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NH4K - Full Franconia Ridge Traverse (ADVANCED)

  • May 4, 2013 · 7:00 AM

Organizer: Joe Ciarcia[masked]


Because of the advanced nature of this hike (steep climb, above treeline travel, lots of miles, and lots of elevation gain) all potential participants will be wait listed. The limit for this trip will be 10 people. Only sign-up if you have similar experiences this winter and have been actively in the past 2 months. I will let people know if they will be added to the trip within 24-48 hours of them joining the wait list.


Read the entire description before you RSVP and answer all questions that are part of the RSVP. Failure to answer them will result in your removal from this event.

If you RSVP from a mobile device the questions may not show up - be sure to use a computer to update your RSVP so you can answer them (go back to the event page, click change "RSVP", click "YES", then answer them.

Your safety, and the safety of the group, is the most important thing. If you underestimate the demands of this event; overestimate your experience, knowledge, skills or abilities; or come unprepared you put yourself or others at risk – consider this before you decide to participate.


What we're doing...

The plan is to traverse the whole Franconia Ridge and we will hit four of the 4,000 footers in NH along the way - Flume (#25 @ 4,328'), Liberty (#18 @ 4,459'), Little Haystack (4,760'), Lincoln (#7 @ 5,089'), Truman (5,020'), and Lafayette (#6 @ 5,260') along the way.

Lafayette is the highest peak in the Franconia Ridge - there are stunning views of the Bonds and the Pemigewasset Wilderness Area from its summit and the open ridge between Little Haystack and Lafayette. While this route would be packed with people in the summer, you can expect to see a lot fewer people during the winter.

We will be climbing up the Liberty Spring trail to the Franconia Ridge Trail. We will head south on the Franconia Ridge Trail and grab our first peak of the day, Liberty. From there we will continue southwest along the Franconia Ridge Trail to Flume.  At Flume, we will retrace our steps over Liberty and continue north along the Franconia Rdige Trail. We will hit Little Haystack which will provide us a wonderful view of Lincoln. Continuing north along the ridge we will hit our final peak, Lafayette. From Lafayette we will use the Old Bridle Path (stopping by the Green Leaf Hut for a quick visit) to return to our cars.

Guests are not permitted - all participants must be members of the Random Group of Hikers.

Dogs - Dogs are permitted provided they are experienced hikers.


What to bring...

Be sure to look at the gear information listed below - you will need things like warm layers, wind protection, goggles, snow shoes, and traction Microspikes/Hillsounds, MOUNTAINEERING CRAMPONS, AND MOUNTAINEERING SNOWSHOES ARE REQUIRED. If you do not have all 3 of these items, you will be turned away at the trailhead. While warmer days are upon us in Boston, there's still TONS of snow up north. The dramatic temperature swings this time of year can take a trail from hard packed to ice to mush in a matter of hours. I will update everyone if weather conditions dictate that we bring more than what is described here. If you don't know what to wear and/or bring with you or have any questions contact me.

Do not rely on others to have extra items to share with you at the meeting spot or on the trail. If you don't have the required items you put yourself and everyone else at risk. You should know how to use all of your equipment - test and adjust it prior to this trip.


Trip Summary

We start as a group, hike as a group, and finish as a group. Our pace will be that of the slowest hiker. This trip isn't for you if you are faster than the group and don't want to stay with us, if you want to head off on your own, or if you are slower than the group and expect us to constantly wait for you.

On this moderate pace (~1.5 MPH) trip we will hike about 14.0 miles and climb about 6000 feet. It should take an average hiker about 10 hours to complete this trip (this does not include time for rest breaks).

This event is considered to be ADVANCED because of the pace, distance, and elevation gain. We could alter our plans because of fatigue, weather, and/or other conditions and there is no guarantee that we will complete the entire event as described here (i.e. we might not reach the summit).

I did my research using the Appalachian Mountain Club's "White Mountain Guide", a trail map, and the Internet. You need to become self-reliant by becoming familiar with the route, terrain, and potential hazards since you are ultimately responsible for your own safety.



Mountain weather is subject to rapid changes and extreme conditions. Dangerous weather conditions will cancel - I will post an update and/or send an email to all confirmed participants a day or two ahead of time. We will assess travel and weather conditions during the hike and make changes to our planned trip as necessary.



We will meet in the parking lot for the Old Bridle Path trailhead. Since this is where we will finish we will leave a few cars here and then drive to where we will start the hike. According to Google Maps this spot is about 138 miles from Boston and it should take about 2 hours 11 minutes to drive there.

While carpooling is encouraged you are responsible for coordinating your own rides. Use the comments section below to communicate with others who may also be looking to share a ride. If you do share a ride be sure to share the expenses - suggested donations per person are $20 from Boston MA, $15 from Salem/Nashua NH, and $10 from Concord NH.


Random Group of Hikers Disclaimer

As a condition of your voluntary participation in this activity you acknowledge and agree to the following: this activity involves inherent risks that can cause property damage, injury, illness, disability, and/or death to participants and/or others; you assume all risk associated with this activity; you are responsible for having the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities, clothing, and equipment to safely participate in this activity; you know and will follow the Hiker Responsibility Code; the organizer(s) of this activity are volunteers; and you release, hold harmless, and indemnify the organizer(s) and all members of this group from any and all claims for property damage, injury, illness, disability, and/or death - including those caused by negligence and/or other reasons.

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  • Joe C.

    Great to see everyone yesterday, it was indeed EPIC! Perfect conditions, great visibility! Here's the data from the GPS if anyone is interested.

    May 5, 2013

  • David D.

    Epic hike!

    1 · May 5, 2013

  • Joe C.

    Opened this hike up to dogs, provided they are experienced hikers.

    May 2, 2013

  • Kenny

    Dying to do this one!

    April 27, 2013

  • Chris W.

    Just did this as an over night starting at Lincoln woods. Great trip Have fun!!! No need for snow shoes...

    April 22, 2013

    • Joe C.

      Hi Chris, there's still a lot of snow up there! While it may have been hard pack for your trip, a few hours of sun on a 50º day at the summit can take the trail from hard pack to post hole hell. Rain (which is predicted for this week) can also loosen the sow pack if it doesn't freeze. We may end up not needing them, especially since this is a little under 2 weeks away so there's plenty of opportunity for melting (and it looks like we're going to have a few days this week with temps in the higher 40s to low 50s at the higher elevations). I'll re-evaluate the gear requirements the night before based on recent trail reports from

      Love the after sunset tent shots from your trip!

      April 22, 2013

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