Here at the Notch Hostel, we pride ourselves on curating an “anything is possible” environment—one where our guests feel empowered to take on the kinds of mountain-based projects that challenge them to reach their highest potential.
This past winter, we’ve watched our guests set, meet, and often exceed extraordinary personal outdoor goals. From single-day winter Pemi Loops to Winter NH-48 finishes to a Triple Single Season Winter, they’ve done it all. Guests are supporting each other, lasting friendships have formed, and the Notch community is tighter than ever.
As Winter 2020 came to a close, the global Covid-19 pandemic set in. There was little time for us or our guests to sit back and reflect on their incredible accomplishments, as we all rushed to stock up on food and make unexpected arrangements. Suddenly, our ability to physically engage with each other and the White Mountains came to a screaming halt.
While our world is turning upside-down, we want to take a moment to pause and remember all the wonderful moments that took place at the Notch and in the White Mountains in the preceding three months. In particular, we’d like to highlight our regular guests’ personal achievements from Winter 2020. We’ve shared about some of their feats on our social media, but now feels like the perfect time to compile them all in one place so that we can truly appreciate the volume of hiking these individuals have accomplished this season.
Our guests, and the explosion of activity and camaraderie among them this winter, have been truly inspirational to witness. May these individuals offer you hope and strength at a time when you need it most. Drumroll, please!
1. NEW TERRITORY: WINTER WHITE MOUNTAIN 4Ks
Anita lives full-time in Massachusetts, but has always called The Notch Hostel her home away from home, and we’re grateful she feels that way. Over the last several years, Anita has flown through the all-season NH48 list, started the 52 with a View, and is now adding the winter peaks to her resume with 14 new 4,000-footers summited in the 2019/2020 season. Anita, we are so proud of you, and can’t wait to celebrate your winter finish next year – Notch style!
2. WINTER NH48
Nancy Wind is the founder of Peaks and Poses, a company that takes “yoga out of the studio and into nature.” Nancy has been a VIP guest and family member at the Notch Hostel for several years, and in 2020 she completed her multi-year dream of climbing all 48 4,000-footers in the White Mountains in winter. Big congratulations goes out to you, Nancy! It was a pleasure for us to watch you navigate and finish a lifetime goal!
MOUNT KATAHDIN WINTER ASCENT
Serena Ryan, Rebecca Schubert, John Pike, Matt Jannarone, and Alex Thibedeau
When Serena, Rebecca, John, Matt, and Alex walked into Baxter State park at midnight on the first weekend of the 2019/2020 winter season, they knew they had their work cut out for them. What followed were multiple marathon-length days spent successfully summiting three of the most remote 4,000-footers in New England to access in winter: Baxter, Hamlin, and North Brother. A 7-minute short film documenting their incredible experience can be found here: “Push.”
SINGLE SEASON NEW ENGLAND 67
Rebecca Schubert, John Pike
If you stay at the Notch Hostel on any given weekend, you’re likely to run into one of these two guests. Rebecca and John aren’t just two of our most frequent guests, they (like everyone we’ve mentioned here) are part of the Notch Hostel family. After their 3-day push in Baxter State Park, Rebecca and John went on to climb the remaining 64 peaks over 4,000-feet in New England in a Single Winter Season, a feat known as the Single Season Winter New England 67.
SINGLE SEASON WINTER NH48
Jo Biscoe, Courtney Louise, and BK Noonan
While most people chip away at a winter round of the NH48 over many years, each season a hearty group of hikers sets out to complete the list in a SINGLE Winter. Jo, Courtney, and BK each stayed at the Notch Hostel on multiple occasions during their Single Season bids, and all three walked away with a full round of the 48 before Spring arrived on March 20th. Kudos to all three of you! We loved being your base camp this year, and we’re already looking forward to seeing what you take on next winter.
DOUBLE SINGLE SEASON WINTER NH48
Much less popular than the Single Season winter NH48 is the Double Single Season. As the name implies, the Double Single is the act of climbing all 48 4,000-footers in the White Mountains, twice, in a single winter season. Although it’s difficult to find an exact number of finishers, based on information listed on the Grid and White Mountain-related websites, Steve is likely the 11th or 12th person to complete the double, and stayed at the Notch Hostel for up to two weeks at a time while grinding through his project.
TRIPLE SINGLE SEASON WINTER NH48
If you were to list the truly rare feats in White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Triple Single Season Winter NH48 is right up at the top. As the name implies, the Triple Single is the act of climbing all 48 4,000-footers in the White Mountains, THREE TIMES, in a Single Winter. Prior to 2020, only two individuals in history had completed the Triple: Timothy Muskat (who has also finished the Grid six times) and Philip J. Carcia (who just last year hiked the Grid in the Fastest Known Time.) Declan Kiley now joins the ranks as finisher number three. Not bad for his first winter hiking in the White Mountains, huh?
FIRST KNOWN SELF-SUPPORTED WINTER NH48 THRU-HIKE
Arlette Laan, Rich Gamble
If you study the hiking and peak-bagging culture in the White Mountains, Arlette Laan and Rich Gamble should sound familiar. It would be tough to count the number of outdoor accomplishments these two have accumulated in their lives, but this year specifically was one for the history books. On January 21st, Arlette and Rich became the first known individuals to thru-hike the NH48 in winter. Inspired by the White Mountain Direttissima (which both of them have completed twice), these two created their own unique line from one end of National Forest to the other, summiting all 48 4,000 footers along the way. While Arlette and Rich usually can be found camping in the woods or at trailheads, they have earned a life-time pass to the Notch showers and often use the Notch as a base camp between hikes. We are honored to count them as friends in this community. Deep respect to both of you!