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The winter of 2003-2004 has seen some amazing accomplishments in the mountains of New England. These started immediately after Christmas, when Sue Johnston and Bob Williams embarked on an ambitious attempt to do all 48 of the White Mountains 4,000 footers on successive days. In late January Thom Davis, who had started out with them, finished the list in slightly over one month. Then at the end of February two more remarkable achievements took place: on the 28th Sue and Bob, together with Jeffrey Silveira, did all five Vermont 4,000 footers in a day, and on the 29th Tim Seaver did a modified hut traverse in just under 19 hours.

That winter there were also two achievements that, while not records, deserve to be recorded here. On January 18th Brutus the Newf was the first dog to complete the New Hampshire 4,000 footers in winter, with Kevin Rooney, his human hiking companion. And on March 4th Lyn Beattie and Ed Robertson were the third and fourth people to complete the NH 200 Highest peaks list in winter.

Vermont Winter 4,000 Footers in a Day

On February 28th Sue Johnston, Bob Williams and Jeffrey Silveira (Sir Edmund on the boards) climbed all five Vermont 4,000 footers. As far as I am aware this is the first time that all five peaks have been climbed on a single winter day, they took 14:50 (including driving time between mountains). The total distance was about 20 miles, with slightly less than half the distance on ski slopes. Lots of butt sliding (known technically as glissading!) down black diamonds apparently provided a lot of fun, as well as great speed! (Since writing the above I have received an email from Sue in which she says: "Really the only peak that the butt sliding may have saved a teeny bit of time was the Killington black diamond. On the other peaks, I could've run down them faster in summer, so I still think it's faster (for me) in summer.")

Tim Seaver Does a Modified 24 Hour Winter Hut Traverse (twice!!)

Early in the winter Tim Seaver, who currently holds the record for the fastest time for the New Hampshire 4,000 Footers (in summer) floated the idea, on the bulletin boards, of attempting a winter hut traverse. Many, myself included, were pretty sure that it could not be done.

On February 29th he set out to attempt an Open Hut Solo Traverse, going from Carter Notch Hut, via Zealand Hut, to Lonesome Lake Hut, in 18 hours and 58 minutes. It is essentially a full hut traverse without Madison Hut, an amazing accomplishment in an amazing winter!

A couple of weeks later he repeated the feat with a friend, identified only as Hiker "X", in just a shade under 24 hours (23:41!).

Ed Robertson and Lyn Beattie Finish NH 200 Highest

On March 4th Ed Robertson and Lyn Beattie completed the New Hampshire 200 Highest peaks list in winter. Little has been written about their exploit other than an email with subject Congratulations to Lyn and Ed sent out by Ed Hawkins to many of his hiking friends. I have reproduced it with his permission,

The New Hampshire 200 highest list is one of the more obscure peakbagging lists. The NH 3,000 footer list has a little over 170 peaks, and once people starting completing it they sought to extend it. The additional peaks are either all, or almost all (I have not seen it myself), above 2,900 feet, many are in very remote parts of the state, with interesting access problems in winter.

Both of them had finished the NH 3,000 footers in 2002. Lyn was the first woman to finish both lists.

Brutus the Newf Finishes Winter Fours

There was also a canine first completion this winter, as on January 18th Brutus the Newf became the first dog to complete the Winter Fours on Mount Pierce. The Four Thousand Footer Committee gives patches to dogs, "assuming of course that they (or their human representative) pay the application fee."

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