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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Wheeling, WV

    Default NH White Mountains

    I'm looking to hike the AT through the White Mountains National Forest. How sparse are camp sites up there. Do you have to use the hut system? What would be the best guide book to puchase before the trip and what would be the best to carry along on the trip. Any other suggestions?


  2. #2
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Marlboro, MA

    Default Tenting inthe Whites

    The Hut system in convienent. But, with some planning, you certainly don't have to stay there. The basic rule is no camping above treeline, unless there is a couple of feet of snow cover. So, just plan your trip so you are off the exposed ridges at the end of the day. There are stealth sites around if you just look for them.

    Guide Books? Well, most AT hikers don't carry guide books, just maps. (And the Companion, or Wingfoot, and maybe the AT Data Book)

    Maps? That depends on your agenda. Certainly the AT map is sufficient if you just want to hike the AT. But, if you are like me, you might like to bag some of the nearby peaks as you go by. So, in addition to the AT maps, I carried the AMC White Mountian Maps for the Franconia Ridge and the Presidential Ridge. If you want a guide book to go along with the maps, then buy the AMC White Mountain Guide.

  3. #3

    Default Biggest Problem Stretch...

    The biggest "problem area" for finding a site that will NOT incur you lots of elevation loss is between Mt. Pierce (Clinton) and Mt. Madison. It is primarily above treeline and UNLESS you stay at Lake of the Clouds hut, (sort of half way) you have a kind of big push, lots of hiking above treeline, (which is NICE in GOOD weather) and some fairly decent elevation gain. The problem with above treeline hiking is that you CAN run into weather that is horrible and you are fully exposed to the wind and weather and MUST descend to find a legal and SAFE place to camp. There are options if you choose NOT to stay at the huts but you will lose elevation gain.

    Here are some options:

    Do a work for stay at Lake of the Clouds..the positives, a place to stay, no elevation loss.The draw back is that you are going to have to put up with a lot of out of shape tourists, dressed to the nines, in the latest of outdoor clothing, who have come up to hike "the mighty Mt. Washington" and think the hut system and crowds that congregate around it, is the epitome of THE backcountry experience.

    You could stay at "the dungeon", it's the dreary basement at Lake of the Clouds...I believe the cost is $10...I do not know if they have a cut rate for thru's....the draw back it's not the greatest of accommodations, dank but you won't have to deal with as many tourists.

    You could head down the Dry River Trail (south of Mt. Washington) and find a spot, you'll lose some elevation gain but it might be your only option if you hit some bad weather.

    You could head down the Great Gulf trail (north of Mt. Washington) and find a spot, again you'll lose some elevation gain but it gives you a bad weather option.

    Another option is to push to get to either The Perch (tentplatforms, great water and a shelter) ...located down off Gulfside, northwest of Mt. Jefferson . Other options in this area are Gray Knob and Crag Camp (both Randoph Mountain Club enclosed facilities run on a caretaker basis). Again you will lose
    some serious elevation gain there. (Tentplatforms at the Perch are $5, and the Gray Knob and Crag Camp are both $10.) ALL three of these sites are shown on the NH-VT AT maps.

    If you are feeling REALLY strong you can push to Valley Way...tentplatforms just south of the Madison Hut. (free)

    Once you descend from Mt. Madison about 2/3 of the way down you can camp at Osgood Tentplatforms for free.

    Now I am NOT advocating illegal camping but you MIGHT want keep some spots in thought for JUST in case. I'd always put personal safety above all else....I have heard that a hostel in Glencliff has a list of some stealth sites....you might want to keep those in mind. It's a tough area to try and find campsites especially on the Crawford Path (Mt. Pierce (Clinton) to Washington) and Gulfside (Washington to Madison Hut).

    Enjoy the Whites...they really are spectacular. I wish you great weather!!!

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