Pondering the idea of planning and completing a single winter season of the 48 4000-footers and New England 4000-Footers were probably the two most exciting things I've ever done. Indeed the hardest for sure, because they took months of planning, and weeks after week(ends) of execution (two years in a row). In my younger days, I had incredible experiences playing youth and high school hockey and winning championships, but now, taking on my own challenges in the mountains has replaced those feelings of competitiveness and pursuit of challenging goals. Winter peak-bagging does the trick. Pursuing peak lists one after the other, and many all at once allows for a special kind of drive and motivation fed on by the magic of the mountains. A single-winter season of the 4000-footers will leave you with an amazing feeling of accomplishment.
|Looking back at Mt. Lincoln while ascending Mt. Lafayette at sunset|
December 26, 2011
|Heavy trail breaking may be required any day. Always be prepared.|
Mt. Osceola Trail, December, 2012
With all of the things I've explained above in mind, here is how I set up my excel sheet to prepare and plan an entire winter of hiking.
1. Set up an excel spreadsheet with the following columns:
|Date||Peaks||Hike Distance (mi.)||Elevation Gain (ft.)||Book Time||Trails||# of 4000 Footers|
2. Under the date column, enter all of the individual days you have available between the exact time of the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox to hike. I preferred to write out the day, as well, that way you can see the weekends, and/or you may have specific week-days available to hike. The start of your sheet may look like this....
|Saturday, December 22, 2012|
|Thursday, December 27, 2012|
|Saturday, January 5, 2013|
|Sunday, January 6, 2013|
3. If you already have your hike stats saved out in excel from any previous hikes, your planning is much easier. Now you just have to insert the 4Ks of the hike, hike distance, elevation gain, possible book time, trails used, and # of 4,000-footers, within the dates, which you think you can take on those hikes. For me, it was copying and pasting my stats into this new sheet for the winter planning. Enter all of the information below for the peaks/hikes until you have a full plan for the 48 peaks. The best thing to do, is plan enough extra days at the end of the winter season as make up days for changes you may need to make along the way.
|Date||Peaks||Distance (mi.)||Elevation Gain (ft.)||Book Time (hr:mm)||Trails||# of 4000 Footers|
|Saturday, December 22, 2012||North Tripyramid|
|16.7||5250||Downes Brook Trail|
Downes Brook Slide Trail
Dicey's Mill Trail
Kate Sleeper Trail
Mt. Tripyramid Trail
Pine Bend Brook Trail
|Thursday, December 27, 2012||Mt. Osceola|
Mt. Osceola, East
|7.6||3100||Greeley Ponds Trail|
Mt. Osceola Trail
|Saturday, January 5, 2013||Cannon|
Mt. Kinsman, South
|13||4700||Kinsman Ridge Trail|
Fishin' Jimmy Trail
|Sunday, January 6, 2013||Tom|
Mt. Tom Spur
Willey Range Trail
4. So now, I have all of the hike information I need to complete the 48 in a single winter in a trusty excel worksheet, and its organized into a feasible plan that I think I'm capable of physically. Don't forget to take into consideration your driving distance and times, and your car spots. This was especially a major consideration for undertaking the NE67 in a single winter, where I drove 98 hours and over 5000 miles across snowy New England. Past experience played a lot into the planning of the hikes. Take the time to switch around the peaks and dates according to your past experience, book times, and upcoming forecasts before the winter starts, and be able to be flexible all throughout the winter. Take these examples: I completed a Wildcats to Moriah traverse twice already (once each way) before I did it in winter; I had done a Moosilauke and Tecumseh double hit and run already, and also, did Cabot and Waumbek separately in a single day once before attempting to do them the same way in winter.
|Always pack a shovel and 4x4, in case you need to|
shovel out parking lots like Appalachia after a blizzard.
With that, here are some final planning tips and things to think about before considering this challenge:
- Always plan for the possibility that you will have to shovel out your parking spot at the trail head, plan the extra time or just be ready for the challenge. Pack a shovel, blanket and extra warm clothes.
- Especially for the NE67in1, car camping was necessary. Consider packing the sleeping bag, stove, and extra snacks and a fresh 2nd set of hiking clothes for your 2nd hike that weekend.
- You might have to drive through blizzards and hazardous road conditions, so make sure you have a capable vehicle prepared for set-backs, such as flat tires, cracked windshields, or accidental snow bank collisions, and getting into and out of un-plowed trail heads.
- You might arrive to the trail head to find that you'll be breaking trail all the way to the summit.
- Certainly, you should check TrailsNH.com and other online sources for assistance with at least knowing what you might expect for trail conditions. Read prior year trip reports for additional useful information.
- There will be many early starts and finishes in the dark. It's ok, there's nothing to worry about in the woods, because most likely you will have been there once before you consider this challenge, and you can't be afraid of the dark to take this on. Always bring 3 sources of light (2 headlamps and a flashlight w/ extra batteries for 1 headlamp and the reg. light).
- Always let family and friends know your exact plans, and be able to contact them regularly, if needed.
- Have fun, and embrace the challenges, should you consider it. Even after doing half the 48 in winter before, it was still the toughest thing I'd ever done, but I was ready for those challenges.
To see my final spreadsheet for my 2012-2013 W48-in-1 season, CLICK HERE.
To see my final spreadsheet for my 2013-2014 W67-in-1 season, CLICK HERE.
My Journal of hiking the New England 4000-Footers Solo in a Single Winter Season (2013-2014)
Here is a video of my experience hiking the single season of the 48 4,000 footers.
Remember that the mountain will always be there. While this is a personal challenge with obvious risks to consider, always make good decisions for your own safety. Good Luck, Stay Safe, and Have fun! Make every hike one to remember!
|Mt. Washington, February 2012|