Wild Whites Ultramarathon Challenge 2003 - Tim Seaver
New Hampshire White Mountains - AMC 48 4000' peaks
Event
Location
Time
Leg Mileage/Total Mileage
Point Elevation/ Vertical Gain
Cumulative Elevation Gain
Notes
Event 1 - Presidential - Isolation Traverse Appalachia Trailhead 5:00 am - Sunday,
July 6, 2003
0/0 1306'/0' 0 My wife Elisabeth and son Isaac wish me well as I head off. Amazingly, Elisabeth will end up providing the bulk of my support solo, all while taking care of our six month old son. Although our friends and her parents provide some awesome support and relief on a few of the event days, sleep was as precious for her as it was for me during the entire challenge. Bravo, Elisabeth!
1. Mt. Madison 6:36 am 4.2/ 4.2 5366'/ + 4100' 4100'
2. Mt. Adams 7:20 am .9/ 5.1 5799'/ + 974'
(Low point Madison Hut 4825')
5074' Heavy fog and low visibility on the Airline Trail on the traverse from Mount Madison caused me to miss a cairn and get off-route below the summit of Mount Adams...fortunately I remembered missing the exact same turn during a winter hike a few years back and knew that if I went right that I could catch Lowe's Path to the summit of Adams without losing a significant amount of time.
3. Mt. Jefferson 8:13 am 2.0/ 7.1 5716'/ + 642'
(Low point Edmands Col 4938')
5716'
4. Mt. Washington 9:28 am 2.9/ 10 6288'/ + 1329'
(Low point Sphinx Col 4959')
7045' The same foggy conditions were to persist all the way to Mount Washington, where I met my support team for the first time. We were all happy to be ahead of schedule despite the poor visibility, and were happy that better weather was on the way. I grab some fresh food and supplies, some of which I stash at the Camel Trail Jct. on the descent to Boott Spur to pickup on my return route from Mt. Isolation.
5. Mt. Isolation 11:20 am 5.3/ 15.3 4003'/ + 153'
(Low point Isolation Trail East Jct. 3850')
7198' The initial section below treeline is a beautiful bunchberry lined gully with softly rounded boulders - a delight to encounter after the jagged rock of the Northern Presidentials. The view from Mt. Isolation is magnificent! I meet a few fellows at the summit , and enjoy pulling a 24 oz. bottle of water out of a pile of loose moss and sticks in front of them :) We take turns photographing each other with their camera.
6. Mt. Monroe 1:11 pm 5.0/ 20.3

5372'/ + 1985'
(First low point Isolation Trail East Jct. 3850')
(First high point Davis Path Jct. 5475'/ + 1625)
(Second low point Lake of the Clouds Hut 5012')
(Second high point Monroe Summit 5372'/ + 360')

9183'

The view of Mt. Monroe from the Camel Trail is particularly stunning.

7. Mt. Eisenhower 1:56 PM 2.3/ 22.6 4760'/ + 285'
(Low point Isolation Eisenhower Trail Jct. 4475')
9468'
8. Mt. Pierce ?:?? PM 1.5/ 24.1 4312' ????'
9. Mt. Jackson 3:10 PM 2.7/ 26.8

4052'/ +787'
(First low point Eisenhower/Pierce col. 4075')
(First high point Pierce Summit 4312'/ + 237')
(Second low point Mizpah Hut Hut 3777')
(Second high point Jackson Summit 4052'/ + 275')

10,255'
Webster-Jackson Trailend 4:06 PM - Total Event Time 11 hours 6 minutes 2.6/ 29.4 1900' 10,255' We are all psyched, almost an hour ahead of schedule, but know this is early in the game. I take the time for a thorough massage by Sierra with Arnica oil, and my legs are refreshed for the Willey Range.
(Massage and food at Crawford Notch)
Event 2 - Willey Range Crawford Depot Trailhead 4:46 PM 0/ 29.4 1900'/ 0 10,255' I am glad to be on the Willey Range next, which is almost literally "a walk in the woods" in comparison to the Presidential Range.
10. Mt. Tom 5:55 PM 2.9/ 32.3 4051'/ + 2151' 12,406'
11. Mt. Field 6:30 PM 1.5/ 33.8 4340'/ + 640'
(Low point A-Z Trail Jct. 3700')
13,046'
12. Mt. Willey 6:59 PM 1.4/ 35.2 4285'/ + 275'
(Low point Field / Willey sag 4010')
13,321'
Willey Station Trailend 7:48 PM - Total Event Time 3 hours 2 minutes 2.7/ 37.9 1440' 13,321' The Willey Range goes smoothly, and we gain another half hour on our schedule.
Event 3 - Mt. Carrigain Signal Ridge Trailhead 8:12 PM 0/37.9 1480'/ 0 13,321' My best practice run on this peak was 2:35 (escaping a thunderstorm during daylight hours) but the many rocky sections are difficult to navigate by night
13. Mt.Carrigain 9:56 PM 5.0/ 42.9 4700'/ + 3250' 16,571'
Signal Ridge Trailend 11:50 PM - Total Event Time 3 hours 38 minutes 5.0/ 47.9 1480' 16,571' Mount Carrigain by takes longer than scheduled, and I chastise myself for not rehearsing the peak at night. But we are still ahead of schedule, with almost 50 miles under our belt, and I am looking forward to getting some sleep after a long and fast day.
( Sleep at Dolly Copp Campground)
July 7
Event 4 - Carter- Moriah Range Wildcat Ski Area "Trailhead" 3:10 am 0/ 47.9 1930'/ 0 16,571' I make my way up the ski slopes of Wildcat D by headlight, energized by the sleep and looking forward to a fast time on the Carter Range. I feel great!
14. Wildcat "D" 4:05 am 1.5/ 49.4 ( via ski trails ) 4062'/ + 2132' 18,703'
15. Wildcat Mt. 4:55 am 2.1/ 51.5 4422'/ + 814'
(First low point Wildcat Col 3775')
(First high point "C" Peak 4298'/ + 523')
(Second low point "C" to "B" col 4131')
(Second high point Wildcat Mt. 4422'/ +291')
19,517' A beautiful sunrise emerges as I cruise over Wildcat
16. Carter Dome 6:07 am 2.1/ 53.6 4832'/ + 1532'
(Low point Carter Notch 3300')
21,049'
17. South Carter Mt. 6:38 am 2.0 / 55.6 4430'/ + 540'
(Low point Zeta Pass 3890')
21,589'
18. Middle Carter Mt. 6:58 am 1.3/ 56.9 4610'/ + 432'
(Low point S. Carter/ Middle Carter Col 4178')
22,021'

Sierra meets me for our second high mountain support at the saddle between South and Middle Carter, taking my empty water bottles and handing off a tasty avocado burrito. I change socks and hit the trail again.

19. Mt. Moriah 8:56 am 4.6/ 61.5 4049'/ +922
(Low point Moriah Brook Trail Jct. 3127')
22,943' My favorite view of the entire trip - the panorama of the Carter-Moriah Range with a Presidential backdrop from the slope of Mt. Moriah- I can hardly wait to return to photograph this scene at dawn.
Gorham Trailend 10:19 am - Total Event Time 7 hours 9 minutes 4.5/ 66.0 800' 22,943' Chafing is becoming a problem both under my arms and between my legs, and we try to manage it with some diaper rash ointment. Thanks Isaac! (my six-month old son)
Short rest and massage
Event 5 - Mt. Waumbek Waumbek Trailhead 11:20 am 0/ 66.0 1650'/ 0 22,943'
20. Mt. Waumbek 12:35 PM 3.6/ 69.6 4006'/ +2500' 25,443'
Waumbek Trailend 1:48 PM - Total Event Time 2 hours 28 minutes 3.6/ 73.2 1650' 25,443'

I meet a young man named "Wilson" on the summit of Mt. Waumbek, who watches me glance at my map and withdraw a bottle of spring water from behind the summit signpost. "Sweet", he exclaims.

Event 6 - Mount Cabot Cabot Trailhead 2:19 PM 0/ 73.2 1510'/ 0 25,443' Another break for a quick massage and I jump on the Cabot Trail at Heath's Gate, but don't quite have the energy to run the initial easy logging road at the pace I had envisioned earlier.
21. Mt. Cabot 3:52 PM 3.9/ 77.1 4170'/ + 2700' 28,143' Somewhere on Mt. Cabot, and evil tree root trips me and hyperextends a tendon in my right leg (that's my preliminary layman's analysis, yet to be confirmed by a doctor). Although initially I felt nothing, this was to be a growing problem for the remainder of the challenge as my leg began to swell more with each passing day.
Cabot Trailend 4:46 PM Total Event Time 2 hours 27 minutes 3.9/ 81 1510' 28,143' On Mt. Cabot, I decide to change plans and do Franconia Ridge next, hoping to sneak the range in before any storms move in, which have been forecasted. Grey bellied clouds begin to move in as we head South, having completed the Northern Peaks. My leg feels a bit strange, but that's about all at this point.
Event 7 - Franconia Ridge Whitehouse Bridge Trailhead 6:00 PM 0/ 81 1400'/ 0 28,143' This event was originally to be #12 (weather dictated this change, as I did not want to be caught in a thunderstorm on this particular route, famous for it's lightning attracting characteristics)
22. Mt. Flume 7:40 PM 4.0/ 85 4328'/ + 2950' 31,093'

I am delighted to have ascended the Flume Slide quickly while dry conditions persisted, although open sections of the slide were becoming slick in a light rain. I made every effort to move quickly, while concentrating very carefully on each foot placement, as wet rock is truly the weakness the Salomon XA Pro's I was wearing for this event. At this point, I wished for my La Sportiva Colorado Trail shoes, which grip wet rock with unmatched tenacity. But you can't change horses midstream!

23. Mt. Liberty 8:07 PM 1.1/ 86.1 4459'/ + 650' 31,743' The running sections below Liberty go well - I try to pump as much distance out before the light begins to fade. The light rain continues on and off, accompanied by an eerie absence of wind. I am extremely nervous about the exposed section between the Falling Waters trail junction and Greenleaf Hut, and scan the horizon for any lightning activity.
24. Mt. Lincoln ?:?? PM 2.9/ 89 5089'/ +1100 32,843'
25. Mt. Lafayette 9:30 PM .9/ 89.9 5260'/ + 450' 33,293' My right leg begins to spasm in the lower shin area as I approach the summit of Lafayette in a light rain, and brings me to a halt until I can massage the spasms away. The thought of being immobilized on this ridge with a possible storm on the way doesn't amuse me. The rest of the descent was not fun or very speedy, but I was very thankful to have not have had the weather turn. My mood was grim as I finally limped towards my support team at the Old Man Picnic area near the Cannon Tramway.
Greenleaf Trailend 11:58 PM - Total Event Time 5 hours 58 minutes 3.8/ 93.7 1980' 33,293'
( Sleep at Hancock Trailhead)
July 8

I rest for 4 hours, as my leg was still in pain at our scheduled takeoff of 3 am. I am not a happy camper.

Event 8 - Hancocks Hancock Trailhead 4:03 am 0/ 93.7 2129'/ 0 33,293'
26. South Hancock 5:58 am 4.1/ 97.8 4319'/ + 2200' 35,493'
27. Mt. Hancock 6:35 am 1.4/ 99.2 4420'/ + 282'
(Low point sag between Hancocks 4138')
35,775'
Hancock Trailhead 8:47 am - Total Event Time 4 hours 44 minutes 4.3/ 103.5 2129' 35,775' I am still in quite a bit of pain, and unable to run the flats of the Hancock Notch trail at anything resembling a run. I am not happy with this Event Time, which was supposed to be completed in 3 hours and 15 minutes. The thought that I may not get my speed back haunts me. Ibuprofen and icing my leg while enroute to the next leg are my only hope.
Event 9 - Tripyramid Loop Oliverian Brook Trailhead 9:16 am 0/ 103.5 1240'/ 0 35,775' I limp away from the van at a half run, hoping that this is just an initial stiffness from getting out of the van. I arrive at my first checkpoint 15 minutes late.
28. Mt. Passaconaway 11:05 am 5.1/ 108.6 4043'/ +2800' 38,575' I make up some time on the steep sections below Passaconaway, and I recognize at this moment that my climbing strength may indeed be what saves me in the end, even if my running speed is compromised somewhat by my leg condition.
29. Whiteface Mt 12:11 PM 3.5/ 112.1 4020'/ + 900' 39,475' The Ibuprofen seems to be working well, as I run the semi-technical ground over to Whiteface in better time that I expected.
30. Middle Tripyramid 1:32 PM 3.9/ 116.0 4140'/ + 1190'
(Low point Downes Brook Trail Jct. 3400')
40,665'
31. North Tripyramid 1:50 PM 0.8/ 116.8 4180'/ + 330'
(Low point Sabbaday Brook Trail Jct. 3850')
40,995'
Pine Bend Brook Trailend 3:02 PM - Total Event Time 5 hours 46 minutes 4.0/ 120.8 1370' 40,995' The kid is BACK! My times are within minutes of my estimates, and although my leg is still swelling, the pain is manageable. Hope returns, and the weather remains magnificent, although warnings of severe thunderstorms are forecast just North of us. We are VERY glad to be heading South!
Event 10 - Osceola Traverse Greeley Ponds Trailhead 3:18 PM 0/ 120.8 1940'/ 0 40,995'
32. East Osceola 4:30 PM 2.8/ 123.6 4156'/ + 2216' 43,211'
33. Mt. Osceola 4:54 PM 1.0/ 124.6 4340'/ + 550'
(Low point Osceola/ E. Osceola Col 3790')
43,761'
Mt. Osceola Trailend 6:01 PM - Total Event Time 2 hours 43 minutes 3.2/ 127.8 2280' 43,761'
Event 11 - Mt. Tecumseh Mt. Tecumseh Trailhead 6:25 PM 0/ 127.8 1840'/ 0 43,761'
34. Mt. Tecumseh 7: 37 PM 2.5/ 130.3 4003'/ +2200' 45,961'
Mt. Tecumseh Trailend 8:26 PM - Total Event Time 2 hours 1 minute 2.5/ 132.8 1840'/ +200' 45,961' Technical running sections are becoming difficult once again as my leg balloons. ARRRGH!
Event 12 - Mt. Moosilauke Ravine Lodge Trailhead 9:15 PM 0/ 132.8 2460'/ 0 45,961'
35. Mt. Moosilauke 10:42 PM 3.7/ 136.5 4802'/ + 2450' 48,411'
July 9
Ravine Lodge Trailhead 12:06 am - Total Event Time 2 hours 51 minutes 3.7/ 140.2 2460' 48,411' Another peak in the dark goes by slower than scheduled, but by an acceptable amount. Fatigue is starting to settle in as I know I must forfeit the sleep I had scheduled for the night to stay on target, and we immediately head to the base of Cannon Mt.
Event 13 - Kinsman Range Kinsman Ridge Trailhead 12:41 am 0/ 140.2 1980'/ 0 48,411' I battle to stay awake and alert as i make my way over the steep ups and downs of Kinsman Ridge, thankful that little running is required on the bulk of this route.
36. Cannon Mt. 1:32 am 2.0/ 142.2 4100'/ +2100' 50,511'
37. North Kinsman 3:47 am 4.0/ 146.2 4293'/ +1600' 52,111'
38. South Kinsman 4:39 am 0.9/ 147.1 4358'/ +350' 52,461'
Mt. Kinsman Trailend 6:05 am - Total Event Time 5 hours 36 minutes 5.2/ 152.3 1030' 52,461' My energy is somewhat rekindled by the rising sun, this one even more vivid and colorful than what I had seen over Wildcat. I manage to make the run down the Mt. Kinsman trail at a steady jog, although a half hour slower than expected. Arriving at the van, I am surprised when Elisabeth asks if I want to continue. I collapse in the van and urge them to get to the last trailhead as fast as possible, and hope that my motivation can hang on long enough for the final grueling event.
Event 14 - Pemigewasset Wilderness Hale Brook Trailhead 6:43 am 0/ 152.3 1770'/ 0 52,461' Dazed and confused, and somewhat alarmed that we are 4 hours behind schedule, I rush from the van at the Hale Brook Trailhead, leaving my Event Map behind. (I carried an map for each event, which included my water bottle location info and estimated times for different points along the journey, something I could really use in the state I was in). As Elisabeth and Sierra began to drive down the Zealand Road, they realized that I had left without it. Elisabeth first tried to catch me running up the Hale Brook trail, but then realized that she could "cut me off at the pass" and ran as fast as she could directly to Zealand Hut and up to the Lend-a-Hand trail junction, arriving there only minutes before I descended from Mt. Hale!
39. Mt. Hale 7:31 am 2.2/ 154.5 4052'/ + 2300' 54,761' I force myself up Hale, and am surprised to arrive 10 minutes ahead of time despite feeling really whipped.
40. Mt. Zealand 9:47 am 5.7/ 160.2 4260'/ + 1530
(Low point Lend-a-Hand/ Twinway Jct. 2730')
56,291' Just seeing Elisabeth freshens me somewhat, and I head off at a moderate pace to Mt. Zealand, acquiring some Ibuprofen from a family that was hiking the opposite way. My energy level seems to be dropping a bit.
41. Mt. Bond 11:41 am 2.7/ 162.9 4698'/ + 666'
(Low point sag SW of Zealand 4032')
56,957' At a pace that feels like more like wandering than racing , I make my way over the Bonds, taking a short nap in a sunny patch when I felt I was going to keel over. What I fail to realize is that while we did start late, my chances for a new record are still very good although not by the 5 hour margin we hoped for.
42. Mt. Bondcliff 12:20 PM 1.2/ 164.1 4265'/ +200' 57,157'
43. West Bond 2:01 PM 2.2/ 166.3 4540'/ +650' 57,807'
44. South Twin 2:33 PM 3.3/ 169.6 4902'/ +700' 58,507'
45. North Twin 3:02 PM 1.3/ 170.9

4761'/ + 300'

+450' on return to S. Twin

58,807'

58,957'
Jamie ( who has very little hiking experience, bless his brave heart) gets lost on the North Twin trail enroute to his support mission at the summit, which he was to be waiting at 8:30 am for my 3rd and final high mountain support. Amazingly, because he did not receive a phone message to change the meet time at North Twin to accommodate our late takeoff, he has time to descend, get the info on what's going on from the Elisabeth and Sierra, and re-ascend the Gale River Trail to intercept me at Galehead Hut! As I approach the summit of North Twin, I halfheartedly shout Jamie's name, fully expecting that he has left the summit long ago. Only the wind answers. I press on, knowing that I can still buy some snacks at Galehead Hut to see me through if I don't run into Jamie.
46. Mt. Galehead 4:20 PM 2.6/ 173.5 4024'/ + 250' 59,207 After another short nap, my energy seems to be coming back, and as I get closer to the last few high summits, my hope is rekindled somewhat, although I still feel as though my motivation is slipping away. I shout at myself to keep going as fast as I can. As I pass Galehead Hut for the quick trip up to it's easy summit, Jamie appears on the porch! He leaps into action, supplying me with fresh shoes, socks, a sandwich, and some moleskin, and asks if he can accompany me to the summit of Galehead. As we reach a steep section, I let him pass. The sight of him nimbly dashing up the trail was like a splash of cold water on my face, a reminder that this is a RACE! On the descent, he assured me that I could make it through the remaining mileage and set a record. My energy soared like I have never experienced. I raced off from Galehead Hut at top speed, shouting to myself "GO!..GO!..GO!", up the incredibly steep trail leading to the summit of Garfield, knowing it was all downhill from there ( until the slide at Owl's Head, at least!)
47. Mt. Garfield 5:58 PM 3.4/ 176.9 4500'/ +1400' 60,607 I know I can do it at this point...only 7 and a half miles of fairly speedy terrain lies between me and my final destination. I head down from Garfield towards the Franconia Brook Trail, trying to go as fast as I possibly can without risking injury. I am still yelling at myself the entire way to go as fast as I can.
48. Owl's Head 8:51:18 PM Total Event Time 14 hours 8 minutes 18 sec. 7.5/ 184.4miles 4025/ + 1829'
(Low point 13 Falls Campsite 2196')
62,436 feet

As I navigate a particularly wet and poorly marked section of the Lincoln Brook Trail, I scream and curse as my injured foot seems to be taking the brunt of the abuse as I flog myself towards Owl's Head. As I approach the base, I yell Sierra's name, and am elated when she hoots back loudly from part way up the slide. She hurries down to me, then accompanies me up the final climb, carrying a sleeping bag and pad so that I could take a short rest at the summit before descending. I burst into tears at the summit, elated that I have completed the journey and set a new record. Sierra climbs a tree to make a cell phone call to Elisabeth to let her know the good news, as I quickly slink into the bag she has brought up, relishing the fact that I could SLEEP without the clock running any longer. As a chill began to settle on the summit, we knew we had to descend to our campsite, so we carefully picked our way down the slide, as I was already getting pretty stiff. We then retrieved the bear box and camping equipment that I had cached a few weeks earlier, and made our way to our campsite. After some hot food, we settled into our bags at about 2 am. We slept until almost noon the next day, which was fortunately yet another lovely day. We then hiked out the easy trail to the Lincoln Brook Visitor Center where we were met by Elisabeth and Isaac. The journey was complete! ( Meanwhile, 1300 miles away my sister Darcy gives birth to a new son Leo, who arrived 6 weeks prematurely, at 8:52 pm...less than one minute away from my last summit time.)

Total Mileage 184.4 miles
Total Vertical Gain 62,436 feet
Total Challenge Time 3 days, 15 hours, 51 minutes, 18 seconds