FKT: Rich Gambale, Arlette Laan - New Hampshire 4000 Footers (NH) - 2020-01-21

Route variation
self powered, winter
Gender category
Mixed-gender team
Start date
Finish date
Total time
29d 3h 58m 0s

We completed a self-supported winter thru hike of the NH 48 4000 footers or winter ‘direttissima’ on January 21st 2020 in 29 days, 3 hours and 58 minutes. As far as we know we’re the first ones to do this and we’re super excited to have been able to complete it. With many variables like weather and trail conditions we didn’t know how it would play out. The hardest adventure we’ve done together and we’re so excited!!!
We each had done two unsupported Direttissima’s in summer and wanted to test our skills sets in a winter one.
We tested gear and modified our summer routes to come up with one that would give us a better chance at success. Lesser traveled trails with steep rock scrambles or icy ladders were by-passed when possible. The Presidential range was done early on to take advantage of a good weather forecast and to prevent having to possibly wait for days for a safe weather window.
We anticipated being stuck in the tent for many days due to snowstorms, -20 air temperature and -40 windchills but that didn’t happen. The high winds made us wait for a day in the Presidentials, and Franconia ridge, and delayed our ascent of Moosilauke. We had 6 full sun days and 20 full cloudy days and 3 days with glimpses of sun. It snowed on us 65% of the time. We never fought or argued even when we were exhausted but there might have been whining or crying. We were both focused on achieving our goal and helping each other get there.
Some stats:
Start December 22, 2019, 11:58 am (photo date/time) Avalon Trail, Crawford Notch – End January 21, 2020, 3:56 pm (photo date/time) Beaver Brook Trail. Total time: 29 days, 3 hrs, 58 min.
We took three days off (one waiting out the wind, two when Arlette was sick) and no days off from December 29th til January 21st, 24 days straight.
No shower for 14 days (Rich), 15 (Arlette)
We slept in our tent for 22 nights
2 Nights in shelters, Imp and Sawyer Pond
1 Night in a motel in Gorham when we walked through town.
2 Nights in AMC huts, Zealand and Carter notch hut
2 Nights at a friend’s house near Gorham when Arlette was sick (not pre-arranged, random offer at the right time)
1 Night at the Highland Center when we walked by
Skied for 55 miles and pulled a 30 pound sled (Rich, he loved it!)
We cached food, skis and sled along the way and bought food along the way wherever available.
Our route comprised of trail, snow mobile trail, ski trails, and road.
We received trail magic 4 times, all on or near roads
We didn’t hike with anyone except for the last day when Rich’s dad surprised us at the trailhead

We love to hike. We like challenges, puzzles to figure out.
This was a challenge we weren’t sure we would be able to complete so we’re super excited that we did!