The 4,000-Footers of the White Mountains. A Guide and History. By Steven D. Smith and Mike Dickerman. Bondcliff Books. 2001. $19.95.

This book, by two prolific White Mountain authors with extensive hiking experience, is the first to be devoted exclusively to the Four Thousand Footers. As such it will be of obvious interest to peak baggers, but also to all those who frequently hike among the higher peaks.

For each mountain there is an extensive description of the physical features (ridges, spurs, streams, ravines etc), a brief note on nomenclature, then a section on historical highlights arranged as a timeline. This is followed by a careful description of all the common approaches, with very useful comments to help select the best one for the reader's needs. This is followed by brief notes on the selection of a winter route, a very useful feature since optimal winter routes often differ from the summer ones. Finally there is a very good description of what can be seen from the summit.

I found the description of routes very interesting, as the authors describe many routes that few people think of using. How many people have approached Carter Dome or the Wildcats from the South from Carter Notch Road? This book will certainly encourage me to try trails that I had never thought of using.

The sections on winter routes are, as far as I know, unique. Authors of books on hiking in the Whites seem to ignore winter hikers almost completely (an exception is Steve Smith's recent book Snowshoe Hikes in the White Mountains, though much of it deals with easier trips).

I also found the the long historic notes sections very interesting, again this information is almost non-existent in other hiking books.

This is adapted from an article I wrote for the September 2001 issue of the Charles River Mud, the newsletter of the Boston Chapter of the AMC. I thank the Editor of the Mud and the Chair of the Boston Chapter for permission to use it here.