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  • Jan 12, 2013 · 8:00 AM

Organizer: Michael Blair @ (978)[masked]


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 climb to one of the 4,000 footers in NH - Isolation (#47 @ 4,004'). As its name implies, the remote location of this peak makes for a long day hike. Isolation is the highest peak of the Montalban Ridge, a subsidiary of the Presidentials, and offers stunning views of the Presidentials - one of the finest views in the White Mountains.

We will be using the Rocky Branch Trail and the Engine Hill Bushwhack (to avoid water crossings) to get to the Davis Path. From there we will head to the summit. We will follow the same route in reverse to get back to the trailhead. You may want to bring a small sled since some of the route down along the Rocky Branch Trail may offer some good sledding.

Be sure to look at the gear information listed below - you will need warm layers, wind protection, snow shoes, and traction among other things. Dig out the winter boots and put the hydration bladders away - it's winter. I will update everyone if weather conditions dictate that we bring more than what is described below. 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.

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

Dogs are not permitted on this hike - while I don't mind having them along in the summer they can sometimes cause problems in the winter while walking along narrow snow shoe paths or climbing icy sections.


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 (~2.0 MPH) out and back trip we will hike about 12 miles and climb about 2,800 feet. It should take an average hiker about 8 hours 30 minutes to complete this trip (adjusted for slower winter travel but this doesn't include time for rest/food breaks).

This event is considered to be INTERMEDIATE 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 at the Rocky Branch Trailhead which is located on the west side of Route 16 south of the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. According to Google Maps this spot is about 189 miles from Boston and it should take about 3 hours 13 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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  • Michael B.

    It seemed like there were a bunch of things going against us - a marginal weather forecast and a slippery parking lot - but it turned out to be a pretty nice day in the white mountains. The sun kept peaking through the clouds and the temperature was like a spring day (47 degrees). The last few winter hikes to Isolation have been brutally cold so this was a nice change.

    January 13, 2013

  • Amal

    After slipping and sliding to the trail head, this hike turned out to be one of the most pleasant I've been on. Warm temps and clear skies, who would've thought! Thanks to Monica and Michael for believing in the weather forecast and leading the trip. Thanks to everyone for patiently waiting for us at the start and to Ted for getting me there and back safely.

    1 · January 13, 2013

  • Larry P.

    thanks Michael and Monica for joining me on my Isolation hike };-)

    1 · January 13, 2013

  • Chris D.

    Thank you Michael and Monica for organizing this hike. What a wonderful surprise to have those outstanding views given the dreary weather forecast. Very impressed with those of you that hiked Waumbek the next day, very impressed.

    1 · January 13, 2013

  • 4KDiane

    Fabulous hike...thanks Monica & Michael for outstanding leadership, especially given the forecast. Nice group! Very grateful to those who broke out this trail.

    1 · January 13, 2013

  • Michael B.

    We are on. Be prepared with ways to stay dry should the weather forecast turn out to be 100% accurate. Snow shoes and microspikes (or hillsounds) are a must have. Trekking poles might help to since even though we will miss many of the river crossings with the bushwhack, we won't miss them all and the poles can help balance as you cross. A chance of rain or freezing rain before 11am, then a slight chance of rain showers between 11am and 4pm. Patchy fog after 9am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 42. West wind around 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

    1 · January 11, 2013

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