New Hampshire 4000 Footers

New Hampshire 4000 Footers; Mount Washington from Davis Path in Sargent's Purchase in the New Hampshire White Mountains on a cloudy summer day; this area is part of the Presidential Range. Tuckerman Ravine, named for Professor Edward Tuckerman, a botanist and early explorer of the White Mountains, is on the right.
Mount Washington from Davis Path, New Hampshire
 

New Hampshire 4000 Footers – The New Hampshire Four Thousand Footer list, officially known as the White Mountain Four Thousand Footers, was created by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). And the objective is to hike all 48 mountains on the list, and once completed, a hiker can apply for a patch and scroll through the Appalachian Mountain Club Four Thousand Footer Club. This hiking list is maintained by an official club; most lists are run by unorganized groups. And of all the New Hampshire hiking lists, this one is the most popular.

Peakbagging in the White Mountains dates back to 1931 when Nathaniel L. Goodrich (1880-1957) suggested a list of 36 mountains to hike in an Appalachia article. Goodrich’s list was the starting point for the White Mountain 4000 footers list we know today. The AMC Four Thousand Footer Club took over and modified the list in the 1950s.

The official White Mountain 4000 footers hiking list, published in Appalachia in June 1958, originally consisted of 46 mountains. Two years later, Miriam and Robert Underhill would be the first to complete the list during the winter season. At the time, Franconia Ridge and the Presidential Range were seeing heavy use, and the intent of this list was to disperse hikers across the White Mountains. Galehead was added in 1975, and Bondcliff was added in 1980.

For a mountain to be included on the list, it must be at least 4,000 feet in height and have a minimum of 200 feet prominence. Prominence means that a mountain must rise 200 feet above any ridge connecting it with a higher mountain. Goodrich originally used a 300 foot prominence but it was changed to 200 feet when the AMC Thousand Footer Club took over the list.

Yes, there are a number of mountains that don't make the list because of the prominence rule. And in 2019, Lidar mapping revealed that Mount Tecumseh, which is on the list, is below the 4,000 foot requirement. For now, Tecumseh is grandfathered, but this could change in the future.

When it comes to researching these hikes, New Hampshire maps are the best resource. And hikers can keep track of hikes with the White Mountain 4000-Footers Passport. A few books have been written about the 4,000 footers, and though currently out of stock, the best guidebook is The 4000-Footers of the White Mountains by Steve Smith and Mike Dickerman. Steve and Mike are considered to be real experts on the White Mountains; it would be great to see both of their names again on the cover of the AMC White Mountain Guide Book.

In the 21st-century, because of the surge in peakbagging, the original vision of this list isn’t working. The hiking list craze is creating human impact issues across the White Mountains. And while the issues surrounding Mount Tecumseh and it no longer meeting the main criteria are a highly debatable topic among outdoor enthusiasts, some believe this hiking list has run its course, and should be disbanded to help conserve the White Mountains. It’s an interesting thought, but it will likely never happen.

The mountains on this list are rich with history. Below are the 48 current mountains on the New Hampshire Four Thousand Footer list; the elevations may be off some, but its not a big deal. Included are random tidbits of the history of each mountain.

New Hampshire 48 4000 Footers
(officially known as the White Mountain Four Thousand Footers) 

MountainElevation (feet)StatusHistory Note
Mount Washington6,288On listMount Washington is the Northeast's highest peak, and home to the worst weather in the world.

The summit cone is part of the Mount Washington State Park.

The first known ascent of Mount Washington was in 1642 by Darby Field.

On April 12, 1934 a wind gust of 231 miles per hour was recorded the summit of the mountain by the Mount Washington Observatory staff.
Mount Adams5,774On listNamed for John Adams, 2nd president of the United States.
Mount Jefferson5,712On listNamed for Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president of the United States.
Mount Monroe5,384On listNamed for James Monroe, 5th President of the United States
Mount Madison5,367On listNamed for James Madison, 4th President of the United States
Mount Lafayette5,260On listHighest summit on Franconia Range and was referred to as
the Great Haystack by earlier settlers of the area.
Mount Lincoln5,089On listNamed for Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.
South Twin Mountain4,902On listSome say the Twins are named for the town.
Carter Dome4,832On listFire Tower on summit form 1907-1947.
Mount Moosilauke4,802On listTip Top house on the summit burned in 1942.
Mount Eisenhower4,780On listNamed for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President
of the United States.
North Twin Mountain4,761On listSome say the Twins are named for the town, but there is
no verification of this information.
Mount Carrigain4,700On listNamed for Phillip Carrigain, New Hampshire Secretary
of State from 1805–1810.

Dating back to 1910, there was a fire tower on this mountain. Replaced a few times over the years, the viewing platform on the mountain today was part of the last tower on the summit.
Mount Bond4,698On listNamed for Professor George P. Bond.
Middle Carter Mountain4,610On listNamed for Dr. Ezra Carter, a Concord physician OR named for a hunter named “Carter”. We may never find the answer.
West Bond Mountain4,540On listNamed for Professor George P. Bond.
Mount Garfield4,500On listNamed for President James Garfield, 20th President
of the United States.

From 1940-1948, there was a fire tower on this mountain.
Mount Liberty4,459On listFlume, Lafayette, Liberty and Little Haystack Mountain
were referred to as the Haystacks by earlier settlers.
South Carter Mountain4,430On listNamed for Dr. Ezra Carter, a Concord physician or named for a hunter named “Carter”. We may never find the answer.
Wildcat Mountain4,422On listWildcat Mountain consists of five sub-peaks - A, B, C, D, and E.
Only A and D qualify for the 4,000 footer list.
Hancock Mountain4,420On listNamed for John Hancock, one of the Founding Fathers of
the United States.
South Kinsman Mountain4,358On listNamed for Nathan Kinsman, an early resident
of Easton, New Hampshire.
Mount Field4,340On listHighest peak of the Willey Range.
Mount Osceola4,340On listNamed for Chief Osceola, an early-19th century Seminole leader. His real name was Billy Powell (1804 - January 30, 1838).

Beginning in 1910, a fire tower was on this mountain. It was replaced a few times, and eventually removed in 1985.
Mount Flume4,328On listFlume, Lafayette, Liberty and Little Haystack Mountain
were referred to as the Haystacks by earlier settlers.
South Hancock Mountain4,319On listNamed for John Hancock, one of the Founding Fathers of
the United States.
Mount Pierce4,310On listNamed for President Franklin Pierce, 14th President
of the United States.
North Kinsman Mountain4,293On listNamed for Nathan Kinsman, an early resident
of Easton, New Hampshire.
Mount Willey4,285On listNamed for the Willey family, who were all killed in a
landslide in 1826 in Crawford Notch.
Bondcliff Mountain4,265On listNamed for Professor George P. Bond.
Zealand Mountain4,260On listWooded summit.
North Tripyramid Mountain4,180On listNamed by the cartographer Arnold Guyot. The Tripyramids consist of three peaks; north, middle, and south.
Mount Cabot4,170On listNamed for Sebastian Cabot, the famous pilot.
East Osceola Mountain4,156On listNamed for Chief Osceola, an early-19th century Seminole leader. His real name was Billy Powell (1804 - January 30, 1838).
Middle Tripyramid Mountain4,140On listNamed by the cartographer Arnold Guyot. The Tripyramids consist of three peaks; north, middle, and south.
Cannon Mountain4,100On listAlso known as Profile Mountain. Location of the Old Man of
the Mountain profile (Collapsed May 3, 2003).
Wildcat, D Peak Mountain4,070On listWildcat Mountain consists of five sub-peaks - A, B, C, D, and E.
Only A and D qualify for the 4,000 footer list.
Mount Hale4,054On listNamed for Rev. Edward Everett Hale (1802-1909).

Built in 1928 / 1929, a fire tower was on this summit; it was removed in 1972.
Mount Jackson4,052On listNamed for Charles Thomas Jackson,
a 19th century New Hampshire state geologist.
Mount Tom4,051On listNamed for Thomas Crawford, son of Abel Crawford.

The Crawford Family is famous for the building of Crawford Path in 1819.

In 1828 Ethan Allen Crawford and his father Abel Crawford built the Notch House, Ethan’s brother Thomas J. Crawford was the proprietor. The Notch House was located near the Elephant Head profile at the Gate of the Notch.
Mount Moriah4,049On listIn the Bible, Moriah is where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac.

The origin of “Moriah” is not straight forward, but the legend has become the accepted belief. Legend has it that an early setter in the area familiar with the bible gave this name to Mount Moriah. Mount Moriah is a mountain in Jerusalem where Solomon built the temple.
Mount Passaconaway4,043On listNamed for Passaconaway, a 1600s sachem of the Pennacook tribe.
Owl's Head Mountain4,025On listNamed for a rock formation on the southern end of Owl’s Head.

The infamous August 1907 Owl’s Head Mountain fire in the Pemigewasset Wilderness was started by a lightning strike on the eastern side of Owl’s Head Mountain in an area that had been previously logged by J.E. Henry and Sons.
Mount Galehead4,024On listWooded summit.
Mount Whiteface4,020On listWooded Summit.
Mount Waumbek4,006On listHighest peak in the Pliny Range.
Mount Isolation4,004On listHighest peak in the Montalban Ridge.
Mount Tecumseh3,997On listNamed for the Shawnee leader Tecumseh (1768–1813). Interestingly, Chief Tecumseh spent most his life around the Ohio Territory, and likely never visited New Hampshire.

August 2019, actual new height of Mount Tecumseh is 3,997 feet.

The information included here was first published in another area of this website in 2014. And the above list, up to date as of October 2022, shows the current mountains on the New Hampshire 48 4000 Footers hiking list. For more information and a downloadable application, see the AMC Four Thousand Footer Club website.

Nathaniel L. Goodrich’s vision in the 1930s is an important part of White Mountains history.

 

Happy image making..


 

Copyright Notice | Historic Information Disclaimer | White Mountains History

References:
AMC Four Thousand footer club. Welcome to the Official 4K Club Website | AMC Four Thousand Footer Club. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2022, from http://www.amc4000footer.org/.

Appalachian Mountain Club. Various Notes – Climbing in General. Appalachia, Vol XXXII, June 1958, pp. 105-111.

Baird, Iris, Kelley, Jack. New Hampshire Fire Towers. [online] Firelookout.org. Available at: http://www.firelookout.org/lookouts/nh/nh.htm. n.d.

Department of the Interior. United States Board of Geographic Names: Decisions on names in the Untied States Alaska and Hawaii. Washington D.C.: Department of the Interior, 1957.

Donovan, Erin Paul. “New Hampshire 4000 Footers.” ScenicNH Photography LLC, 04 Aug 2014,  https://www.scenicnh.com/new-hampshire-4000-footers/.

Gannett, Henry. The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States, Second Edition. Washington, D.C: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1905.

Goodrich, Nathaniel L. "The Four Thousanders.” Appalachia, Vol XVIII, December 1931, pp. 479–80.

Julyan, Robert, Julyan, Mary. Place Names of the White Mountains,  Hanover, NH: United Press of New England, 1993.

Mudge, John T. B. The White Mountains: Names, Places & Legends. Etna, NH: Durand Press, 1992.

Sweetser, Moses Foster. The White Mountains: A Handbook for Travellers. Boston, MA: James R. Osgood and Company, 1876.

Sweetser, Moses Foster. The White Mountains: A Handbook for Travellers, Eleventh Edition. Boston, MA: James R. Osgood and Company, 1891.

Waterman, Laura, Waterman, Guy. Forest and Crag: A History of Hiking, Trail Blazing, and Adventure in the Northeast Mountains, Thirtieth Anniversary Edition. Albany, NY: Excelsior Editions, 2019.

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer, writer, and author who specializes in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography in the New Hampshire White Mountains. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society.

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