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View Full Version : Shortest Continuous Footpath of the New Hampshire 4000'ers



Tim Seaver
04-09-2004, 09:36 PM
The Challenge: Design the shortest possible route connecting all 48 New Hampshire 4000 foot peaks in an uninterrupted footpath. A minimum of road travel and backtracking win extra style points. ("Dead-end" spur trails won't be considered backtracking)

I'd be curious if anyone knew of or could conceive a shorter path than the following:

( I haven't manually added up the mileage per the AMC guide, but tracing it in the National Geographic TOPO program gave +52,000 feet and about 215 miles - it's probably 10% more than that.)

Start: Mt Cabot TH (if open)

1. Mt. Cabot

Backroads, Rt. 2 to Waumbek TH

2. Mt. Waumbek

Rt. 2 to Dolly Copp Road

Dolly Copp Road to Rt. 16

North on Rt. 16 to Stony Brook TH

3. Mt. Moriah

4. Middle Carter

5. South Carter

6. Carter Dome

7. Wildcat Mt.

8. Wildcat "D"

Ski slope to Rt. 16

North on Rt. 16 to Great Gulf TH

9. Mt. Madison

10. Mt. Adams

11. Mt. Jefferson

12. Mt. Washington

13. Mt. Isolation

14. Mt. Monroe

15. Mt. Eisenhower

16. Mt. Pierce

17. Mt. Jackson

18. Mt. Tom

19. Mt. Field

20. Mt. Willey

Backtrack to A-Z trail, over to Lend-a-Hand Jct.

21. Mt. Hale

22. Mt. Zealand

23. West Bond

24. Mt. Bond

25. Bondcliff

26. South Twin

27. North Twin

28. Mt. Galehead

29. Mt. Garfield

Backtrack to Franconia Brook trail

30. Owl's Head

Lincoln Brook Trail to Franconia Brook Trail to Wilderness Trail to Stillwater Jct.

Desolation Trail

31. Mt Carrigain

Descend Signal Ridge, access Sawyer Pond Trail, Forest Roads to Kancamangus Highway

32. Mt. Passaconaway

33. Mt. Whiteface

34. Middle Tripyramid

35. North Tripyramid

Descend North Slide to Livermore Road

Access Tecumseh Trail

36. Mt. Tecumseh

Continue over Tecumseh summit, descend to Tripoli Road

Up Tripoli Road to Osceola TH

37. Mt. Osceola

38. East Osceola

Greeley Ponds Trail to Kanc, uphill to Hancock TH

39. South Hancock

40. Mt. Hancock

On descent, take Cedar Brook Trail to Wilderness Trail to Osseo Trail

41. Mt. Flume

42. Mt. Liberty

43. Mt. Lincoln

44. Mt. Lafayette

Descend Greenleaf Trail to Kinsman Ridge TH

45. Mt. Cannon

46. North Kinsman

47. South Kinsman

Kinsman Ridge Trail south to Beaver Brook TH

48. Mt. Moosilauke - FINISH

rox
04-12-2004, 10:35 PM
Shouldn't you hike the roads, so that it is truly the "shortest continuous 'footpath' "? Did you consider bushwhacking? Or are you watching time?

Get a hold of one of your IE (Ind. Eng.) buddies and run the "traveling salesman" evaluation - must be some software out there that ties in with GPS data.

Happy trails!

(winter hike?)

RoySwkr
04-12-2004, 11:35 PM
Interestingly, this came up in the infamous rules discussion last year. The distances cited in the article would have to be adjusted to add 2 peaks.

Originally posted by Spencer
Personally I am in favor of the Diretissima approach. I've brought this up several times before and I even planned the trip a couple of years ago. See Appalachia Dec. 71 for a recount of Reverand Folsom's adventure...

Tim Seaver
04-13-2004, 06:20 AM
Shouldn't you hike the roads, so that it is truly the "shortest continuous 'footpath' "?

Yes, that's the idea...I should have specified that.

Bushwhacking would certainly be allowed.

spencer
04-13-2004, 06:34 AM
Thanks Roy for beating me to the punch...

Rev. Folsom didn't allow for bushwhacking b/c there is no good way to measure distances. He also wasn't out to break or set any records.

Later today, I'll post his order of peaks. One big difference I see off the bat is to head over to Carter-Wildcats from Jefferson (I think).

His route was 240 miles without bushwhacking. As Roy said, you'll have to add a bit to include Bondcliff and Galehead.

I ran some Arc scripts a couple of years ago on the current trails system and couldn't come up with a shorter route than Rev. Folsom's with the necessary additions.

That being said, I'm hoping to do the trip this June. I won't be running it as I assume you will, Tim.

Spencer

Papa Bear
04-13-2004, 08:31 AM
I suggest as a first approximation you plug in the locations and minimize the straiht line distances connecting them (the "all bushwhack" scenario). Run it through a traveling salesman program. You may be very surprised if you start with this since the program won't have your biases about what "must" be the best way.

You might get some interesting bushwhacks out of this, worthy of a Guy Waterman. Consider the segment around the Pemi: Flume, Liberty, Lincoln, Lafayette, Garfield then straight to Galehead (up the back side) then straight to North Twin, South Twin and then straight over to West Bond (that would be a cool bushwhack), Bond, Bondcliff (straight - no following the ridge) then straight to Willey (that one may be a technical rock climb), Field, Tom, etc. Throw in Owls Head somewhere. You get the idea. Pretty wild. Oops, forgot Zealand - whatever, the program will get them all.

Then "smooth" it out using trails when a BW is unreasonable.

Another similar math problem: minimize not the route length but the total elevation gain! That might be a bit more attractive.

I'd be very interested if doing it with a program rather than using our collective experience might result in a route we would never had throught of.

Pb

Tim Seaver
04-13-2004, 11:38 AM
You might get some interesting bushwhacks out of this, worthy of a Guy Waterman.

I am sure a very interesting route could be constructed using only bushwhacks which would be shorter mileage-wise, but what I am really after is the most efficient way to tie all 48 peaks together (using primarily the established trails) without an undue amount of thrashing.

RoySwkr
04-14-2004, 10:32 AM
Originally posted by spencer
Rev. Folsom didn't allow for bushwhacking b/c there is no good way to measure distances.

I haven't read that article since it first came out but as I recall he was also afraid of imitators getting lost. The "shortest" route would probably be all bushwhack as just about every trail has minor twists. The (summer) orienteering rule of thumb is that a trail route is maybe 4X as fast as a bushwhack of similar length, and I'm sure there are thick and steep areas in NH where an even greater factor would apply.

I ran some Arc scripts a couple of years ago on the current trails system and couldn't come up with a shorter route than Rev. Folsom's with the necessary additions.

Didn't the article also say there was a slightly shorter route and challenge you to find it?

spencer
04-14-2004, 11:34 AM
Yes, he did say there was a slightly shorter route. I can't remember the details, but it came up when I ran the scripts, but it didn't change the order of things.

He also said he did a short bushwhack from the Ravine Lodge to his car. I wasn't around the Lodge back then, but I've been there more than enough times to know that there isn't a bushwhack there now...

Here is his order of peaks as I promised...

cabot
waumbek
jefferson
madison
moriah
m carter
s carter
carter dome
wildcat A
wildcat D (these differ b/c of the change in elevations, but it won't make any difference to length)
isolation
washington
monroe
eisenhower
pierce
tom
field
willey
carrigain
passaconaway
whiteface
s trip
n trip
tecumseh
osceola
e osceola
hancock
s hancock
boncdliff
bond
w bond
zealand
hale
zealand
s twin
galehead
n twin
s twin
owl's head
garfield
lafayette
lincoln
liberty
flume
cannon
n kinsman
s kinsman
moosilauke

spencer

Jack Waldron
04-14-2004, 12:06 PM
Spencer,

Adams and Jackson are missing from the list. I'd assume that Jackson should follow Pierce and Adams should follow Jefferson.

spencer
04-14-2004, 12:28 PM
woops..

You are correct Jack...

Tim Seaver
04-14-2004, 01:52 PM
zealand
hale
zealand
s twin
galehead
n twin
s twin

This section has me a bit confused. :)

Can you detail his route per the trails used from Guyot to Owl's Head?

spencer
04-14-2004, 02:04 PM
You guys want information AND you want it correct? what do you expect?

just kidding, that's another error on my part. Put the "Galehead" after the second S. Twin and you'll have a workable copy.

I don't have the book in front of me....

spencer

Tim Seaver
04-14-2004, 02:35 PM
The good Reverend's route does indeed appear to be about 9 miles or so shorter, but with about 7000' additional climbing. I was incorrect in my first post about the elevation gain...here is what I have so far, but have to double-check against the guide at some point:

Folsom Route: 73,810' gain, 214 miles

My Route: 66,856' gain, 225 miles

The actual mileage is probably a bit longer on both, which would jive with the Rev's claim of 240 miles. Fun stuff to play with!

Papa Bear
04-14-2004, 03:10 PM
Save some distance doing Owl's Head

I think you would you save a little distance if you went

...
Galehead
Garfield
(Franconia Brook Tr, Lincoln Brook Tr)
Owl's Head
(Lincoln slide)
Lafayette
Lincoln
...

etc.

This saves going down to OH and back by using the Lincoln Slide (which I asssume was a standard route in Folsom's day). Looks shorter on the map. Let's plug in the numbers:

Folson as remembered by Spencer:
(from Galehead Hut)
Twin Br. Tr. (to 13 Falls) - 2.7 miles
Lincoln Br. Tr. (to OW slide) - 3.5
Lincoln Br. Tr. (back) - 3.5
Franconia Br. Tr. (to Garfield) - 2.2
Garfield Ridge Tr. (to Laf) - 4.4

Total 16.3 (omitting up and back to OW summit which is common.)

Lincoln Slide method:
(from Galehead Hut)
Garfield Ridge Tr. (to Garfield) - 3.1
Franconia Br. Tr (to 13 Falls) - 2.2
Lincoln Br. Tr (to OH slide) - 3.5
Lincoln Br. Tr (back to Lincoln slide) - 1.0
Lincoln Slide - 1.5
Franconia Ridge Tr. (to laf) - .5

Total: 11.8 (omitting up and back to OW summit which is common)

Saves 4.5 miles!

One other thing: Tim, if you run the numbers backwards what does that do to the elvation gain? Just wondering.

Pb

spencer
04-14-2004, 03:39 PM
The Franconia Slide was not mentioned as a possibility in 1971, so I have to assume it was not an official trail

a big point to remember here is Folsom's data only matters if you stick to official trails with no bushwhacking.

here again, we run into questions of defining the game....

spencer

Papa Bear
04-14-2004, 04:51 PM
Spencer

There's no question that you need to agree on rules as to what routes are allowed or not.

The reason the Lincoln Slide comes into the picture is that it was the traditional route to OH before the Lincoln Br. Trail and Franconia Br. Trail were even built. So it is not "just another bushwhack". Check This 1932 map (http://docs.unh.edu/NH/frcn32se.jpg) .

And in fact my 1966 AMC Franconia Map doesn't show the Twin Brook Trail as being there, although the Franconia and Lincoln Br. Trails are there by then. So I'm not sure what Folsom's route was in 1971. He may have had to go all the way to Garfield before going down to OH and back. Anyone know when the Twin Brook Trail was built?

Come to think of it the Owl's Head slide and so called Owl's Head path at the top are not "official" trails either, even today (check your WMG). Certainly they are not on the 1966 map. They are not maintained "officially" by the AMC and were at one time considered bushwhacks themselves.

Pb

Mohamed Ellozy
04-14-2004, 04:57 PM
Originally posted by Papa Bear
Anyone know when the Twin Brook Trail was built? From The 4000-Footers of the White Mountains by Steve Smith and Mike Dickerman:
1968: Twin Brook Trail from S opened by AMC, providing access to Galehead Hut and South Twin from the Pemi Wildernesss.

spencer
04-16-2004, 07:59 AM
I happened to remember my copy today, so here is his exact route from Galehead to the notch:

Galehead to OH via Twin Brook and Lincoln Brook.
Back to 13 Falls. Franconia brook and Garfield Ridge to Garfield.
Garfield to L, L, L, F and back to Falling Waters.
Down to the road.

From OH up to the ridge via the Lincoln Slide would have required significant backtracking to get Garfield. Maybe that's why he avoided it, even if it was a trail then.

Let me clarify another point I may have been confusing about.
He ascended and descended Beaver Brook Trail on Moosilauke since going to the road via the lodge would have required a short bushwhack. He says that the newest AMC map of the time showed that the access road went within 1/10 of a mile to the lodge but not all the way to it.

So, he must be referring to the zig-zag path from the typical lodge parking down the slope to the front door (which may not have been on the map). That of course is silly... I don't believe the delivery entrance (road that approaches the lodge from the downslope side of the leach field) was built that early, and thus there would not have been a viable route on the map.

spencer

Papa Bear
04-16-2004, 08:43 AM
Originally posted by spencer
I happened to remember my copy today, so here is his exact route from Galehead to the notch:

Galehead to OH via Twin Brook and Lincoln Brook.
Back to 13 Falls. Franconia brook and Garfield Ridge to Garfield.
Garfield to L, L, L, F and back to Falling Waters.
Down to the road.

From OH up to the ridge via the Lincoln Slide would have required significant backtracking to get Garfield. Maybe that's why he avoided it, even if it was a trail

spencer

Actually that was not my suggestion. I suggested doing Garfield first, then down to OH viw Franconia Br. and Lincoln Br. Trails , then after sumitting OH. go up the Lincoln slide. The only backtracking would be the short jaunt over to Laf and back.

An even shorter route might be to continue over to Laf from Garfield, then down the Lincoln Slide, do OH, back up the Lincoln slide and then continue along the ridge.

This is all pretty moot since he seemed pretty anal about doing ANY bushwhacks if he didn't consider that little shortcut on the way down from the Moose.

BUT, a modern day trekker like Tim or yourself can certainly set their own rules (more or less like Cavedog did for his exploit). And the next guy can set new rules, etc. The trick is to set rules that are transparent, and appealing enough that the next , and the next will say: "well, that makes sense, I'll do it that way".

My point about the Lincoln Slide is it's an obvious route. Cavedog used it, and Frodo/Stinkyfeet were going to use it if they hadn't run out of daylight on that day.

Or put it another way: if I'm going to redo the Folsom trek, I have to first have to add 2 peaks. What else makes sense to make this rational and appealing - certainly don't skip that tiny section on Moose - well, what else?

At least that's what I would do if I were to consider this trek. And I might - after a few other things like the NE FF and the Torngat 5Ks.

Pb

RoySwkr
04-19-2004, 02:34 PM
Originally posted by Papa Bear
This is all pretty moot since he seemed pretty anal about doing ANY bushwhacks if he didn't consider that little shortcut on the way down from the Moose.

BUT, a modern day trekker like Tim or yourself can certainly set their own rules (more or less like Cavedog did for his exploit).

...
Or put it another way: if I'm going to redo the Folsom trek, I have to first have to add 2 peaks. What else makes sense to make this rational and appealing - certainly don't skip that tiny section on Moose - well, what else?

The distinction to make is that Rev. Folsom was trying for SHORTEST DISTANCE, and if you allow bushwhacks the shortest distance is near 100% bushwhack although it would take much longer. He actually hiked this route in sections over a year so elapsed time was not a concern.

If Tim's goal is SHORTEST TIME, he can do all the bushwhacks he wants but that probably means almost none.

ColdRiverRun
01-13-2012, 08:25 AM
This is a good one! I'm going to bump it since 90%+ of the members here weren't members when this was discussed. Should be fun for people to think about.

BethW
07-05-2012, 04:52 PM
Should anyone be interested, my husband and I ran a modified TSP program in Matlab on the 48 4K footers in the WMNF. I'm not going to claim this is the best TSP solution - just what we came up with out of interest in the problem.

Open Circuit Loop (http://whisperingbrookvacation.com/hiking/direttissima/openLoop.pdf)

Closed Circuit Loop (http://whisperingbrookvacation.com/hiking/direttissima/closedLoop.pdf)

Edit: To be clear - this is a theoretical route and was calculated mathematically with straight lines to the peaks. No trails involved and I haven't looked yet to see if it's even possible (are some sections impassable?). The real deal is certainly longer than 181 miles.




I suggest as a first approximation you plug in the locations and minimize the straight line distances connecting them (the "all bushwhack" scenario). Run it through a traveling salesman program. You may be very surprised if you start with this since the program won't have your biases about what "must" be the best way.

Tim Seaver
07-05-2012, 05:12 PM
Very cool, Beth. Splitting the Presidentials into two "pieces" and ascending Jefferson via Caps Ridge is something that didn't occur to me - this route completely removes the section between Jefferson and Washington. If it's really only 181+ miles this way, that's pretty amazing, even if there was an elevation gain penalty of some sort for "double-dipping" up and over the Prezzies .

EDIT : Castle Ridge might be the shorter way, I haven't measured.

Chip
07-05-2012, 06:14 PM
:o uh...anyone wanna let Farmer know ?

Congrats to Tim on the original work and to Beth on the TSP. Cool stuff.

bikehikeskifish
07-05-2012, 06:31 PM
I'm kind of disappointed neither Tim nor Ryan took up my 100 Mile, 49,500 foot route to Mt. Washington challenge ;)

Tim

Jeff List
07-05-2012, 09:41 PM
Should anyone be interested, my husband and I ran a modified TSP program in Matlab on the 48 4K footers in the WMNF. I'm not going to claim this is the best TSP solution - just what we came up with out of interest in the problem.

Open Circuit Loop (http://whisperingbrookvacation.com/hiking/direttissima/openLoop.pdf)

Closed Circuit Loop (http://whisperingbrookvacation.com/hiking/direttissima/closedLoop.pdf)


The open circuit route is pretty close to Mats Roing's route, including the Presis split, which is pretty interesting.

Of course all the bushwacking required for the open circuit route might just be a little time consuming. ;-)

A close approximation of the open circuit route, but using trails (mostly), and the Castle tr., comes to about 237 miles with 82k of elevation gain.

TDawg
07-06-2012, 07:13 AM
I'm kind of disappointed neither Tim nor Ryan took up my 100 Mile, 49,500 foot route to Mt. Washington challenge ;)

Tim

Ha, I remember this. The route would have to be modified today with Rocky Branch and Dry River trails in the state that they are. :(

Chip
07-09-2012, 08:43 AM
Is there a simple listing of all "standard" FKTs ? I found this; http://fastestknowntime.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=mountains&action=display&thread=42

I'm sure some here might know off hand. Not that I'm planning on breaking any records, but I forget which threads here have included finishes.

BTW Tim Seaver, this is one of the best WMNH pics I've seen:

http://home.comcast.net/~pbakwin/fkt/TimSeaver_1.jpg