I will try to explain why I started peakbagging with great enthusiasm, and now have almost completely lost interest in non-winter peakbagging. In the process of trying to understand why that happened I have tentatively concluded that there are two distinct sub-species of Homo peakbaggerensis, the Achievers and the Collectors.
Shortly after starting to hike in the Whites in the spring of 1997 I befriended many Boston Chapter trip leaders, and many of them were working on either the NH Fours or the NE Hundred Highest. At that time the NH Fours seemed like a reasonable goal, both challenging and attainable. By the end of the summer of 1998 I had finished both the NH and VT Fours, and made a start on the Hundred Highest, so it seemed natural to aim at that list.
Late in the summer of 1999 it was clear that I would soon finish the NE Hundred Highest list, and I automatically started thinking "What next?". One trip to the Adirondacks was enough to persuade me that they were too far, so I started thinking about the NH Hundred Highest. In late October of that year I did the Garfield Ridge Peaks, and in early December I did the two Huntingtons that are on the Hundred Highest list.
But when the summer of 2000 came around I found that I had little enthusiasm for that list. I did bag the Longs and Clough on a peakbagging expedition, and the Baldfaces as part of a very pleasant backpack into the Wild River Valley, but that was it. Other goals had no greater appeal: some friends suggested that I bag the NH Fours in every season, others suggested redlining, but I was unable to feel any enthusiasm for any of these goals. Initially I asked myself why I had lost all interest in peakbagging (note that I continued hiking every weekend), then I started asking myself why I had started bagging peaks in the first place.
Looking back I believe that I had a twofold motivation. I wanted to have the "hiking credentials" that completion of the lists would confer on me, more to deal with my own insecurities than to impress anyone else. I also wanted to get to know the many peaks that my companions spoke about. The Hundred Highest seemed a reasonable extension of the initial goal, they required bushwhacking skills, and made me visit areas, such as Northern Maine, that I would not otherwise have visited.
Once I achieved that goal I felt that none of the potential further goals contained a real challenge. I had proved that I could bushwhack, doing more peaks would add nothing. And while the NH Hundred Highest would have led me to parts of the Great North Woods that I am not familiar with, that did not seem a compelling reason to invest much time in driving long distances to climb viewless peaks.
I believe that many peakbaggers have a similar motivation. At some stage they hear of the NH Fours, and set out to do them recording each peak at the back of their WMG. When they finish the list most are through with peakbagging (but, in most cases, not with hiking). I will call this group the Achievers, as they set out to achieve a goal, and having achieved it move on to other things.
The other group consists of those who keep on bagging peaks, either doing new lists or repeating the old ones. I will call these the Collectors, as they keep collecting peaks.
Collectors differ in what they collect. Some merely redo the NH Fours, counting the number of times they have finished the list. A few attempt to do them every year. Others, who hike year round, try to do every peak in each of the four seasons. Years ago Gene Daniell did them in every month, recently Ed Hawkins has duplicated this feat, and a few others are working on it.
Another group of collectors collects lists. There are a large number of lists that are not as well known as the NH Fours. Two are officially maintained by the Four Thousand Footer Committee, the New England Fours and the New England Hundred Highest. Unofficial lists exist of the New Hampshire Hundred Highest, and of the 3,000 footers in each of the New England states. For those who want to go beyond New England there are the Adirondacks 4,000 footers. Any of these lists may be done in winter. So collectors certainly have a lot of peaks that they can collect!
I am not a collector. I am interested in climbing most major peaks by most of the interesting routes. On the other hand, I have no interest at all in climbing all the routes. I hope to climb the Fours many, many times, but have no interest in counting how many times. I climb year round, but have no interest in recording which peak I climbed in which season.
The situation in winter is very different. In summer adding the Maine and Vermont Fours to their NH brethren is not much of an achievement. In winter even the peaks in the Rangeley and Stratton areas seem dauntingly remote, while going to Baxter State Park is a major adventure. Need I add that doing the NE Hundred Highest in winter is a major escalation? I have no interest in doing the Adirondack peaks in summer, as I see no real achievement that would justify the long drives. But from all that I have heard doing them in winter is substantially more difficult than doing our White Mountain peaks.
So, while I am probably not going to finish any further all seasons lists, I am still full of enthusiasm for the winter lists. I had hoped to finish the NH Fours this past (2002-2003) winter, but was unable to do Mount Jefferson because of my lack of fitness. I have already bagged all the Vermont peaks (in many cases the drive took longer than the hike), and have bagged a few of the more accessible ones in Maine. In March 2002 I went to Baxter State Park to attempt the Brothers, Fort and Coe, and succeeded in doing North Brother and Fort. I returned in the winter of 2003 to attempt South Brother and Coe, and only succeeded in getting the former. Then on to Katahdin in winter, which is a much more difficult proposition.
And in the winter of 2002-2003 I started a new spreadsheet, recording how many times I had bagged each peak in winter. Multiple peakbagging in summer does not strike me as much of an achievement, but doing the entire list two or more times in winter seems much more challenging!