The Grid

On July 21st, 2016 I became the 66th hiker to complete the New Hampshire White Mountain Grid, (click here for trip report).  The Grid is hiking the 48 - 4,000 footers in New Hampshire in every month of the year over any number of years (48 X 12 = 576), click here for Grid website.  For example, it took me twenty-eight years to accomplish this feet, #1 was Mount Washington in August of 1988, when I was nine years old, and my last peak for the Grid, #576, was Mount Isolation in July of 2016, at the age of 37.  However, I didn't start hiking consistently until mid 2009, so most of my hiking has been over the past eight years.

For those of you who are interested in completing the Grid, there are a few ways of accomplishing this, the quickest way is to stick to the "peak-bagging" trails.  Peak-bagging trails are the most heavily used trails for each of the 48 - 4,000 footers, they are usually well maintained, most direct, and easy to follow, albeit some are in rough shape footing wise because of the heavy use.  These trails will also most likely be broken out in the winter making your Grid quest a little easier, although winter hiking in the snow and frigid temperatures is never too easy.

The way I completed my Grid was different than this approach for most of my Grid months.  I just hiked a whole bunch of times, different trails, abandoned trails, off trail slides, and came up with some unique and big mile routes that connected 4,000 foot peaks.  If the weather was good, I headed above treeline, never putting aside a day in the Alpine Zone because I needed a Grid peak below treeline instead.  Hey, I have a real soft spot for Owl's Head but if you think I'm going to hike that rather than climbing up out of the Great Gulf to Mount Jefferson then you're out of your damn mind!  Anyway, after years of doing this I finally downloaded the Grid spreadsheet, entered the dates, and was just under 70% complete.  The other thing that coincided with this was that I was creeping up on hiking 1,000 NH 4,000 footers too, so my Grid finish peak of Isolation was also my 1,000 NH 4K!  I was really happy about my hiking journey of the Grid, never once did I ever have to sacrifice hikes with other people or stay below treeline on an above treeline day just to get a peak.  In fact, the last few hikes leading up to my finish were extremely bittersweet as I thoroughly enjoyed hiking the 4,000 footers in every month and didn't want the experience to end!

Whichever way you decide to tackle the Grid is up to you, there is no right or better way of completing it, just hike whenever and however you want, and what makes you the happiest out there on the trails.  You'll definitely be bumping into plenty of other "Gridiots" along the way and making new friends too.  It's a pretty awesome experience and one you'll never forget!

Left side of the table is the order in which each peak was gridded, with the number of times I summited it overall before gridding it out, and how many years it took to grid it.  Right side of the table shows the number of times I hiked each mountain to get to #1000.

Grid peaks by year

First peak, Mount Washington, August 31st, 1988.  I'm the one on the right in the purple shirt, don't I look thrilled!

Last peak, Mount Isolation, July 21st, 2016

Mount Washington as seen from Mount Monroe on a beautiful January day

Frozen bubble dome in the Black Brook along the Bondcliff Trail on a frigid February day

Mount Washington and its ravines on Valentines Day, Picture taken from the Wildcat Ridge Trail

Ice blasted summit cairns on Mount Madison during late March

Cross Cairn on the Mount Monroe Loop Trail on a beautiful summer day

Breaking out the Lend-A-Hand Trail on the shortest day of the year in December

Breaking out the Lincoln Brook Trail on one of my most tiring hikes 

 Tuckerman Ravine as seen from Harvard Rock off the Boott Spur Trail on a warm May day

Looking down the Crawford Path at Mount Monroe and Lakes of the Clouds

Presidential Range from Mount Pierce

One of my favorite places, Huntington Ravine

Central Gully in Huntington Ravine

Nice June day along the Alpine Garden

The Ridge of the Caps of Mount Jefferson

Davis Path near Boott Spur

Lakes of the Clouds Hut

The old coal cog descends the tracks with Mount Jefferson across the Great Gulf

Mount Jefferson as seen from the upper half of the abandoned Adams Slide Trail

Hawthorne Falls

Arrow Slide below Mount Hancock

Somewhere along the Nancy Pond Trail deep in the Pemi Wilderness

Cedar Brook Slide

The scary Cedar Brook Slide!

Mount Carrigain as seen from Shoal Pond

Throeau Falls Bridge

The old Black Brook Trestle

Starr King Trail

Redrock Ravine as seen from West Bond

Bondcliff Ridge

Old railroad ties on the Wilderness Trail

I see dead things, Moose skull on the Monster Slide of Hellgate Ravine

Bondcliff as seen from the Monster Slide

West Bond's talus field heading down into Redrock Ravine

Bear Pond

Carin characters along the Franconia Ridge Trail with Kinsman Ridge in view across the notch

Classic Franconia Ridge shot

Lincoln Slide

Lincoln Slide zoom-in from Owl's Head Slide

Greenleaf Hut on a cold winter day

Presidential Range zoom-in from Little Haystack

Boondcliff and Hellgate Ravine

Route for the final hike!

Elevation profile for Grid & NH 4K #1000


Grid Spreadsheet

Post Grid : With my mom and dad on Mount Washington, exactly 28 years to the day of our first 4K, on Mount Washington (August 31st, 2016).  They can't hike anymore because of injuries and health issues, so they drove up to meet me :) 

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