, the four-thousand footers
(or "4ks") refers to a group of mountains
in New England
of interest in the sport of "peak-bagging
". Each peak is at least four thousand feet above sea level
, and also meets a more technical criterion of topographic prominence
Most often, the term "four-thousand footers" refers to the White Mountains Four-Thousand-Footers List established (and revised from time to time) by the Appalachian Mountain Club. This list of peaks may be referred to as the "Four-thousand footers of New Hampshire," or "The Four-thousand Footers of the White Mountains". The AMC calls it the White Mountains list, but most hikers call it the New Hampshire list because it does not include Old Speck (4,170 ft), located in Maine (and outside the White Mountain National Forest) but within the White Mountains.
The AMC also maintains a list of New England 4000-Footers, including peaks in Vermont and Maine (none in Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Rhode Island are tall enough to qualify). Other lists of 4000-footers, not maintained by the AMC, include the original set of four-thousand foot mountains for peak-bagging: the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks. Those who have climbed them all are Adirondack Forty-Sixers or just "46ers".
The AMC has revised its 4000-footer lists, as surveying became more accurate or the selection criteria were adjusted, with the White Mountains list growing from 46 peaks in the 1950s to 48 (unchanged in number since 1982). The proper inclusion or exclusion of several peaks is still a matter of some dispute.
The 48 lie in the White Mountain National Forest and within two of the northernmost counties of New Hampshire, namely Coos and Grafton counties. All peaks except those of Mount Washington, Mount Moosilauke and Cannon Mountain are on land owned by the Forest Service, and even these three are completely surrounded by it.
A "prominence" criterion is intended to exclude peaks which are considered local peaks of some larger mountain, rather than "independent" peaks. Prominence
is the vertical separation between a peak and the low point of the highest ridge connecting it to a higher peak. In other words, prominence is the minimum distance a hiker MUST descend before climbing to reach a higher peak.
For the AMC's 4000-Footer lists, the minimum prominence for inclusion on the list is 200 feet. Earlier versions of the list required either 300 feet of prominence or a quarter-mile of separation.
Four Thousand Footer club
A committee of the Appalachian Mountain Club
(AMC) served as a focus for settling on the criteria and collecting the information that verifies the peaks as meeting them; it also maintains a list of the Four Thousand Footer Club's "members": those who request recognition for having climbed all of the 48, in each case travelling by foot, at least between leaving a point on a car- or truck-accessible road and returning to that or another such point. The first of these recognitions was listed in 1958.
Some climbers undertake (usually after having completed the 48) to climb them within more stringent conditions. The club maintains a second list of those who climb each peak in winter (defined as beginning and ending the hike between the time and date of the winter solstice and the spring equinox.
Other variations on climbing the 48, not officially recorded, include:
- reaching the summits in a specific order (e.g., alphabetically or by elevation),
- reaching each summit on a moonlit night,
- reaching each summit from all four cardinal compass points,
- reaching each summit in the same winter,
- reaching each summit twelve times, once in each of the twelve months (but not necessarily twelve consecutive months) (As of 2007, seven climbers claim this)
- meeting various combinations of the above restrictions in the same climbs.
The New Hampshire list
The following is the current list of Four Thousand Footers of the White Mountains, along with their respective elevations (in feet), in descending order. Note that some of these names do not appear on maps, and some alternative names are indicated below.
- Washington: 6288 ft
- Adams: 5774 ft
- Jefferson: 5712 ft
- Monroe: 5384 ft
- Madison: 5367 ft
- Lafayette: 5260 ft
- Lincoln: 5089 ft
- South Twin: 4902 ft
- Carter Dome: 4832 ft
- Moosilauke: 4802 ft
- Eisenhower: 4780 ft
- North Twin: 4761 ft
- Carrigain: 4700 ft
- Bond: 4698 ft
- Middle Carter: 4610 ft
- West Bond: 4540 ft
- Garfield: 4500 ft
- Liberty: 4459 ft
- South Carter: 4430 ft
- Wildcat: 4422 ft
- Hancock: 4420 ft
- South Kinsman: 4358 ft ("South Peak")
- Field: 4340 ft
- Osceola: 4340 ft
- Flume: 4328 ft
- South Hancock: 4319 ft
- Pierce: 4310 ft
- North Kinsman: 4293 ft ("North Peak")
- Willey: 4285 ft
- Bondcliff: 4265 ft ("The Cliffs")
- Zealand: 4260 ft ("Zealand Ridge")
- North Tripyramid: 4180 ft ("North Peak")
- Cabot: 4170 ft
- East Osceola: 4156 ft ("East Peak")
- Middle Tripyramid: 4140 ft
- Cannon: 4100 ft
- Wildcat D: 4070 ft ("Wildcat Ridge")
- Hale: 4054 ft
- Jackson: 4052 ft
- Tom: 4051 ft
- Moriah: 4049 ft
- Passaconaway: 4043 ft
- Owl's Head: 4025 ft
- Galehead: 4024 ft
- Whiteface: 4020 ft
- Waumbek: 4006 ft
- Isolation: 4004 ft
- Tecumseh: 4003 ft
The New England list
This list consists of the New Hampshire list, plus the following:
4000-Footers in Maine:
4000-Footers in Vermont:
- Smith, Steven; Dickerman, Mike (2001). The 4,000 Footers of the White Mountains. Littleton: Bondcliff Books. ISBN 1-931271-01-1.
- Gene Daniell and Steven D. Smith (editors) (2003). AMC White Mountain Guide, 27th edition. Appalachian Mountain Club Books. ISBN 1-929173-22-9.