Sunday, January 1, 2017

Calendar-Year GRID

Upon completion of any big project, I often have a hard time summarizing the experience or articulating my answers to the general question "How was it?"  Surely this instance will be no different -- writing does not come easily to me -- but here goes.

In White Mountain parlance, "the Grid" refers to hiking each of the 48 New Hampshire 4000 footers in every month, usually over many years.  People who pursue the Grid are referred to as Gridiots.  In November 2003 I became finisher #3, the first woman -- what I like to call a Gridiette -- to do so.  That Grid took about 15 years of relatively casually picking away at the monthly lists.  When I started to pursue this game, only one person was known to have finished.  I referred to it simply as "the 48 in every month," the Grid term coming along a few years later.

As far as a single-year Grid, that seed was planted a few years ago on one of the local hiking forums when I jokingly (mostly) entertained the possibility.  My immediate thought was that it could be done but that the candidate would need to have a rather unique lifestyle that permitted such a... well...  such a lifestyle!  Someone who loves to hike, is focused, driven, fit, healthy, retired/unemployed/unusually employed, childfree, and with a supportive partner or spouse.  Hey, I thought, that candidate would be me!  :)

So in late 2015 we decided to give it a go, Chris committing to the crucial support role for an entire year.  (Yes, I am a lucky woman.  2017 is HIS.)  It was important to me that it be a CALENDAR year Grid, done entirely within 2016, from the short days of January to the short days of December, the ending not known until the very end!  Knowing that stuff happens -- sickness, injury, weather issues, family stuff, reasons why success was definitely not a sure thing -- I did not make a big announcement... just started hiking.  New Year's Day we climbed Moosilauke via Glencliff followed by Tecumseh.  At the end of each month I posted my itinerary, mileages and feet climbed.  Those who are interested in those numbers can scroll down this blog.  January and February I did more doubling up than later months -- squeezing more miles into a day -- partly due to the fact that where we lived added a whole hour to our round-trip commute time.  January was completed in 15 days of hiking, February in 16.  In March we overcame an added complication:  that of selling our house, packing up and moving to a place 1/2 hour closer to the Whites.  Being a mere 15 minutes from Franconia Notch was huge!  (Our house had been on the market a year.  Contrary to what some folks assumed, we did not "sell our house in order to do the CYG!") 

The winter was easy in terms of snow depth with just a handful of times on snowshoes, but it was the winter and spring of ICE in the White Mountains -- holy moly! - with treacherous ice lasting well into May.  Walking in microspikes became second nature!  The summer months brought blessed warmth, long days, light packs and trail runners, and a few 30+ milers.  I spiced up July and August by doing a Direttissima and the Trailwrights Six-Pack respectively (scroll down for those posts).  We also fit in the Maine 4000 footers, including a trip to Baxter.  September and October meant less midweek crowds, crisp air, and spectacular foliage, although October was a bit of a challenge due to an almost two-week trip to New Mexico.  (Being the 10th month, no way was I giving up now!)  November and especially December  turned out to be the hardest months due to the ever shortening days, colder temperatures, and uncooperative weather for being above treeline.  I joked to Chris that I should have started in November of last year since the weather was so mild then, but then it would not have been a Calendar-Year Grid of course.

The entire year was a JOY.  I never got tired of hiking, it never ever felt like a job, and except for a couple of rainy hikes, I was always excited to spend the day walking in the woods and climbing mountains.  :)

In May or June I happened upon the blog of a runner who was training for the Hardrock 100, who focused not only on mileage but also total vertical climbed.  Thus was the impetus for my secondary goal of the year -- that of climbing at least a million vertical feet -- funny, since I have never really kept track of vertical before.  For the most part, I got my numbers from the White Mountain Guide but did occasionally use a GPS app, for example, if bushwhacking.  Surely my numbers are not totally, completely accurate to the foot or tenth of a mile, but I think they are pretty close.  The last few days of December were spent ensuring that I got over that million-foot mark!

Now for a few stats:

- Miles hiked:  3,181
- Vertical feet climbed:  1,001,820
- Days hiked over 4000 feet:  206/366 (includes other, non NH48 hikes)
- GRID peaks soloed:  289/576
- Total peaks summitted over 4k:  ~620 or so
- Highest elevation:  12,632 ft. - Santa Fe Baldy, New Mexico (not a GRID peak!)
- Days over 20 miles:  44
- Days w/over 10k in climb:  3
   - 6/18 - Presi Traverse w/Isolation 10,050 ft.
   - 7/5 - Franconia Ridge, Owls Head, Garfield, Galehead, Twins - 11,250 ft.
   - 8/23 - Cabot, Waumbek, Moriah, Wildcats - 12,050 ft.
- Mornings getting up waaaay before dawn:  Almost all (Chris even earlier)
- Evenings going to bed after 8 pm:  Very Few
- Days I didn't feel like hiking:  0
- Highest mileage month:  September - 294.6 miles
- Lowest mileage month:  October - 210 miles
- Times on Lincoln Woods Trail:  at least 20
- Favorite peaks:  Moosilauke, Bonds, Lafayette, Northern Presidentials
- Least favorite peaks:  Cannon, Osceolas ('cuz the steep ice scared the crap outa me last winter)
- Do I really like Owls Head:  Yes
- Did I carry a SPOT/PLB:  No (but did carry enough emergency gear to spend an uncomfortable night out, did carry an iPhone, and someone always knew my itinerary)
- # Sandwiches made by Chris:  400?  500?
- # Times running, biking, and skiing:  half dozen, one, and zero respectively!
- Wildlife sightings:  Moose, bear, deer, fox, one attack spruce grouse, dozens of gray jays, bunnies, porcupine, and tracks of just about every NH mammal
- Stuff broken:  3 poles, 1 pair snowshoes, 2 spikes, lots of shoelaces, and killed a few pair trail shoes
- Injuries:  Pulled back muscle while front-pointing up ice on North Carter in April.  
      Tripped on crampon points twice, falling ass-over-teakettle on Adams in December.  Got owies.
- Chris/Fancypant's "Not Doing the Grid" progress:  280/576 (yes, I'm keeping track)

I will close with a quote from Eugene Daniell III, the first finisher of the 4k's in every month, and someone with whom I had the pleasure of hiking a couple of times back in the early 1990s:

"I had undertaken the project with the idea that not only would it help satisfy the obsessive-compulsive urges that all of us whom Guy Waterman called 'ultimate peak baggers' harbor; it also had a certain delightful whimsicality to it -- doing something that others would consider crazy and enjoying it.  But mostly I looked forward to seeing my beloved mountains in the full panoply of beauty they assume as the seasons pass around.  I have always said that for me and most other peakbaggers I know, the List is an itinerary rather than a goal -- on completing a list most of us experience a certain bittersweet exultation, knowing that a beloved old friend will never be with us in the same way again."

I'm not sure yet What's Next?! but I have a few thoughts...   ;p

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares drop off like autumn leaves."  John Muir

1.  Tecumseh - 4.2 miles, 2200 ft.
2.  Carrigain - 10 miles, 3350 ft.
3.  North Twin, South Twin, Galehead, Garfield - 15.5 miles, 5100 ft. report
4.  Owls Head - 16.5 miles, 2900 ft.
5.  North Kinsman, South Kinsman - 10 miles, 3900 ft.
6.  Jackson, Pierce, Eisenhower - 12.4 miles, 3750 ft. report
7.  Waumbek - 8 miles, 2800 ft. report
8.  North Tripyramid, South Tripyramid, Whiteface, Passaconaway - 16 miles, 5400 ft. report
9.  Cabot - 7.8 miles, 2750 ft.
11.  Wildcat D, Wildcat A, Carter Dome, South Carter, Middle Carter - 14.5 miles, 5900 ft.
13.  Bondcliff, Bond, West Bond, Zealand - 23 miles, 4550 ft. report
14.  Moriah - 8 miles, 2800 ft. report
15.  Cannon - 3.5 miles, 2200 ft.
16.  East Osceola, Osceola - 7.6 miles, 3120 ft. report
17.  Hale - 9 miles, 2400 ft. report
19.  Moosilauke - 10.6 miles, 2900 ft. report
20.  Monroe, Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison - 15.3 miles, 6050 ft. report
21.  Field, Willey, Tom - 10 miles, 3450 ft.
23.  Flume, Liberty, Lincoln, Lafayette - 13 miles, 5650 ft. report
24.  North Hancock, South Hancock - 9.8 miles, 2700 ft.
26.  Isolation - 12.5 miles, 3400 ft. report
28.  [Old Speck - 7.6 miles, 3000 ft.] report
29.  [Parker Mtn. - 4.5 miles, 950 ft.]
30.  [Mt. Martha - 3.8 miles, 1900 ft.] report
31.  [Bald Cap Peak Ledge - 6 miles, 2000 ft.] report

237.2 miles, 77,270 ft.
[21.9 miles, 7850 ft.]

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


"Courage is staring into the unknown and taking that first step.  Faith is the belief that you'll see it through."

1.  Wildcat D, Wildcat A, Carter Dome, South Carter, Middle Carter - 14.5 miles, 5900 ft.
2.  Moosilauke - 7.8 miles, 3300 ft.
4.  Cannon - 3.5 miles, 2200 ft.
5.  [Stone Cat race - 13 miles, 700 ft.]
6.  Tecumseh - 4.2 miles, 2200 ft.
7.  Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Washington - 14.7 miles, 7850 ft.
8.  Jackson, Pierce, Eisenhower, Monroe - 12 miles, 4750 m. [and 5.5 mile bike ride!]
9.  Field, Willey, Tom - 10 miles, 3450 ft.
10.  Carrigain - 10 miles, 3350 ft.
11.  Hale - 7 miles, 2200 ft.
12.  Bondcliff, Bond, West Bond, Zealand - 19.6 miles, 4550 ft.
13.  East Osceola, Osceola - 7.6 miles, 3120 ft.
14.  [Camel's Hump for Supermoon - 4.8 miles, 2200 ft.]
16.  Moriah - 8 miles, 2800 ft.
17.  North Hancock, South Hancock - 9.8 miles, 2700 ft.
18.  Flume, Liberty, Lincoln, Lafayette - 15 miles, 5650 ft.
19.  Garfield, Galehead, South Twin, North Twin - 15.5 miles, 5550 ft.
22.  Owls Head - 16.5 miles, 2900 ft.
23.  Isolation - 12.5 miles, 3400 ft.
24.  North Kinsman, South Kinsman - 10 miles, 3900 ft.
25.  Cabot - 7.8 miles, 2750 ft.
26.  Waumbek - 7.2 miles, 2750 ft.
28.  North Tripyramid, Middle Tripyramid, Whiteface, Passaconaway - 16 miles, 5400 ft.

229.2 miles, 80,670 ft.
[17.8 miles, 2900 ft.]

November was eventful on two counts.  First, its ending marked the beginning of my last month in the Calendar Year GRID quest. Nearing the end of this--and any--big project I have pursued, my feelings are all over the place--happily satisfied to be almost "done" but also quite sad that December will be the last time I "must" climb these mountains.  I have thoroughly enjoyed pursuing this goal and am gonna miss these gnarly little peaks!  Yes, I do realize they can be climbed any time I desire, but...

The second significant event was that on November 28, I became the first known woman to complete a second White Mountain GRID on Mt. Passaconaway.  In November 2003, after about 15 years of picking away at it--before it was called the GRID actually--I was the first woman and third overall finisher.  This second round took a little bit less time.  😊

Hoping for decent weather in December.  It ain't over til it's over!

Sunday, October 30, 2016


Other miles/elevation in [ ].  

1.  Carrigain, Willey, Field, Tom - 18.5 miles, 6750 ft.
2.  Moosilauke, North Hancock, South Hancock - 19 miles, 5400 ft.
4.  Cabot, Wildcat D, Wildcat A, Carter Dome, South Carter, Middle Carter, Moriah - 27.1 miles, 9900 ft.
5.  Jackson, Pierce, Eisenhower, Monroe, Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison - 22 miles, 8400 ft.
7.  Owls Head, Garfield, Lafayette, Lincoln, Liberty, Flume - 28.5 miles, 8300 ft.
8.  Waumbek - 5.5 miles, 2200 ft.
9.  East Osceola, Osceola, North Kinsman, South Kinsman - 17.6 miles, 7020 ft.
10.  Isolation - 12.5 miles, 3400 ft.
13-23.  [Trip to New Mexico - Pajarito, Lake, Penitente, Santa Fe Baldy Peaks, Chaco Canyon - 55.2 miles, 9900 ft.]
24.  Cannon - 3.5 miles, 2200 ft.
25.  North Tripyramid, Middle Tripyramid, Whiteface, Passaconaway - 17.1 miles, 5200 ft. report
26.  Hale, Zealand, West Bond, Bond, Bondcliff - 21.9 miles, 5650 ft. report
27.  Galehead, South Twin, North Twin - 12.1 miles, 3950 ft. report
30.  Tecumseh - 5 miles, 2200 ft.

210.3 miles, 70,570 ft.
[55.2 miles, 9900 ft.]

Osseo Trail "downlook"

Bandelier National Monument... barefoot!

Chaco Canyon - just WOW


Chris's relatives in Roswell, NM

Thursday, September 29, 2016


"Mountains, according to the angle of view, the season, the time of day, the beholder's frame of mind, or any one thing, can effectively change their appearance.  Thus, it is essential to recognize that we can never know more than one side, one small aspect of a mountain."
Haruki Murakami

Other miles/elevation in [ ]

1.  Moosilauke - 10.2 miles, 3415 ft. report
2.  North Hancock, South Hancock - 9.8 miles, 2650 ft. report
3.  Moriah, Middle Carter, South Carter, Carter Dome - 24 miles, 6450 ft. report
4.  Adams, Madison - 10 miles, 5200 ft. report
5.  Carrigain - 14.8 miles, 4800 ft. report
6.  Hale, Tom, Field, Willey - 15.5 miles, 5000 ft. report
8.  Jefferson, Washington - 17.5 miles, 6000 ft. report
10.  North Twin, South Twin, Galehead, Garfield - 15.5 miles, 4950 ft.
11.  Waumbek - 7.2 miles, 2750 ft. report
12.  North Kinsman, South Kinsman, Cannon - 15 miles, 4950 ft. report
13.  Isolation, Monroe, Eisenhower, Pierce, Jackson - 20.2 miles, 6550 ft. report
14.  Wildcat A, Wildcat D - 9.1 miles, 3550 ft. report
16.  Flume, Liberty, Lincoln, Lafayette, Owls Head - 23.5 miles, 7100 ft. report
17.  Zealand, West Bond, Bond, Bondcliff - 20.2 miles, 5200 ft. report
19.  [Abraham - 8 miles, 2750 ft. report]
20.  [Daicey Pond - 2 miles]
21.  [Katahdin, Baxter and Hamlin Peaks - 16.3 miles, 5150 ft. report]
22.  [North Brother, South Brother, Coe - 11.5 miles, 4000 ft. report]
25.  Passaconaway, Whiteface, Middle Tripyramid, North Tripyramid - 20.3 miles, 5650 ft.
26.  Cabot - 10.6 miles, 3300 ft.
28.  Osceola, East Osceola, Tecumseh - 13.4 miles, 5150 ft.

256.8 miles, 82,665 ft.
[37.8 miles, 11,900 ft.]

the secret Coyote Coaster Club

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


For the month of August, I decided to spice up the regular NH48 and include the additional 24 Trailwrights' peaks.  Further--because I like numbers and am weird--I climbed them all as "6-packs" in 12 separate days.  Some of these combos were pretty straight forward and made sense--Carters, Hight, and Lethe for instance.  Other days did NOT make sense and required a bit more effort--Cabot, Waumbek, Moriah, and the Wildcats for example!  Doing the peaks with this little twist proved to be a fun challenge.  Trying to figure out whether or not I want to tackle the September or October NH48 in 8 days...

Trailwrights' and other miles/elevation in [ ].

1.  [Kingdom Trails - 4 miles]
2.  [Franconia Trails - 4.5 miles, 600 ft.]
3.  [Abigail Adams, Sam Adams, Adams 5, John Quincy Adams], Adams, Madison - 12.6 miles, 6300 ft.  report
4.  Jefferson, [Clay], Washington, [Boott Spur, Slide Peak], Monroe - 14.4 miles, 6750 ft. report
6.  Carter Dome, [Hight], South Carter, Middle Carter, [Lethe, North Carter] - 20.5 miles, 4850 ft. report
8.  Tecumseh, North Tripyramid, Middle Tripyramid, [South Tripyramid], Whiteface, Passaconaway - 23 miles, 7550 ft. report
9.  South Hancock, North Hancock, [Northwest Hancock], Tom, Field, Willey - 21 miles, 6450 ft. report 1 report 2
11. Bondcliff, Bond, West Bond, [Guyot], Zealand, Hale - 22 miles, 6250 ft. report
15. [Jim, Blue], Moosilauke, [South Moosilauke], Cannon, Carrigain - 23.2 miles, 8450 ft. report 1 report 2 report 3
18.  East Osceola, Osceola, [Middle Osceola, West Osceola], North Kinsman, South Kinsman - 19.8 miles, 7250 ft. report
19.  Lafayette, [North Lincoln], Lincoln, [Little Haystack], Liberty, Flume - 14.4 miles, 4600 ft.
21.  North Twin, South Twin, [Southwest Twin], Galehead, Garfield, Owls Head - 29.3 miles, 8800 ft. report
23.  Cabot, Waumbek, Moriah, Wildcat A, Wildcat C, Wildcat D - 32.3 miles, 12050 ft.
25.  Jackson, Pierce, Eisenhower, [Franklin, North Isolation], Isolation - 23.5 miles, 6685 ft. report
29.  [Kingdom Trails - 5 miles]
31.  [Parker Mtn. - 5 miles, 950 ft.]

256 miles, 85,985 ft.
[18.5 miles, 1550 ft.]

Sunday, July 31, 2016


“You never climb the same mountain twice, not even in memory. Memory rebuilds the mountain, changes the weather, retells the jokes, remakes all the moves.” 
(Lito Tejada-Flores)

July 4-17 Direttissima 48, other peaks/elevation in [ ]

1.  [Cannon - 3.5 miles, 2400 ft.]
4.  Moosilauke, South Kinsman, North Kinsman, Cannon - 24.4 miles, 8800 ft.
5.  Lafayette, Lincoln, Liberty, Flume, Owls Head, Garfield, Galehead, South Twin, North Twin - 30 miles, 11,250 ft.
6.  Hale, Zealand, West Bond, Bond, Bondcliff, South Hancock, North Hancock - 30 miles, 8650 ft.
7.  East Osceola, Osceola, Tecumseh - 15.4 miles, 5100 ft.
8.  North Tripyramid, Middle Tripyramid, Whiteface, Passaconaway - 25.3 miles, 5350 ft.
11.  Carrigain, Willey, Field, Tom - 22 miles, 6750 ft.
12.  Jackson, Pierce, Eisenhower, Monroe, Washington, Isolation - 21.8 miles, 8400 ft.
14.  Wildcat D, Wildcat A, Carter Dome, South Carter, Middle Carter, Moriah - 21.8 miles, 7150 ft.
16.  Madison, Adams, Jefferson - 16.6 miles, 6100 ft.
17.  Waumbek, Cabot - 27 miles, 6750 ft.
22.  [Parker Mtn. - 4 miles, 500 ft.]
23.  [Parker Mtn. - 7 miles, 950 ft.]
24.  [Saddleback, Saddleback Horn - 6.8 miles, 2900 ft.]
25.  [South Crocker, North Crocker, Redington - 11.3 miles, 3500 ft.]
28.  [North Percy Peak - 4.4 miles, 2200 ft.]
29.  [Bigelows:  West Peak, Avery Peak - 11 miles, 2300 ft.]
30.  [Sugarloaf, Spaulding - 10.5 miles, 2500 ft.]

234.3 miles, 74,300 ft.
[58.5 miles, 17,250 ft.]