This Guy Bagged 576 Peaks in a Single Year

The state of New Hampshire has 48 mountains that stand taller than 4000 feet (1219 meters). Naturally, there are always some hikers that want to hike them all, bagging each of the peaks in the process. That can be quite an ambitious undertaking, requiring a number of days on the trail, walking hundreds of miles, and climbing tens of thousands of feet, but it is an approachable goal for those who set their mind to it.

However, one hiker didn’t want to just settle for reaching the top of those 48 peaks just once, but instead set out on a 12-month long odyssey that is a study in prescience and perseverance.

Outside magazine has posted a profile of Philip Carcia, a hiker who didn’t just take on New Hampshire’s highest peaks once, but 12 times. Over the course of the past year, Carcia has hiked to the top of each of those mountains at least once a month. Yep, that’s right, he completed the 48 peak challenge each and every month, completing what has become known as the White Mountains 4000 Footer Grid. In other words, in order to do that, he had to bag 576 peaks in a single year.

According to Outside, Carcia hiked more than 2700 miles (4345 km) and climbed more than a million vertical feet over his 12-month journey. He also had to do it in all kind of weather and seasons, pushing himself to the top during the hot New Hampshire winters and the often bitterly cold winters.

The White Mountains are known for getting plenty of snow, which can make hiking there in the colder months especially difficult, but through it all Phillip stayed focused on his goal and achieved his objective.

The challenge started for Carcia back in August of 2018, when he made a massive push to climb all 48 peaks in just nine days. After that, he spread things out each month, hiking the mountains when he could from September through June of 2019. He wrapped things up with another fast round of peak bagging in the first week of July, bringing the Grid to its final conclusion. 

Outside says that he planned for his record-setting hike for years before actually embarking on it, training on Mount Wachusett in Massachusetts as often as he could. Phillip estimates he climbed that peak more than 300 times as part of his training. For the past year, his entire life has been either hiking or working, so you can probably imagine he’s ready to take a break from the trail for a bit.

This is another impressive story of what someone can do with a bit of dedication, preparation, and focus. Carcia is another source of inspiration for sure.

Kraig Becker