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  1. #1
    Senior Member Tim Seaver's Avatar
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    Question Shortest Continuous Footpath of the New Hampshire 4000'ers

    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
    You donít have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things ó to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated. - Edmund Hillary

  2. #2
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    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?)

  3. #3
    Senior Member RoySwkr's Avatar
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    Re: Shortest Continuous Footpath of the New Hampshire 4000'ers

    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...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Tim Seaver's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by Tim Seaver; 04-13-2004 at 06:22 AM.
    You donít have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things ó to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated. - Edmund Hillary

  5. #5
    Senior Member spencer's Avatar
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    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

  6. #6
    Senior Member Papa Bear's Avatar
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    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
    Last edited by Papa Bear; 04-13-2004 at 08:34 AM.
    Pb

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  7. #7
    Member BethW's Avatar
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    traveling salesman problem (TSP) route

    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

    Closed Circuit Loop

    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.



    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Bear View Post
    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.
    Last edited by BethW; 07-05-2012 at 09:55 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tim Seaver's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by Tim Seaver; 07-05-2012 at 07:16 PM.
    You donít have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things ó to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated. - Edmund Hillary

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    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    uh...anyone wanna let Farmer know ?

    Congrats to Tim on the original work and to Beth on the TSP. Cool stuff.
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  10. #10
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    I'm kind of disappointed neither Tim nor Ryan took up my 100 Mile, 49,500 foot route to Mt. Washington challenge

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  11. #11
    Member Jeff List's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BethW View Post
    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

    Closed Circuit Loop

    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.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Tim Seaver's Avatar
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    Whackin' and Efficiency

    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.
    You donít have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things ó to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated. - Edmund Hillary

  13. #13
    Senior Member RoySwkr's Avatar
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    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?

  14. #14
    Senior Member spencer's Avatar
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    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

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    Spencer,

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

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