White Mountains Hut Traverse, New Hampshire

The White Mountains Hut Traverse is an extremely rocky and rugged route connecting the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) huts in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. As far as I know, the only "rule" is that you must start at one hut and then tag all the others on your own power. The choice of trails is yours, and you don't need to summit any unnecessary peaks or follow the Appalachian Trail (which bypasses Greenleaf Hut anyway). The Hut Traverse can be done as a multi-day trek with nightly stays at each hut, but this page is devoted to the Hut Traverse as a continuous speed hike or run. Historical precedent dictates that the clock starts when leaving the first hut and stops when the final hut is tagged.

Standard Hut Traverse:

The main question about the Hut Traverse is whether Pinkham Notch should be considered a hut. Joe Dodge Lodge at Pinkham Notch is not classified as a hut by the AMC, and hut “croo” and most others attempting the Hut Traverse do not, to my knowledge, include Pinkham. The “Standard Hut Traverse” as practiced today links Carter Notch, Madison, Lakes of the Clouds, Mizpah Springs, Zealand, Galehead, Greenleaf, and Lonesome Lake Huts (not necessarily in that order), bypassing Pinkham Notch and summits when possible. The most direct Standard Hut Traverse route is about 49.3 miles with 17,114' of elevation gain (see attached spreadsheet). Currently, the “Fastest Known Time” (FKT) for the Standard Hut Traverse is listed at Fastest Known Time  as 12:38, run by George Heinrichs in 2011. 

MacPhail Hut Traverse:

Alex MacPhail describes running a Hut Traverse in 1963 that included Pinkham Notch as a ninth hut. This "MacPhail Hut Traverse" appears tougher than the Standard Hut Traverse, with about 18,739' of elevation gain over 52.2 miles (see attached spreadsheet). MacPhail started (and slept) at Madison Hut and then tagged Carter Notch, Pinkham, Lakes, Mizpah Springs, Zealand, Galehead, Greenleaf, and Lonesome Lake Huts. MacPhail reports a time of 12:13 for his Hut Traverse route and describes the history behind his run at: White Mountain Sojourn. 


Notes from my own attempts at the Hut Traverse:

I have 3 finishes in 5 Hut Traverse attempts:

6/23/07:  Hut Traverse attempt. Starting at Lonesome Lake and going west to east, but quit after Lakes of the Clouds Hut due to foul weather.

7/7/07: Completed first Standard Hut Traverse in 19 hours, 25 min. Logistics: on July 6th I parked my car at Franconia Notch, took the AMC hiker's shuttle over to the 19 Mile Brook Trailhead, hiked up to Carter Notch Hut, slept for a few hours, and started the traverse at 2:00 am the next day.

6/19/09: Hut Traverse attempt. I followed the MacPhail route (but started by hiking up to Madison Hut). I quit after it took me 15 hours just to reach Crawford Notch.

6/15 - 6/16/2013: Completed second Standard Hut Traverse, east to west, in 21:10. See report attached below.

6/13-6/14/2015:  Completed third Standard Hut Traverse, east to west, in 22:08. Usual logistics using AMC hiker's shuttle, starting at Carter Notch Hut at about 4 pm.


List of attachments on this page (best viewed in Google Chrome):

1. Report from 2013 Hut Traverse

2 .Spreadsheet of mileage and elevation gain for the MacPhail Hut Traverse

3. Route of the Standard Hut Traverse in Google Earth (.kmz). This was mostly created in the AMC White Mountains Guide Online and exported to Google Earth. The short section of road on Rt. 16 was drawn by hand in Google Earth.

4. Spreadsheet of mileage and elevation gain for the most direct Standard Hut Traverse 

Jeff List,
Jun 21, 2013, 12:02 PM
Jeff List,
Jun 27, 2012, 3:26 AM
Jeff List,
Jun 27, 2012, 3:26 AM
Jeff List,
Jun 27, 2012, 3:26 AM