Table of Contents
- The Adirondacks.
- The AMC Four Thousand Footer Club Lists.
- The Northeast 111 List
The following related topics are covered on other pages:
- The lists themselves, go straight there if that is what you are looking for!
- 4000 Footer Club FAQ for information about the Club and its rules.
- The Catskill 3500 Club
- Trailwrights List
- Less Well Known Lists
- Beyond the Northeast
- Numbers of Hikers Completing Each List
- Winter Record for NH 4,000 Footers
This site is primarily about bagging the four thousand footers in Northern New England (New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont). Nonetheless, since peakbagging in the Northeast began in the Adirondacks it seems appropriate to note that history. And since many hikers will eventually hike beyond New England, lists of peaks in other parts of the country have been briefly noted.
This site is mainly about the mountains themselves, not my personal perspectives on them. The Articles section has some more personal items, including a short essay on my perspective on peakbagging, with some notes on why some people stop after completing one list while others keep on collecting lists.
Peakbagging in the Northeast began in the Adirondacks, with Robert and George Marshall and their guide, Herbert Clark. The brothers started climbing in 1916, when Robert was 16 and George 13 years old. At some stage they decided to climb all the peaks above 4,000 feet, and came up with a list of 46 peaks. Only about half of the peaks had trails, and some had probably never been climbed before. They finished their quest in 1925. Gradually other Adirondack hikers started on that quest, and an Adirondack Forty-Sixers Club, (separate from the Adirondack Mountain Club) came into existence.
The criterion used by the Marshall brothers and Herb Clark was that each peak be at least 0.75 miles distant from the nearest higher summit, or that it rise at least 300 vertical feet on all sides. More recent surveys have shown that several of these peaks do not reach 4,000 feet, but the original list is still the one used by the Adirondack 46rs.
In 1957 the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) established a Four Thousand Footers Committee (FTFC) that drew up a list of the 4,000 footer peaks in the White Mountains (NH). The criterion used by the AMC FTFC to define a "peak" is that it must rise 200 feet above the low point of its connecting ridge with a higher neighbor. There are many "peaks" which reach 4,000 feet but do not qualify because of this criterion, they include Clay, Little Haystack, Guyot amongst others.
The FTFC now recognizes three official lists of peaks: the White Mountain 4,000 Footers, the New England 4,000 Footers and the New England Hundred Highest Peaks. The lists are periodically revised to reflect the information on the most current maps. Note that all the peaks on the two "New England" lists are in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, none of the southern New England peaks qualifies for those lists. Massachusetts has two 3000 footers, Connecticut and Rhode Island have none.
In addition, Winter awards are given to those who climb all peaks of a list during calendar winter. Obviously far fewer people complete the lists in winter than in the other seasons. Look at the numbers of hikers completing each list to see!
The awards are given out at a meeting usually held in mid-April. In recent years it has been held at the Cooperative Middle School in Stratham, NH (near Exeter).
A letter to the Committee with a self addressed stamped envelope will (maybe after some delay) bring the official list of peaks and the rules. Normally only the list of White Mountain peaks is sent, if you wish to receive the list of NE 4000 footers, and/or the list of NE 100 Highest peaks, please ask for them explicitly.
The address of the 4,000 footer committee is:
AMC Four Thousand Footer Committee,
PO Box 444,
Exeter NH 03833-0444.
There are maintained trails to the summits of all the New England 4,000 footers. On the other hand many of the peaks on the Hundred Highest list do not have trails, and require skill in the use of map and compass. A photocopied pamphlet describing routes to the trailless peaks on the NE Hundred Highest list is available from the Committee for $3. A set of black-and-white USGS maps covering these peaks (printed out from Maptech CDs) is an additional $2.
Members of the FTFC have compiled lists of peaks (using the FTFC definition) above 3,000 feet in each of the New England states, though these lists are not officially maintained by the Committee. A list of the Hundred Highest peaks in NH is also maintained. Many of these peaks have no trails, and many are in remote areas.
Gene Daniell (Secretary of the FTFC) wrote:
As to NE 3000 lists (etc.) they are not officially recognized and it is the policy of the 4000 Footer Committee to urge folks who have such lists to distribute them sparingly. At least half of the NE 3000 Footers are trailless and seldom-visited, and we do not wish to make climbing them the next fad. Unless you are the sort of person who gets off on crashing through impenetrable scrub to get to a viewless summit just because you like to go to places off the beaten path, please leave this activity to those possessed by that peculiar sort of insanity.
Therefore I am not posting any such lists on this site.
The guidebooks describe the various trails, they do not (in most cases) help you choose the most suitable trail to get to a summit. I have put together some notes on routes to the NH peaks, in which I discuss the various options for getting to each of the NH Fours during the normal hiking season (Memorial Day to Columbus Day).
The Northeast 111 list consists of all the 4,000 footers in the Northeast. It includes the Adirondack 46rs list (46 peaks), the New England 4,000 Footers (initially 63, now 67 peaks) and the two 4,000 footers in the Catskills (Slide, 4,180' and Hunter, 4,040'). The initial total was 111 peaks, and the Club has kept that name, though the total is now 115 peaks.
The address of the 111er committee is:
P.O. Box 385
Littleton, NH 03561
or you can email the commitee.