New Survey Threatens Mount Tecumseh’s Status as NH 4,000-Footer

Mount Tecumseh, a member of New Hampshire’s venerable Four Thousand Footer Club, just doesn’t measure up anymore.

A recent digital survey found that the mountain is 3,995 feet, not the long-assumed height of 4,003.

And wait. There’s more.

Larry Garland, who made the discovery during his work for the Appalachian Mountain Club, has measured 26 of the 48 (now 47?) White Mountains considered to be 4,000 feet or higher. Will more icons fall?

So what’s a passionate peakbagger to do? Especially those who collect 4,000-footers in the White Mountains like other others collect coins or baseball cards.

Maybe they’ll be reduced to saying fondly, “I climbed Tecumseh when it was a real mountain.” Much like those who say, “I saw the Old Man of the Mountain before he took his tumble.”

New Englanders are passionate about their mountains. There are lists within lists: the winter New Hampshire 48; the four season New Hampshire 48; the Grid (don’t ask).

How the findings will affect those lists is uncertain. The AMC, which oversees the lists of 48, hasn’t commented.

In the meantime, Tecumseh’s downfall is lighting up the internet.

“Maybe there can be an ‘almost 4000’ group,” one commenter said on the AMC’s Facebook page.

“At that age, couldn’t it be grandfathered in?” another asked.

And then there were those dismayed that their trek up Tecumseh—considered one of the easier 4,000-footers—was no longer valid.

“Oh no! And I was so proud to become a member of the 4,000-Footer club.”

“Of course the only 4,000-Footer I did lol”

And finally, a plea for sanity.

“Larry, stopppppp!”

View from 3,995-foot Mount Tecumseh. Photo: Maggie Slepian

We all have our passions. My current fervor is hiking long-distance trails in the Northeast: the Long Trail, the Cohos Trail, the Northville-Placid Trail.

Years ago, I was sitting on top of Bondcliff, a 4,000-footer (is it still?), deep in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of the White Mountains.

At the time my enthusiasm was channeled to setting up a stealth camp with friends, getting high, and bagging peaks.

A hiker approached us on Bondcliff and asked if we were at the peak. Well, we’re high enough, we responded, laughing. And off he went to find the summit survey marker to knock off one more 4,000-Footer on his list.

Odd dude, I thought, not yet attuned to the 4,000-foot pursuit. Who knows what he thought of the wise-ass stoners.

So whether Tecumseh falls off the NH 4,000-Footer list, or others follow, or however you choose to play out your passion, remember what brought you to the mountains to begin with: following your heart, and living your dream.

Feature image provided by Maggie Slepian.

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Comments 4

  • Ashley : Mar 1st

    Damn it. What a waste of a hike. *sarcasm font*

    • Jack : Jul 27th

      In Oct. 1961, 60 members of the Tufts Mountain Club and UNH Outing Club climbed Sandwich Dome (aka Sandwich Mountain). Sandwich was only 3993-feet, so it was not a 4000-footer. However, the 60 of us gathered rocks and boulders as we climbed Sandwich – and made a 14.3 foot high cairn on top – thus making the peak of Sandwich 4007 feet! This feat of nature-grooming was ignored by the powers-that-be – they refused to recognize the newest 4000-footer. Over the years, climbers and weather reduced the cairn. It was still recognizable in the 1980s but it’s essentially gone now.

    • John Juza : Nov 26th

      The survey marker reads 3997😉

  • Peter Hicks : Apr 8th

    Damn. I’ve done all of them except Isolation. Can we get a new survey on Isolation? If we can get that one off of the list, I’m good to go. Taking Tecumseh off of the list makes me feel like the day I heard that Pluto had been demoted as a planet!!


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