Judging from postings on the hiking bulletin boards, the Trailwrights list of 72 peaks is beginning to attract larger numbers of peakbaggers.
The traditional lists have no restrictions on how many peaks may be done on a single trip. The Trailwrights (a trail maintaining organization) have a different set of rules for the NH 4,000 footers: only one peak may be claimed on one hike. In addition, they recognize a peak if the col between it and its higher neighbors is over 100 feet, which leads to a much longer list, with 72 peaks. Their final requirement is that you do 72 hours of trail work.
My general rule of thumb for bagging peaks the traditional way is that you can average one and a half peaks a day, as some of the peaks are clearly isolated (Mount Moosilauke for example) while others equally clearly come in pairs (the Kinsmans are an example). So the 48 peaks on the 4000 Footer Club list can be done in 30 to 35 days of hiking. Doing the Trailwrights list essentially doubles the time commitment.
For example, peakbaggers doing the standard 4000 Footer Committee list usually do the three Carters (Carter Dome, Middle and South Carter) on that list in one or two trips. Doing it the Trailwrights way requires six trips; one for each of the three standard peaks, plus one for each of the added peaks (Mounts Hight, Lethe and North Carter). This is not for those who want to see how fast the can finish a list; it is for those who want to savor the mountains!
The Extra Peaks
I will say a few words about each of the extra peaks, enough to give the person contemplating the list a good idea of what is involved. There are five real bushwhacks on the list: Mount Blue, Southwest Twin, Northwest Hancock, and West and Middle Osceola. Mount Lethe, North Isolation and Mount Jim are slightly off the trail in the woods, and while there are no trails to the minor Adams peaks they are close to the trail and above treeline.
Note that the Trailwrights list is not updated when new maps are published, so they still list the "E" peak of the Mount Wildcat rather than the slightly higher "D" peak. However, for some reason, Middle Hancock was dropped as of January 1st 2004 and replaced with Northwest Hancock.
The Trailwrights list had three additional peaks on the Mount Moosilauke massif:
- The South Peak is reached by a short trail from the junction of the Glencliff Trail and the Carriage Road. It is a bare summit, and has excellent views, different enough from those on the main summit to make a very worthwhile destination, even for those not doing the list.
- Mount Jim is a small gentle bump on the Asquam Ridge Trail. The "summit" itself is a few feet north of the trail, there is a very clear herd path from the highest point of the trail. It is completely in the trees, but is on the often done Gorge Brook-Asquam Ridge loop.
- Mount Blue is a short but often nasty bushwhack of about .2 miles from the Beaver Brook Trail. Eminently forgettable, a peak that only a peakbagger would visit.
Most peakbaggers get the four peaks on Franconia Ridge in two trips; one over the Flume and Mount Liberty, the other over Little Haystack and Mounts Lincoln and Lafayette. Not only do those following the Trailwrights rules have to do them on separate trips, but there are two additional peaks, leading to six trips to the ridge.
- Though Little Haystack does not count for the 4000 footer Committee it does for the Trailwrights. I like to treat it as a worthy destination by and of itself, rather than as a mere rest stop on the classic loop.
- North Lincoln is a bulge along the ridge between Mounts Lincoln and Lafayette. I see it as little more than an excuse to go up to the ridge one more time.
The list adds two more subpeaks of Mount Osceola and the third of the Tripyramids:
- West Osceola, which is usually reached by a bushwhack from the hight of land on the East Pond Trail.
- Middle Osceola, usually reached by a bushwhack from the Mount Osceola Trail a bit before the summit.
- South Tripyramid, the lowest of the three. It is often done as part of the classic loop up the North Slide and down the South Slide (the North Slide may be avoided by those who are uncomfortable in exposed areas by going up the Scaur Ridge and Pine Bend Brook trails).
There is a small bump between North and South Hancock, named appropriately enough Middle Hancock, that used to be on the list. It has been replaced by Northwest Hancock, a peak that was formerly on the New England 100 Highest list. The usual approach at that time was by the Cedar Brook Trail, leaving that trail up a strem known informally as Slide Brook. That stream leads to a slide that reaches the ridge a little south of the col between North and Northwest Hancock, you therefore have to go down to the col before ascending.
The Twins-Bonds Ridge
- Mount Guyot, which does not count for the 4000 Footer Club, is on the Trailwrights list. Many people do the entire ridge in a single day, for the Trailwrights you must visit it six time. Since it is my favorite area in the White Mountains I, for one, do not complain.
- An addition peak is Southwest Twin, on the ridge south of the Twin Brook Trail. It may be approached by bushwhacking either from that trail or from the Franconia Brook Trail.
The Wildcats and Carters
This is an area where the Trailwrights require many more trips than the standard peakbagger will do. In addition to the "one peak per trip" rule we have three extra peaks along the Carter-Moriah Trail, plus one extra one on the Wildcat Ridge. No fewer than nine trips are needed to complete these two ranges, the average peakbagger does them in three trips.
- The Trailwrights list does not get revised when newer maps are published, so it still recognizes Wildcat E, rather than Wildcat D, as the second highest peak of that range. The two peaks are quite close together, and in any case those doing a traverse will get both.
- In addition the list recognizes Wildcat C. Again, since almost all hikers do both the A and D peaks on the same trip, it gets done automatically.
- The list recognizes Mount Height, which has much better views that Carter Dome.
- Another minor peak on the list is Mount Lethe, a bump off the Carter Moriah Trail between South and Middle Carter. Most traditional peakbaggers do not visit that bump.
- Finally there is North Carter, another peak that fails the 4000 Footer Club's 200 foot rule.
The Presidential Range (southern part)
The Trailwrights add four peaks in the southern part of the presidential range. None of them (with the possible exception of Boott Spur) is very interesting as a destination, but they are all in areas with great views.
- Mount Franklin is a tiny bump on the ridge between Mounts Eisenhower and Monroe, reached by a spur off the main Crawford Path.
- The White Mountain Guide describes Slide Peak as "the rather insignificant peak heading the Gulf of Slides". It is insignificant as a peak, but the trail that leads to it (the Glen Boulder Trail) is well worth the trip.
- Boott Spur is a wonderful little summit at the end of the ridge that separates the Gulf of Slides from Tuckerman's Ravine. It is often visited as part of the Boott Spur Tuckerman's Ravine loop up Mount Washington.
- North Isolation is just off the Davis Path, a little bit north of its junction with the Isolation Trail.
The Presidential Range (northern part)
There are five extra peaks in the northern part of the presidential range. While Mount Clay is probably the only one that is a worth while destination, the others offer an excellent excuse to return to that wonderful area.
- Mount Clay is not often visited, which is a pity since it has excellent views into the Great Gulf. It may be done alone (a very worthwhile hike) or combined with Mount Washington or Mount Jefferson. Mount Clay has two small bumps, according to the Washburn map the northern one is the true summit, but most people will do them both since the trail goes over both of them.
- Adams 5 is a small peak off the Gulfside Trail between Mount Adams and Edmands Col, close to the junction with the Israel Ridge Path.
- Sam Adams is a small peak south of Thunderstorm Junction. It is a "real" peak, unlike the rest of the minor members of the Adams family.
- John Quincy Adams is the small peak on the ridge above the Airline Trail, it has two small summits, I am not sure which is the true summit.
- Adams 4 is an utterly insignificant pile of rocks along Lowe's Path, again we have two piles, climb them both!