive home or to a hotel each night as long as you return to the same spot the next morning. Am I correct? Or am I not properly understanding what the author I quoted above is saying?
    Assuming I understand the "options" correctly, I would probably find the version that allows a couple of resupplies as more appealing to me personally. I know you can mail yourself a package to the AMC Highland Center at Crawford Notch. Any other possible helpful resupply points for someone attempting this?

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    You could send a package to Pinkham (do they accept packages?), Mt Washington and Highland center. I guess you could walk into Lincoln wouldn't be too bad. You'd be spending a lot of time in the Pemi doing all those peaks.

    Another issue is finding suitable places to camp, with all the restrictions, unfavorable terrain and dense vegetation. Getting Waumbek and Cabot into the mix would be a real PITA. Those are on the Coos Trail spur. Isolation would probably be best done as a out and back from Boot Spur on Washington, rather then doing a loop through the dry river wilderness. Getting to Owls head in the Pemmi would also be a pain. My knees hurt just thinking about this hike.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  9. #9

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    Mats and others did it all in one continuous multi day shot and called it a Directissima. I do not believe the FKT website existed but Mats stated up front his goals on this attempt
    http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthrea...highlight=mats
    and proceeded to do it. He and others repeated the event under the same stated goals. Maybe we should try to delineate is as the "Mats White Mountain variation of the Directissima"?. It does not roll off the tongue. Note that the Mats variation along with Phil's allows off trail hiking, using the Lincoln Slide route to pick up Owls Head. I expect a variation would be to only use "official hiking trails" which would add in extra miles most likely an out and back via the north end of Lincoln Brook trail from the ridgeline between Galehead and Garfield.

    If you google directissima, you will find that its a climbers term not specific to the white mountain version. Thus it looks like different folks have adopted the same term for different variations. I think a good parallel is the definition of a "thru hiker" has plenty of different variations. Unless Phil attempts to copyright his variation its just that a variation that some may or may not adopt. I have seen the term "white mountains challenge" used multiple times for many goals some hiking, many others not hiking related.

    I do have quibble about the resupply limitations. There is a perfectly legal way of stashing food along the route. No rules against leaving food in the trunk of a car. Thus someone could have a car or cars parked at road crossings with food in the trunk. I consider Mats approach as more clear. Of course someone could require LNT to the extreme and require all bodily wastes both liquids and solids be carried out . The no resupply policy used by Mats and others really amps up the challenge as it means some monster pack weights up front.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 08-09-2018 at 06:46.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Mats and others did it all in one continuous multi day shot and called it a Directissima. I do not believe the FKT website existed but Mats stated up front his goals on this attempt
    http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthrea...highlight=mats
    and proceeded to do it. He and others repeated the event under the same stated goals. Maybe we should try to delineate is as the "Mats White Mountain variation of the Directissima"?. It does not roll off the tongue. Note that the Mats variation along with Phil's allows off trail hiking, using the Lincoln Slide route to pick up Owls Head. I expect a variation would be to only use "official hiking trails" which would add in extra miles most likely an out and back via the north end of Lincoln Brook trail from the ridgeline between Galehead and Garfield.
    If you google directissima, you will find that its a climbers term not specific to the white mountain version. Thus it looks like different folks have adopted the same term for different variations. I think a good parallel is a "thru hiker" plenty of different variations. Unless Phil attempts to copyright his variation its just that a variation that some may or may not adopt. I have seen the term "white mountains challenge" used multiple times.
    I do have quibble about the resupply limitations. There is perfectly legal way of stashing food along the route. No rules against leaving food in the trunk of car. Thus someone could legally have a car parked at road crossings with food in the trunk.
    Ahhh I think I understand now! You and Slo-go'en are awesome for chiming in - thank you both.
    I also really like the idea of parking my car with a bear canister of resupply in the trunk where I want a resupply but nothing easy is otherwise available.

  11. #11
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    I have some paper AMC maps that are a few years old that don't show the Cohos trail but I was thinking after coming down Jefferson on the Castle trail, I could take the presidential range rail trail from Bowman and then road walk up Meadow Road Lane for 3 miles to the Starr King trailhead. That would avoid a 7 mile plus unpleasant road walk on Route 2 that Mats described himself doing to get to Waumbek and Cabot. That sound doable?

    Also what do people think about the National Geographic waterproof White Mountains maps? My paper AMC maps are starting to fall apart from folding and unfolding them and I haven't even used them that much! Any other tips for finding the best trail map(s) of the White Mountains?

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    Yea, taking the rail trail over to Jefferson would work. It goes as far as Cherry Pond and the Cohos trail crosses there. I'm not sure I'd want to drop down off of Mt Jefferson to get there though. You have to back track once you get to Mt Cabot and then climb back up Jefferson, since there's no other closer way to get back on the Presidential ridge. I'd go down Lowes path from Mt Adams, then back up Israel ridge trail to have a place to camp at the RMC Perch tent site up near Edmands Col. That sets you up to have a reasonable distance to hike over to Newman tent site or Crawford Notch.

    For an overview map of the Whites, I like "Exploring New Hampshire's White Mountains" published by the Wilderness Company. ISBN-10 0-9785932-4-3 It's ananoted with mileage, typical hiking times, points of interest, campsites and shelters, etc.

    You might also want to get a copy of the Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer for New Hampshire as it will show a lot of the forest service roads.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  13. #13

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    AMC has an overall WMNF map in some sort of waterproof plastic. It has all the 4ks and the most up to date trails. If you plan on bushwhacking the scale is kind of tight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Yea, taking the rail trail over to Jefferson would work. It goes as far as Cherry Pond and the Cohos trail crosses there. I'm not sure I'd want to drop down off of Mt Jefferson to get there though. You have to back track once you get to Mt Cabot and then climb back up Jefferson . . .
    I think I would either end or start at Mt. Cabot so that would solve the back track issue!

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    Ok so peakbagger says this map I think: https://amcstore.outdoors.org/books-...nal-forest-map

    Slo-go'en says this map I think: https://www.bondcliffbooks.com/prodd...=0-9785932-4-3

    Which one to try . . . maybe I should order both if my wife will let me. : )

    But if anyone has any strong feelings on which map of the White Mountains is better let me know! I like that they are both made out of the waterproof tear-resistant material.

    I don't think I would be using the maps for bushwhacking but I do like studying the topo lines as they often give me ideas on where camping might be possible when legal to do so.

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    Figuring out a good, efficent route is a serious traveling salesman problem. Red liners have a simialr problem. I wonder if anyone has an app for that I would not even consider bushwacking. You don't know what you'll run into and there's probably a reason a trail doesn't go that way which isn't obvious from a map.

    The area maps give you an overview to help visulize how everything lines up and how they are connected by trails.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  17. #17

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    I have the AMC version and havent used the other map. Even though AMC is controversial they do a lot of work on the trails and trail network. The other map is strictly a way for someone to make a buck so I would tend to buy the AMC version but its your call. I actually use an older mapping program called Terrain Navigator to plan my hikes. Its clunky and is USGS topo based so the trails are not up to date but it generates profiles of my selected routes. It covers all of New England. If I remember folks were talking the traveling salesman approach to the Directissima and they came to conclusion that the original route used was pretty spot on.

    No doubt, start or end at Cabot. Its a long haul over Kilkenny Ridge trail to Waumbek and then across the valley to Jefferson. I know some folks advocate the CT but the shortest distance is via RT2 to the Castle trail. More than a few folks have gotten "cooked" in hot weather doing RT 2 as its long stretch on pavement in hot weather with heavy packs.

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    Well peakbagger you've convinced me because Slo-go'en hasn't chimed in again why he thinks the Wilderness Co. map is better. : )

    Yeah Slo-go'en I agree about having a strong preference to stay on trail. Mats may have bushwhacked a little but I wouldn't try to do this challenge in 11 days like he did!

    However I think Mats' order was pretty spot on, I've made only one tweak on Franconia ridge to avoid a bushwhack he did, so with that one change here's the order :
    Moosilauke
    Kinsmans (2)
    Cannon
    Lafayette
    Lincoln
    Liberty
    Flume
    Owl's Head
    Garfield
    Galehead
    South Twin
    North Twin
    Hale
    (possible resupply at/near campgrounds north of Hale?)
    Zealand
    Bonds (3)
    Hancocks (2)
    (cross the Kanc)
    Osceolas (2)
    Tecumseh
    Tripyramids (2)
    Whiteface
    Passaconaway
    (cross the Kanc again)
    Carrigan
    Wiley
    Field
    Tom
    (resupply at AMC Highland Center)
    Jackson
    Pierce
    Eisenhower
    Monroe
    Washington
    Isolation
    (resupply at AMC Pinkam Notch)
    Wildcats (2)
    Carters (3)
    Moriah
    (visit Gorham)
    Madison
    Adams
    Jefferson
    (take presidential range rail trail, Meadows road to Jefferson as discussed above)
    Waumbeck
    Cabot

    Easy peasy right??? Any other thoughts? What's your Terrain Navigator say about that! : )

    Oh and by "resupply" I mean doing a mail drop or otherwise making arrangements with a property owner to leave my resupply with them.

  19. #19

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    It going to be busy week so firing up terrain navigator will have to wait. You can hike via trail from Madison to Gorham, via a combination of Pine Howker Ridge, Pine Link and the lesser used Pine Mountain trail. The Pine Mountain trailhead is PITA to find in Gorham as it ends in Gravel pit at the end of gated gravel road. The Forest Service campgrounds on Zealand road have no services, There are stores in Twin Mtn down the road and then west on RT 302.

  20. #20
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    It going to be busy week so firing up terrain navigator will have to wait. You can hike via trail from Madison to Gorham, via a combination of Pine Howker Ridge, Pine Link and the lesser used Pine Mountain trail. The Pine Mountain trailhead is PITA to find in Gorham as it ends in Gravel pit at the end of gated gravel road. The Forest Service campgrounds on Zealand road have no services, There are stores in Twin Mtn down the road and then west on RT 302.
    Great tips about finding the Pine Mountain trailhead and the Twin Mountain resupply idea, thank you. Perhaps the way to do this then is after hiking over North Twin mountain, hike north to the town of North Twin, NH, resupply in town, and then it looks like about a 2-3 mile road walk to the campgrounds and then hike to Hale mountain from there, continue to Zealand and then to Bonds etc.

    Good luck with your busy week! I am curious what the approximate total mileage would be for a trip like this but of course please don't go to any trouble on my account. Thank you again for all your help!

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