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White Mountains vs. High Peaks? not including the Presidentials

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  • White Mountains vs. High Peaks? not including the Presidentials

    Hi, everyone;

    I think this/these question(s) may have been addressed in a different thread ("Sorry High Peaks, but I've been cheating on you thread"), but I thought I might ask a few pertinent questions from those of you whom are aspiring to do their NH 48 or have completed them.

    I've done about 15 to 20 (some I will have to do again due to the nature of not finding the true summit, like Carter Dome, and Field--those I could not find the marker for). I've done the Presidential Range; so right there, I know that I have a bit of tree line to play with, except for the orphaned two that I left due to weather and low day light (did Franconia Range in late March with 4 foot snow pack and 60 degree weather at top, but had to skip Lafayette due to waning daylight and also Flume due to icy trail conditions for Flume Slide trail.

    So, I am thinking of finishing the Carter range, Tom Field and Willey; The Bonds, The Wildcat Range (I only completed D), Moosilauke (sp?), and others that I cannot think of right now.

    I've done Kinsmans, Cannon, Presidentials (North and South both), The Han****s. And, of course, a smattering of the Franconia Range 2 out of four. I suppose it makes logical sense to complete the Franconia Range before the October snow falls.

    I was thinking of staying at some AMC huts for some of my peaks.

    Not quite up for a hut to hut excursion, but, as time goes by, maybe next year.

    Doubt if I will finish my NH 48 this year, but if you have any thoughts about what I should tackle first? What should I save for last?

    Terrain--is it the same as the High Peaks? Just without the 5 mile slog at the beginning? Or is it rockier? I tend to think it is rockier, being that it is an entire strand of mountain--it's NOT the Adirondacks, so the rock may NOT be as old, but still isn't it largely granite composition (I took Geology in college, so I do know a bit about igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks)?

    Any suggestions? Tips? I do know that the trails are not marked with DEC discs, but with large cairns and wooden signs that are often covered in snow in Winter with rime ice.

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Actually lots of the Whites trails are blazed (not disks, but paint) -- the cairns are mostly for above treeline.

    There are other threads on here comparing the Whites & ADK high peaks. Certainly the Whites trails are often more "graded', and there's much more alpine territory. The alpine areas tend to be lots of loose rock: acres of rubble! It's my understanding that, while the ADK rock is very ancient, the ADKs were actually uplifted more recently than the Whites which are the worn-down stubs of ancient mts that were huge to begin with (we're talking Rockies, or Alps.)

    It sounds like you've done many of the really spectacular ones that many people would think of finishing on. I had the same situation. By the time I realized I was going to do the whole list, I'd done lots of them already. I then saved South Twin to finish on, as the highest and most spectacular-viewed one I hadn't climbed, and finished my NE115 on it. The Bonds would be nice to finish on too, though it would be hard to finish on Bond itself if you do them at once. You'd have to do either W. Bond or Bondcliff on a separate hike to end on Bond, which I don't think would be worth it. But they're all great, and have the same central-to-the-high-Whites location as the Twins.
    I also have a special fondness for Isolation. It's so -- well -- isolated. And despite being fairly low, and just looking like a bump from up near Boott Spur, it has surprisingly good views.

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    • #3
      I've never seen the paint blazes on the trees. But, the times I went, it was totally snow covered in late March/Early April 2010, and Jan 2013. As for the other peaks, they were above treeline, so naturally they had cairns and paint blazes on the rocks.

      I've heard many have a fondness for Bond; it's many people's favorite NH 4000 footer.

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      • #4
        I found the trails of the NH48 to be easier than the ADK46. "Easier" as in smoother and less muddy trails. Definitely not easier in terms of elevation gain. Sure, there are notable exceptions but, overall, my average speed was higher in the Whites than in the Dacks.

        ​I chose to finish on Bondcliff and I'm very pleased I did. I did a southbound Bonds Traverse (i.e. Zealand to Lincoln Woods). The classic "hero shot" of standing on the cliff's edge was not to be because I was alone. Nevertheless I managed to get a selfie with the iconic cliff.



        It's was a memorable hike and not just because it capped my NH48; the route from Bond to Bondcliff is awe-inspiring.

        Looking for Views!

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        • #5
          wow, TrailBoss. That is inspiring. I definitely am going to save the Bonds for the last round. Meanwhile, I shall whittle away at my 48 at a more leisurely pace, after doing 21 high peaks in two months time to finish my 46.

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          • #6
            Agree with Trail Boss about the Bonds. That whole range was my first hike in the Whites and it's amazing. But I saved Moosilauke for last and I would make the case for it as a good finisher. It kinda stands off from the rest of the peaks and is not typically hiked along with other 48ers in the same day. It's slightly closer for us New Yorkers. It's a magnificent peak with a good amount above timberline, but it's easy and much less dangerous weather wise compared to some of the other really big peaks. I hiked it on a beautiful fall day and it was sublime. Even had a Merlin flying around the summit area. Anyway, carry on. Enjoy the Whites!
            "Why so many want to read about the world out-of-doors, when it's more interesting simply to go for a walk into the heart of it, I don't fully understand." -Edward Abbey

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            • #7
              Muddybottom and I did the N-S Bonds traverse a couple years ago...a spectacular day from start to finish. Well...the 9 mile hike out from Bondcliff was perhaps a bit less than spectacular.
              Nature we have always with us, an inexhaustible storehouse of that which moves the heart, appeals to the mind, and fires the imagination - health to the body, a stimulus to the intellect, and a joy to the soul. - John Burroughs

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              • #8
                Four mountains away from my 48 finish! I have the Wildcats Saturday and Lincoln & Lafayette for Sunday! I have been told Lafayette is not a common finish as most people get hooked on the 48 when they climb it, or lack the self-control to save it. When I told my boss I was headed to NH for the first time in mid-April, she asked if I was doing Lafayette and said that it was her favorite. I decided right then and there that I would finish on it in her honor! And from the photos of the ridge and the Fallingwaters Trail, I will not be disappointed. The mountain has been playing cat-and-mouse with me, often clouded in...like when I did Cannon, Garfield, and just yesterday on Flume.

                What have I learned...the trails in NH are in better condition overall. That being said, I did Isolation from the Rocky Branch and Isolation trails at the end of May and they were lakes with mossy rocks thrown in, for three miles... They were the wettest trails I have ever seen. When it's bad, it's really bad. But, climbing over trees is pretty uncommon and the trails are drained reasonably well.

                The Whites are more crowded, but being so close to Boston and Canada, well...to be expected. But, there are a lot more trails, so often the mountains swallow them up nicely, except for the Presidential Range, which was my least favorite. I didn't care for Willey, Field or Tom either, or Hale.

                The day I did the Bonds (via Zealand as per Joe Cedar's advice) was the best day I had out there. Period. It was a Friday, so fewer people, not a cloud to be found and it reminded me of home. My favorite mountain thus far has been Owl's Head. The approach was definitely ADK-like...not too many of those in the Whites. On the day I did it, it was exactly what I needed.

                So, the time that I have spend in the Whites this summer has been great, but has made me appreciate the spectacular beauty of our mountains, and their remoteness... and the community that comes with it. We all have our differences and god knows I am a wicked pain in the ass sometimes, but I've missed you all so much and am looking forward to my return in October...to hopefully complete my fall 46...and then my second winter round...and my fourth round...and my spring 46, and my four-season grid next summer.

                A friend told me I would love the Whites and I do, but they are not my home.
                #8335W, Solo 46W
                NE 111 113/115


                One list may be done, but the journey is far from over...
                Half Dome, 2009

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by moosebeware View Post
                  Four mountains away from my 48 finish! I have the Wildcats Saturday and Lincoln & Lafayette for Sunday!
                  Good luck on your two hikes. My wife and I finished the 115 on Lincoln and Lafayette, really glad we saved them for the end. Loved the trail between the two peaks and then the long decline to the hut.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by moosebeware View Post
                    Four mountains away from my 48 finish! I have the Wildcats Saturday and Lincoln & Lafayette for Sunday! I have been told Lafayette is not a common finish as most people get hooked on the 48 when they climb it, or lack the self-control to save it. When I told my boss I was headed to NH for the first time in mid-April, she asked if I was doing Lafayette and said that it was her favorite. I decided right then and there that I would finish on it in her honor! And from the photos of the ridge and the Fallingwaters Trail, I will not be disappointed. The mountain has been playing cat-and-mouse with me, often clouded in...like when I did Cannon, Garfield, and just yesterday on Flume.

                    What have I learned...the trails in NH are in better condition overall. That being said, I did Isolation from the Rocky Branch and Isolation trails at the end of May and they were lakes with mossy rocks thrown in, for three miles... They were the wettest trails I have ever seen. When it's bad, it's really bad. But, climbing over trees is pretty uncommon and the trails are drained reasonably well.

                    The Whites are more crowded, but being so close to Boston and Canada, well...to be expected. But, there are a lot more trails, so often the mountains swallow them up nicely, except for the Presidential Range, which was my least favorite. I didn't care for Willey, Field or Tom either, or Hale.

                    The day I did the Bonds (via Zealand as per Joe Cedar's advice) was the best day I had out there. Period. It was a Friday, so fewer people, not a cloud to be found and it reminded me of home. My favorite mountain thus far has been Owl's Head. The approach was definitely ADK-like...not too many of those in the Whites. On the day I did it, it was exactly what I needed.

                    So, the time that I have spend in the Whites this summer has been great, but has made me appreciate the spectacular beauty of our mountains, and their remoteness... and the community that comes with it. We all have our differences and god knows I am a wicked pain in the ass sometimes, but I've missed you all so much and am looking forward to my return in October...to hopefully complete my fall 46...and then my second winter round...and my fourth round...and my spring 46, and my four-season grid next summer.

                    A friend told me I would love the Whites and I do, but they are not my home.
                    When I tried to do Tom, Field and Willey in a light drizzle, I didn't care much for them, either. Just a nasty mess. When I was up in the whites for a week late March to Early Apr. 2010, There were three solid days of rain and fog. Put a damper on the middle of the trip, but after sitting two days, I thought the rain had died down, but with the mist and constant light rain it was horrendous. Never again. Ended up at Pinkham Notch trying to dry out my boots and socks by the fire.

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                    • #11
                      I managed to save Lincoln and Layafette until close to the end. That was my second to last hike in Whites, followed by a week in Maine, and then a return to New Hampshire to finish the Whites on Moose. It's redundant to go on about the Franconia Traverse, since it is perhaps the most popular hike in the Northeast. But it really is one of the great ones. Just be prepared for huge crowds if hiking on a good weather weekend. As in cars end to end parked along the highway.

                      I agree that the long walk to Owls Head is reminiscent of some of the long Adirondack backcountry hikes, in a good way.

                      Another sublime White Mt. peak one might consider saving for last is Carrigain.
                      "Why so many want to read about the world out-of-doors, when it's more interesting simply to go for a walk into the heart of it, I don't fully understand." -Edward Abbey

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                      • #12
                        What I love the most about the Adirondacks is the sense of remoteness and feeling of being in the middle of nowhere. The amount of noise pollution (hearing highways at the peak and literally the entire hike is a real bummer), visible roads from the vistas and road walking has me loving the Adirondacks more and more every time I visit the whites
                        ADK - 35/46
                        Whites - 25/48
                        North East - 68/115
                        Catskills - 9/35

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