One could take Topo or even Delorme Topo and plot out the trails, then create a profile to check some of these. I do realize the inaccuracies that are built into these, but it might be an interesting exercize to try for those with some time on their hands. I unfortunately do not have that area covered in my mapping areas, yet... Perhaps I may come across a copy in the near future, then I might need some help in plotting the trails. If anyone has GPS tracks of these trails we may need to talk.
According to Extreme Trails, an article in the latest issue of AMC's Outdoors magazine, Huntington Ravine "is the most difficult trail in the White Mountains." The article continues on to say that it rises "1,400 feeet in only 0.9 mile."
Yes, that was stated in previous posts, but the Great Gulf Trail from Spaulding Lake to the Gulfside Trail, and the Great Gully Trail in King Ravine both rise 1700' over a mile. I find it tough to give the distinction to one over the other.
As far as using topos and GPS to plot the trails, someone with a lot of time could go ahead and do that, it would be a fun project, or they could simply open the AMC guide to the White Mountains and look up the trails. They've all been measured by wheel and altimeters.
Last edited by KD Talbot; 06-29-2007 at 09:38 AM.
To me intense and steep are different. Intense would go to Huntington Ravine hands down with six husbands a close second. Steep doesn't always mean intense.
That's a good point, in that case Wamsutta, though shorter in descent than most headwalls, etc., is pretty intense in both ascent and descent.
Wamsutta should be in the mix
Wamsutta is steep and I would throw that one in the ring also. Wamsutta is one of my favorites. 2 others not getting much mention, that I feel are extremely steep, are Madison Gulf to Madison hut and Daniel Webster from
Dolly Cobb to the summit of Madison. I have climbed most of the trails in the Presi's and Daniel Webster kicked my butt more than any other. K.D. you have the elevation gain stats on the Daniel Webster from the campground to the summit. It must be right near the top.( no pun intended) Maybe Daniel Webster kicked my butt so badly because this is the one that I trail ran. My wife dropped me off at Appalacia and I ran the Valley Way to the Hut then the A.T. up over the summit of Madison down Osgood to Daniel Webster then down Daniel Webster back to Dolly Cobb and my tent site. I now have great respect for the Daniel Webster Trail.
Does steepness matter
Why Guess what the steepest trail in the Whites is, just go out and enjoy any trail-- be it flat or steep. Any method of determining the steepest trail will include a great deal of subjectivity. It would be nice to hear what trail Mike Pelchat from the State Park, Peter Crane and Tom Seidel from the MWO find to be the most enjoyable in the whites-- regardless of how challenging it is...
Daniel Webster Scout Trail
I climbed DWST the first time I did Mount Madison. We camped at Dolly Copp and climbed the next morning. There was a group of us, and we left my wife by a big boulder about half-way up. The rest of us went to the summit, then picked her up on the way back down. She was asleep in the shade of the boulder. We've never split up again on any hikes. If we can't both make it, then neither of us does.
The DWST: From Dolly Copp to the summit is 4100' over 4.1 miles. It rivals Tuckerman Ravine which is 4250' over 4.2 miles. From what they call the Little Buttress, to where it reaches the Osgood Trail it rises 2050' over 1.5 miles. This should definitely be on the list.
From the Great Gulf Trail, the Osgood Trail rises 3350' over 3.3 miles, but all of these trails only average 100' per 1/10th of a mile.
Great Gulf Headwall and Great Gully Trail in King Ravine are still in the lead as they both average 170' elevation gain per 1/10th of a mile.
Other's mentioned are: Six Husbands and Wamsutta and Cap's Ridge.
Six Husbands from the Great Gulf Trail is 2550' over 2.3 miles.
Wamsutta from the Great Gulf Trail to the Auto Road is 2200' over 1.7 miles.
Caps Ridge is tough, I've climbed it twice, but it dosen't measure up, only 2700' over 2.5 miles. A little over 100' per 10th of a mile. Plus, you drive up the first 3100'.
I've still got to go with the Great Gulf Headwall. The only way to reach it, (unless you climb over a mountain and into the Great Gulf), is by rising 2950' over 6.5 miles along the Great Gulf Trail before hitting the Headwall. I haven't climbed it but it's got to be the toughest.
#1 we are not guessing, we are going by the actual numbers in the AMC book. Steve Smith and Gene Daniels didn't "guess" the height or distances.
And #2, that is what this thread is about, "Steepest Trails in the Whites"
I agree: "It would be nice to hear what trail Mike Pelchat from the State Park, Peter Crane and Tom Seidel from the MWO find to be the most enjoyable in the whites-- regardless of how challenging it is..." so, let's start another thread. But I'm not sure any of them are participating in this forum, unless they're using handles I don't recognize.
I think great gulf trail is the winner
Looking at it as a total trail I think great gulf trail is correct. By the time you get to spaulding lake your tired then you have to climb straight up the headwall to the gulfside trail. I did this as a loop from Pinkham and it was a long day. The trail across the floor of the ravine was incredible!! Then the climb began. This is a trail that should be experienced by those of you who enjoy a challange. What is nice is there are MANY swimming holes along this trail which are really nice. If you get overheated just jump in. I love the great gulf and is probably one of my favorite places to camp in the back country.