Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top 10 Moments of 2013

That's a wrap! 2013 was another unforgettable year for me and the blog. When I look back on a year's worth of adventure, its hard to believe that its possible to do it all in a year.  I went on 51 total outings this year, climbed 190 total mountains, 227,823 feet of elevation gain, and hiked 700 miles. And just like the last few years, I've selected my top ten moments of the year, and have put them in order of some sort of significance to me.

But first, here are a few more facts from 2013:
  • 48 White Mountain 4000-footers in a single winter season ('12-'13).
  • Finished the 67 New England 4000 footers on North Brother (June).
  • Reached the summit of a Northeast 4000-footer 141 times this year, 121 times a White Mountain 4000-footer, and my first 8 Adirondack 4000-footers.
  • Mt. Washington five times, including twice in the winter.
  • 2 Presidential Traverses, Great Range Traverse in the Adirondacks, and 2 Pemi Loops
  • Climbed 33 of the White Mountain 4000 footers twice in 2013.  Visited the Bonds, Flume, Liberty, Lincoln, and South Twin five times, and six times to my favorite, Lafayette.  A year of the Pemi, I guess :) 
(Click on the linked title to open that trip report in a new window.
A photo album is posted with each trip report.)

Honorable Mention:
Moonlight Franconia Ridge Traverse April 14, 2013
As I go along in my peak-bagging journey, I like to plan unique hikes and moments.  I had done a Moonlight Presidential Traverse before, so last year, I finally got around to doing a Moonlight Franconia Ridge Traverse.  While it doesn't crack my top ten moments, it gets my honorable mention!
Lincoln Summit in the Moonlight

10. Galehead, Twins, Zealand & Hale on Jan 26, 2013
This hike makes the list because of the distance, the frigid temperature, and because it was one of my favorite solo winter hikes.  Temperatures on this day never exceeded 5 degrees.  There wasn't much wind and it was a beautiful sunny morning.  I saw no one else for nearly 30 miles over 5 summits.  My skin didn't see much either.  On this hike, keeping my water bottle directly next to my body was the only way I could drink it.  Looking back on this trip report, I labeled being prepared as the key to it being so enjoyable.

Garfield Ridge Trail
Galehead summit, one of my favorite times here HA!
A chilly look back at Garfield and Franconia Ridge
A unique afternoon cloud formation over Hale
9. Finishing my 3rd Round of the White Mountain 48 on Jackson - 2/24/13
I was getting close to the end of my winter season last February, and since I didn't get a winter Presidential Traverse in, I needed Jackson and Pierce.  I hiked both peaks separately that day because I was cautious about the weather in this area.  On Jackson, I had completed my 3rd round of the 4000-footers.  Another round completion deserves to be in my top ten.
Mt. Jackson, 3rd Round Finish
A Gray Jay greeted to congratulate!

8. Washington, Monroe, & Eisenhower on March 9, 2013
This day might forever be remembered as one the best winter Presi Day's ever, especially in my book.  I remember running into quite a few other hikers that I knew.  Although I only needed Monroe and Eisenhower for my single-season, I added Washington too.  The snow was so beautiful and amazing, and the sky was so blue and crisp.  The expansive view might be the best I ever had on Mt. Washington.  Despite the amazing day, it was still a tough 14.5 mile hike.
Stop the area ahead has the........... most beautiful weather!!
My favorite view on the Presidentials, looking west along Southern Presi's
3rd winter summit of Washington in 2013, and 12th time overall
100+ mile views (however I've never seen the ocean from the summit)
Looking back from Mt. Eisenhower, #45 on my season

7. Great Range Traverse - July 6, 2013
In July, I took on the Great Range Traverse in the Adirondacks of New York, a 26 mile hike covering 8 of the 46 4000-footers in New York, including the highest, Mt. Marcy.  The Adirondacks were a great change from the typical trails of the White Mountains.  The trails were steep, wet, and muddy just to state a few of the adjectives.  On top of that it was a LONG day, especially at the end, hiking 7 miles out from Mt. Marcy to the Garden Trail head.  Reaching Mt. Marcy (another state high point) and experiencing a new wilderness with lots more to explore are the reasons the Great Range Traverse makes my top ten.
Armstrong Summit, Great Range 
High Peaks Wilderness 
Haystack summit with Mt. Marcy in the background 
View from Mt. Marcy
6. Whitewater Rafting Canada Falls on the Penobscot River (with Penobscot Adventures)
For the second year in a row, I was invited to join in for an Annual rafting trip in July with some friends at Penobscot Adventures.  Last year, we did the West Branch of the Penobscot River, so this year, we upped the ante and went for the most challenging Canada Falls trip.  Our first run down this technical stretch of the Penobscot was one I'll never forget.  We didn't hit the rapid like we wanted to, and the rest was history.  I was tossed out, along with most of the others in my boat, and I went for the roughest ride anyone can imagine down some class V Maine whitewater.  We did it smoothly the second run so check out the videos! The first video is my camera, and the second video is another perspective.

5. Climbing Huntington Ravine's South Gully in Winter - February 16, 2013
Because of the weather, I still needed to hike Mt. Washington, so I was fortunate enough to have friends Mike and Nicole join me for a climb of Huntington Ravine's South Gully.  This was also a tough, long day, and my brother missed out because of developing blisters on his feet.  It was still an incredible hike with a snowy climb and great views at the top.  It was part of my single season too, so it's up there 2013, but it makes the middle of the pack at #5.
Nicole enters South Gully in Huntington Ravine
Me nearing the top of South Gully
After an awesome climb, enjoying the view as we push for the summit
Friends Mike & Nicole approaching the summit after climbing Huntington Ravine on Mt. Washington
My 11th summit of Mt. Washington, 3rd direct winter ascent
Sharing success on a great climb, a tough day, but happy one

4. Slide Peak for Sunrise and Mt. Isolation - September 29, 2013
As you can probably drum up, I like to be on a mountaintop for sunrise.  Our hike (the hard way) to Isolation on this fall day, with a planned stop at Slide Peak for sunrise, was one the best sunrises ever! Slide Peak was my 59th of 72 Trailwright peaks, and a nice one it was! As we waited for sunrise, we heated up some hot chocolate and watched the colors change all around us as the sun rose.  The sunrise alone makes it to number 4, but we went all the way to Isolation and back, so there are more photos to be seen in the trip report!

3. Finishing the New England 4000-Footers on North Brother - June 22, 2013
Finishing the New England 4000-Footers on North Brother could just as well be a second #2.  I'm happy to place it here near the top for a lot of reasons.  All of the Maine hikes were tough, there were Baxter adventures, there was a VT weekend adventure, and so many awesome trips in different seasons that came together before we set out for our final peak.  Miles into the wilderness, one of the toughest New England 4000-footers to reach in any season, North Brother was a great selection for me to finish. Not only that, I got to complete it with my brother on North Brother.  Although we have slightly different completion lists, me and Bill have hiked every New England 4000-footer together at least once! Just from this year alone, we'll have stories for a lifetime.
North Brother summit

Me and Bill finish the New England 4000 Footers
Bill takes in the moment...
Leaving North Brother summit (not that we wanted to),
with South Brother and Coe ahead, Doubletop too!
2013's Supermoon over O-J-I from Nesowadnehunk Campground
Enjoying our NE67 finish by a nice fire, under a supermoon...in the middle of nowhere
2. Cross Pemi Bushwhack - Columbus Day Weekend
The Cross Pemi Bushwhack comes in at number two for the year.  Again with my brother, we hiked over Mt. Lincoln, Lafayette, Owl's Head, Bondcliff, Bond, West Bond, and the Twins on an epic adventure featuring some awesome bushwhacking!  We descended Lincoln Slide, Camped near Owl's Head, bushwhacked from Owl's Head summit directly to Bondcliff, camped on the ridge, and hiked out the following day.  We had this planned out for a while, and finally we had a chance to take it on.  Spending two nights and three days in the Pemigewasset Wilderness and traveling some new territory was an amazing and intense experience.  If you have an hour, and want to see this hike, then watch the video of the hike from start to finish, including difficult bushwhacking on Bondcliff.  Moments like standing on Lafayette with undercast, standing in the middle of Lincoln Slide, bushwhacking down the back of Owlie, and climbing through trees, seeing the view, and nearly falling off a cliff are all reasons why I'll never forget this hike.
Bill on Mt. Lincoln
Lafayette Summit with undercast (marker bottom middle)
Bottom of Lincoln Slide, with Owl's Head in the distance

Bushwhacking down the backside of Owl's Head
Hanging onto trees, climbing out of the clouds to Bondcliff
Sitting on some scrub at sunset, with undercast, looking at
Franconia Ridge, Garfield and West Bond above them
The next morning we awoke to this view.
Who knows I've I'd ever see it like this a second time
Our Lincoln Slide descent, Owl's Head traverse, Bondcliff bushwhack, and entire route in view behind us

1. Bonds Sunrise Finish of the 48 in a Single Winter Season & First Time Winter 48 Finish
My number one moment in 2013 goes to my sunrise Winter 48 and Single Season Finish on the Bonds. As soon as my Pemi Loop plan didn't pan out, I set my sights on a sunrise West Bond finish.  Something about a hard-to-reach peak, especially in winter, and sure...at sunrise too!  Above, you read that #8 was a hike to the southern Presidentials on March 9 on a perfect day for #44 and 45.  After that hike, I drove directly to Lincoln Woods to rest for a little while, and just a few hours later I was on my way to the Bonds for sunrise.  Experiencing the ridge at sunrise like this, with all the peacefulness in the world afforded so I could look out the peaks and think back on the experiences I had hiking them that winter. The videos below are the one I made from the hike, and the video I made as a montage for my entire single season, which is a must watch if you're getting into winter hiking on the 4000 footers!
Arriving at Bondcliff at sunrise
Looking over the Pemi from Bondcliff on a beautiful winter morning...
The sunrise around me was spectacular...
Crossing the ridge toward Bond
My 48th Winter 4000-footer, and finish of a 48-in-1 winter season
A beautiful morning on the Bonds (from West Bond)

To all who read, share, comment, follow, like, and converse with me on DMOutdoors, thanks for a great year, everyone.  Thank you for your shared enjoyment of the great outdoors.  I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and safe and Happy New Year... and lastly, lots of success in your 2014 outdoor adventures!




  1. Great post and pics Dan. You really had a great year. Merry Christmas to you also. Maybe I'll see you out in the ADK's in 2014.

    1. Hi Mike, Thank you very much! Happy New Year to you as well. I'm definitely looking forward to getting a few more this summer, so perhaps. Good luck to you in 2014!

  2. Nice - you had a fantastic year! Thanks for sharing your great photos and memories.

    1. Hi Summerset, Thank you for following my adventures. I enjoy checking up on you and your family's too. Good luck on those winter 4K's! Best wishes to you for 2014!