The AMC Four Thousand Footer Club thanks these past and present members who volunteered their time serving on the AMC Four Thousand Footer Committee.

First Generation (Inception, 1957, through mid 1970s)
1. Al Robertson (Deceased)
2. Barbara Richardson (Loo) (Deceased)
3. Paul Bernier
4. Gus Merrill (Deceased), 1957-1978, replaced by Gene Daniell
5a. Ken Turner (Deceased), 1957-1975, replaced by Bruce Brown

5.b Percy L. Prescott (Deceased)

Second Generation (Mid 1970s through 1980s)
6. Dick Stevens
7. Bruce Brown (Deceased), 1975-1989, replaced by Steve Smith
8. Gene Daniell (Deceased), 1978-2006, replaced by Bill Bowden
9. Deane Morrison, 1982-present
10. Vera Smith (Deceased), 1983-1997, replaced by Lyn Beattie

Third Generation (1990s through early 2000s)
11. Frank Pilar
12. Debi Cl
13. Priscilla Robertson (Deceased)
14. Hal Graham (Deceased)
15. Steve Smith, 1990-present
16. Tom Sawyer, 1998-2005, replaced by Mohamed Ellozy
17. Lyn Beattie (Deceased), 1998-2013, (Jim Beattie served as an auxiliary member), replaced by Laura Stewart. 
18. Diane Sawyer, 2004-2005*, replaced by Sue Eilers
19. Eric Savage, 2002-present

Fourth Generation (Mid 2000s through 2017)
20. Mike Dickerman, 2004-2016
21.  Anne Gwynne, 2005-2011, replaced by June A. Rogier
22. Mohamed Ellozy, 2005-2012, replaced by John J. Gutowski Jr.
23. Sue Eilers, 2005-2015, replaced by Gary Tompkins
24. Bill Bowden (Deceased), 2006-2007, replaced by Keith D’Alessandro
25. Keith D’Alessandro, 2008-present
26. June A. Rogier, 2011-2017
27. John J. Gutowski Jr., 2012-2017
Laura Stewart, 2013-2016, replaced by Summerset Banks
29. Gary Tompkins, 2015-present
30. Summerset Banks, 2016-2021
31. Jean-Sebastien Roux, 2016-present
32. Gregory Ortiz, 2016-2020

Fifth Generation (2018 through present)
33. Nancy Sporborg, 2018-2019, Slideshow 2011-2019
34. Brian Miville, 2018-present
36. Michelle Bourget, 2021-present
37. Jen Keene, 2021-2023
38. Joanna Brown, 2022-present
39. Corey Perkins, 2022-present

*Served as an auxiliary member for years prior

The milestones listed below with an * are excerpted from the 2012 Fact Sheet from www.outdoors.org.

1876 ~ AMC founded in Boston, Massachusetts by Edward Pickering and 33 other outdoor enthusiasts*

1907 ~ First edition of the AMC White Mountain Guide published*

1911 ~ Advocacy by AMC and other groups results in passage of Weeks Act, authorizing creation of Eastern National Forests*

1920 ~ The AMC hires its first paid summer trail crew, including Sherman Adams, future Governor of New Hampshire*

1957 ~New Hampshire Four-Thousand Footer Club formed*

1958 ~ On April 26 the First Awards Ceremony was held by the Committee

1959 ~ Awards given as part of the AMC Annual Meeting

1960 ~ On December 23 of this year Miriam and Robert Underhill become the first to hike the New Hampshire four thousand footers in winter.

1964 ~ New England Four-Thousand Footer Club formed

1967 ~ Due to the growing size of the Club, the Awards gathering became a separate event held in January at the Cabot Auditorium at the AMC offices in Boston, Massachusetts.

1967 ~ The New England Hundred Highest list formed

1967 ~ The Northeast 111 list formed

1980 ~AMC starts Trail Adopter program in White Mountains*

2003 ~ amc4000footer.org registered.  Website built by Eric L. Savage

2007 ~ First online edition of White Mountain Guide offered*

2013 ~ New AMC Four Thousand Footer.org website launched.  Website built by June A. Rogier

2016 ~ The AMC Four-Season White Mountain Four Thousand Footer Club, (with 48 Hours of Trail Work) list announced at the April awards night.

The following is copyrighted material (2001, 2008) and is used with permission by the authors, Mike Dickerman and Steve Smith.  Excerpted from their book The 4000-Footers of the White Mountains.  Published by Bondcliff Books Littleton, New Hampshire SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1  


   “Peakbagging in the Northeastern mountains got its start in New York’s rugged Adirondacks in 1918, when two teen-age brothers, Bob and George Marshall, and the family’s guide, Herb Clark, began climbing all the mountains in that region exceeding 4000 ft. The requirement was that a mountain must rise at least 300 ft. above its col with a higher neighbor, or be at least 3/4 mile distant. In 1925 they stood on their forty-sixth and final summit, Mount Emmons. Of the 46 peaks, only 14 then had trails, and eight had apparently never been climbed before. (Bob Marshall went on to become a ground-breaking conservationist and founder of The Wilderness Society.)

   In 1937 the first “Forty-Sixers” club was formed in Troy, NY, to be succeeded by today’s “Adirondack Forty-Sixers” in 1948. Through 2007, over 6,200 hikers had followed in the footsteps of Clark and the Marshalls to bag all the Adirondack high peaks. Although more recent surveys showed that four of the original peaks actually failed to top the 4000-ft. mark, a reverence for tradition has kept these summits on the Adirondack 46er list.

   The founder of peakbagging in the White Mountains was Nathaniel L. Goodrich, librarian at Dartmouth College, avid mountain explorer, and renowned AMC trailman in the “golden era” of trail building from about 1915-1930. (Goodrich and cohorts Charles W. Blood, Paul R. Jenks and Karl P. Harrington laid out such classic routes as Webster Cliff Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Kinsman Ridge Trail and Wildcat Ridge Trail. Their work on these “through trails” unified what had previously been several disconnected clusters of trails; see Laura and Guy Waterman’s Forest and Crag.) In a December 1931 article in Appalachia, the journal of the AMC, Goodrich proposed a list of 36 White Mountain 4000-footers that he had climbed, stipulating that each peak must rise at least 300 ft. above any ridge connecting it with a higher 4000-ft. neighbor. He noted that his 300-ft. benchmark was arbitrary and could easily be changed to 200 ft. or 400 ft.

   By 1934 AMC member Francis B. “Mully” Parsons had climbed Goodrich's original list of 36 peaks, getting inaccessible Hancock on his second try and climbing Owl's Head from Greenleaf Hut. Goodrich had since expanded his list to include 51 peaks with names and a total of 88 with stated elevations. Parsons went on to complete the list of 51, and also a list of New England 4000-footers, by 1949. He published his list and an account of his climbs in the December 1949 Appalachia. 

   In the summer of 1948 Mr. and Mrs. J. Daniel McKenzie climbed all the 4000-footers of Vermont, New Hampshire and New York, a remarkable feat described in the June 1958 Appalachia. Dana C. Backus, who started climbing the peaks as a member of the AMC trail crew in 1923, finished Goodrich’s 36 peaks in 1953, including the required bushwhack ascents of Hancock and Owl’s Head. Of the latter peak, he wrote in the December 1953 Appalachia, “My clothing was ripped to ribbons. Scarcely enough was left of my shirt to flag a wheelbarrow, but I had at last reached the top of Owl’s Head.”  In the summer of 1956 AMC member Roderick Gould climbed Goodrich’s 36 peaks, plus two more–Willey and West Bond–that he had determined were additional qualifiers under the 300-ft. rise rule.

   Meanwhile, Walter C. “Gus” Merrill distributed Goodrich's expanded list of 51 named peaks, and several AMC climbers completed this group of mountains in the mid-1950s. At a meeting of the club’s General Outings Committee, Edwin Scotcher suggested that a Four Thousand Footer Club (FTFC) be created, similar to the Adirondack Forty-Sixers. The committee saw it as a way to introduce climbers to new areas, away from the familiar Presidential and Franconia Ranges, thereby boosting participation in the club’s organized outings. In March 1957 a sub-committee composed of Parsons, Merrill, Barbara Richardson and Albert S. Robertson sent a letter to the governing AMC Council requesting approval for the idea. The letter included a design for a shoulder patch created by artist Mark Fowler. The Council approved the idea but asked that the list of 51 peaks be modified using a specific benchmark, rather than selecting mountains merely on the basis of having a name.

   After exchanging letters with officials of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers, the AMC Four Thousand Footer Club committee held a map party at Parsons’ home, using the 1955 AMC White Mountain Guide, the latest U. S. Geological Survey topographic maps, and magnifying glasses. They decided to use a 200-ft. rule, and the list was accepted by the AMC Council. After adding South Hancock and dropping Old Speck in Maine, the committee ended up with a list of 46 peaks–the same number of 4000-footers as the Adirondacks.

   In May 1957 an AMC trip placed about 40 climbers on the summit of then-trailless North Hancock. Roderick Gould became the first to complete the new “official” list on May 26. Thomas S. Lamb followed on September 2. The next to finish, on September 14, were the eminent mountaineers, Miriam Underhill and Robert L. M. Underhill. On September 21 forty-one trampers summitted on South Hancock, including seven more finishers, and by year’s end, the total of “four-thousanders” was nineteen, counting Goodrich and Parsons from the 1930s.

   The first FTFC awards ceremony was held by the committee on April 26, 1958, including presentation of the aforementioned shoulder patch and a scroll designed by renowned cartographer Erwin Raisz, still in use today. Starting in 1959 the awards were given as part of the AMC Annual Meeting, but soon the numbers became too great and in January 1967 the awards gathering became its own separate event, held in the Cabot Auditorium at the AMC offices in Boston. Now held in April and moved a few years ago to the middle school in Stratham, New Hampshire, the FTFC awards evening continues as an annual event attended by hundreds.

   The official list of 4000-footers was published in the June 1958 issue of Appalachia, along with climbing directions for the summits without maintained trails–Cabot, Waumbek, Tom, Zealand, Owl’s Head, West Bond and the Hancocks. In August of that year “Red Mac” MacGregor, who had climbed his first peak in 1911 and in the 1920s was the first manager of the AMC hut system, became the senior member of the FTFC at age 74.

  “AMC 4000-Footer Club Spurs Climbers” read a Boston Globe headline in September 1958. A wave of peakbagging enthusiasm swept through the ranks of the AMC. There were sixteen finishers in 1958 and another dozen in 1959. New members were listed annually in Appalachia, and by 1962 the membership was at 129. A year-and-a-half later the roster had swelled to 199, including seven-year old Sarah Merrow and a mongrel named Friskie. “Herd paths” developed on the trailless peaks, and one-by-one these summits acquired official, maintained trails, though to this day the path up Owl’s Head is technically not considered a trail.

   Right after the FTFC became official, Miriam and Robert Underhill launched a new peakbagging venture–climbing the mountains in winter. This, wrote Miriam, “would present an even more sporting challenge than ambling up the well-trodden trails in summer.” As originators of the game, the Underhills could set the rules–climbs must be made during calendar winter, typically between December 22 and March 20. “’Snow on the ground’ and other namby-pamby criteria definitely did not count.” As described by Miriam in the December 1967 Appalachia, the treks to the more remote peaks in those days of unbroken trails were true winter epics, in some cases requiring several return trips. 

   On December 23, 1960, the Underhills became the first to complete the winter peaks by cramponing to the top of cloud-wreathed Mt. Jefferson in the company of several friends. The temperature was - 8  F with a 72 mph wind. Remarkably, Miriam was 62 and Robert 71 at the time. In February 1962, atop Mt. Monroe, Merle Whitcomb became the third hiker (and second woman) to complete the “winter 4000.” The feat was not repeated again until 1967, and through the winter of 2007-2008, just 409 trampers had done the 48 peaks in winter, less than 4% of those who had finished the list in summer.

   Winter seems to inspire some peakbaggers. Among the more remarkable snow-season feats have been climbing the peaks by moonlight (Fred Hunt), standing atop each summit at midnight (Mike Bromberg) and making ascents of each peak from all four points of the compass (Guy Waterman). Equally astonishing is the scaling of each peak in every month of the year (Gene Daniell, and, as of this writing, seven others). See the Appendix for more on these and other unusual spins on peakbagging.

   A dozen years after the creation of the FTFC, one of its founders, Al Robertson, looked back with satisfaction. “The response far exceeded our expectations,” he wrote in the June 1969 Appalachia. “At times, Guyot Shelter looked like Times Square! Climbers of the 1910 to 1940 era dusted off their gear and reappeared upon the scene . … More importantly, the list was attractive to new climbers.”
   From 1966 through 2007, at least 100 hikers have finished the White Mountain 4000-footers each year, with notable surges in activity in the early 1970s and throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century, with over 200 finishers per year. Famous peakbaggers have included the late Meldrim Thomson, governor of New Hampshire in the 1970s, U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter, and N.H. Congressman Jeb Bradley.

   As peakbagging caught on, new lists were developed–the New England 4000-footers in 1964 (adding 12 peaks in Maine and 5 in Vermont), the Northeast 111 in 1967 (adding the Adirondacks and Catskills), and the New England Hundred Highest, also in 1967 (including a dozen or so peaks accessible only by map-and-compass bushwhacks.)  These lists are all officially recognized by the present AMC Four Thousand Footer Committee.

   The publication of a new South Twin Mountain quadrangle by the U.S. Geological Survey led to the addition of two new peaks to the White Mountain 4000-footer list. Galehead Mtn. was put on the roster in 1975, and in 1980 the magnificent Bondcliff became 4000-footer No. 48.

   Over the years peakbaggers and the FTFC have not been without their critics. As a wave of new backpackers swept over the mountains in the early 1970s, some observers concluded that the club had done its job too well. In a June 1973 Appalachia article, then editor Phil Levin proposed the abolition of the FTFC. Heated correspondence, pro and con, followed in succeeding issues. Meanwhile, a new magazine called Backpacker ran an article gloomily entitled “Is Peak-bagging Dead?”
   Critics have charged that peakbagging introduces, in Levin’s words, “an
undesirable artificiality into the natural scenery of the mountains.” The peakbagger, it’s said, is obsessed with a numbers game that demeans the mountain experience. Peakbaggers also have been taken to task for affecting use patterns and attracting more hikers to fragile trails and once-undisturbed summits. The results, critics say, are increased trail erosion and a loss of solitude in the mountains. 

   Supporters of peakbagging have countered that the way one enjoys the mountains is a matter of individual choice, as long as it does not detract from others' experiences, or degrade the mountains themselves. They add that most hikers who take up "the list" are already active hikers, and that many FTFC members are involved in trail maintenance and other stewardship activities. (For an excellent summary of the peak-bagging debate, see Laura and Guy Waterman’s Forest and Crag and Backwoods Ethics.)

   Over the last three decades the FTFC has flourished under the guidance of Committee Chairs such as Dick Stevens, Bruce Brown, Gene Daniell, Deane Morrison, Tom Sawyer and Eric Savage, ardent peakbaggers all. It seems likely that peakbagging is here to stay, and that for many it can be a magnificent obsession, opening new horizons and deepening one's commitment to cherish and protect the mountain world. Nathaniel Goodrich, the man who started it all in the White Mountains, spoke for generations of peakbaggers to follow when he wrote, “Yes, I have done the lot, and wish heartily there were more.”


The FTFC is administered by a nine-person volunteer committee comprised of active hikers and peakbaggers. Committee members process applications, answer correspondence, maintain the Club’s website (amc4000footer.org) and organize the annual awards dinner. The Club’s website includes information on the New Hampshire and New England 4000-Footers and New England Hundred Highest, application forms, pointers about the “rules” of this peakbagging game, and the awards dinner.

   Each year the FTFC donates thousands of dollars raised from membership dues, donations and sale of T-shirts and patches to organizations that undertake trail maintenance and other mountain stewardship activities. Often a major portion of the proceeds is given to the AMC Trails Department, earmarked for a specific project(s). Committee members also volunteer time to trail maintenance, whether individually or through work on the Club’s adopted trail, currently the Passaconaway Cutoff.

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