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If you spend much time with hikers you will probably have heard of the AMC 4,000 Footer Club and its lists of peaks. Let me introduce you to a few lists that are much less well known, and that you may find of interest.

Trailwrights List

Gene Daniel, in a posting, explains the genesis of the Trailwrights approach:

In any case, so far as the Trailwrights 72 Summits list is concerned, it was invented by Hal Graham because he wanted to have an excuse to make more hikes to summits above 4000 feet in New Hampshire - some old ones (e.g. the Carters, 6 peaks in all) and some new ones (Southwest Twin, West Osceola, etc.). He invented a game that fulfilled his particular interests and there are others who found it intriguing.

Many peakbaggers want to finish lists as fast as they can, and so often combine two or more peaks in a single trip. Hal Graham wanted the opposite, to spend as much time as he could hiking. So he added a rule, and modified the list.

His new rule was that you could only count one peak per trip. He also added 24 new peaks to the list that, while over 4,000 feet, did not meet the 4000 Footer Club's criterion of having a col at least 200 feet deep between a peak and its higher neighbor. It is not clear exactly what criterion he used, it seems to be 100 feet of col in general, with a less restrictive requirement for named "peaks" (some of which are more knobs than peaks!).

Almost by definition this list does not take you far afield, as all the added peaks are close to peaks on the original 4,000 Footer Club list. If you wish to climb in new areas, check the other lists.

Eric Savage's T3000 List

Eric Savage has put together a list of peaks which are above 3,000 feet and have trails to them (hence the "T" in "T3000"). His criteria for inclusion on the list are:

I have never heard anyone talk of it, but find it fascinating. It goes beyond the 4,000 footers, and does not require any bushwhacking. A great way to meet new hiking areas!

County Highpoints

Highpointers aim to reach the highest point of a group of geographic entities (countries, states, counties, you get the idea) by any means. The best known group in the United States is the State Highpointers Club, whose members aim to reach the highest point of each of the fifty states. Some of these highpoints are impressive mountains (Denali, Rainier, Whitney) while others are in the middle of corn fields in the mid-West.

County highpointers have a variety of goals. Amongst the commonest goals are either the absolute number of county highpoints, or completing all the counties in one or more states. My goal is to use these lists to add variety to my hiking diet, with no great motivation to reach any specific quantitative goal. I am presenting them to you in that spirit.

The lists for each state are available on the County Highpointers site. As you scroll down you will see a map of the USA, click on any county (or on its name if the name is off the map) and it will take you to a page that lists the highpoints of that state and gives one or more trip reports for each. A wonderful resource!!

I have a new site devoted to my highpointing adventures, and there is a section on my county highpoints, with descriptions (sometimes rather brief, at other times much longer) of those I have visited. I suggest that you spend some time exploring the lists, and see if you feel they might add to your hiking fun.

One of my most enjoyable short hiking trips was a four day highpointing trip to the Berkshires. Crossing over into neighboring New York I did three county highpoints, peaks that I had never heard of before. The weather was good, all had great views and all in all it was a wonderful trip. I would never have thought of visiting the area had I not looked at the county highpointing site.

One interesting thing that I noted is that different states show very different relations between the peakbagging and highpointing lists. In New Hampshire the 48 4,000 footers only give you two county highpoints, while in Vermont the five 4,000 footers give you four county highpoints!

Most Prominent Peaks

The prominence of a peak is the height to which it rises above the highest col connecting it to a higher neighbor. Peakbagging lists utilize prominence to differentiate between "a true peak" and "an insignificant bump". But having established that a given mountain is a true peak peakbagging lists rank solely by its elevation. The prominence lists, on the other hand, use prominence as their criterion for ranking peaks.

For a good discussion of prominence, with pointers to a variety of lists, see the prominence page on the county highpointers site. On this site you will find a list of the fifty most prominent peaks in New England. The fans of prominence like to call such lists "Fifty Finest", I find that an acceptably unidimensional view of what a "fine mountain" is.

One problem with the county highpoints lists is that in a flat county the highpoint will, not surprisingly, be a flat and uninteresting area. On the other hand a prominent peak, by definition, rises high above its surroundings.

Least Prominent Peaks

A frequent contributor to the VTFF bulletin board, who posts under the name of "stopher", has produced a list of the least prominent peaks in the White Mountains, check it out at New Hampshire Least Prominent Named Peaks. I suspect that the list is intended as a spoof on the many "serious" lists floating around, but he may well be serious. Some of the peaks on it are quite interesting, for the lover of arcane pieces of information, Ball Crag is the other named 6,000 footer in the Northeast!

More Lists

For the sake of completeness I will list here any other lists that I find, with minimal comments. If I learn more about any of these lists it may end up getting a section of its own!