The White Mountain Marathon

First, the details of tMail and Mutha's "White Mountain Marathon":

  • Route: Start at Zealand Road parking area. Twinway/Bondcliff Trail/Wilderness/Thoreau Falls/Ethan Pond and back to car
  • 26.2 miles
  • 5,400 ft of elevation gain
  • Five 4,000 footers (Zealand, Guyot, Bond, West Bond, Bondcliff)
  • General plan: each go solo
  • Total time Mutha: 7.5 hours
  • Total time tMail: 6.5 hours
You got that right. tMail is one fast and furious mutherf**ker. In Click To Zoom Elevation Profile
my own defense I'd like to point out that I took a 15min break to pump 2L of water w/ the MSR filter and have a sandwich, and technically I did tell tMail that I wasn't going to push on the ascents - but that was because I would've dropped dead. It's possible I could've narrowed that margin to 45min, but I doubt it. That kid is a freakin' animal!

More details later. Must have Gin & Tonic.
Mutha's Report:
  • This was great training for Jay. Clearly tMail will crush that course (see notes above).
  • I finally have traveled the entire length of the Wilderness Trail.
  • The Bondcliff Trail was quite busy, but there wasn't a single person on the Thoreau Falls trail. We did find a HUGE container filled with peanut butter though. I was too tired to carry it out.
  • I lost my "Otter Creek Brewing" cap somewhere in the Pemi.
  • Repeated head soaking/face washing/hand soaking in the icy cold brooks saved us.
  • Weather above 4,000ft: sunny, blue sky, 70°F, dry air.
  • Weather in the valley: hot, muggy, muddy, buggy, sweaty
  • Biggest Thrill: crossing bridge on the Wilderness Trail with sign at each end that read: "Caution: No More Than 2 People On Bridge At Same Time"
  • I jammed my left toe on Zealand Notch. The toe is swollen and under the nail is already turning black. Click On Toe
    click on picture at right for really gross photo. If you don't like toe photos, don't click on it. For all trip photos, see photo gallery HERE.
  • The whole thing was a blur. A really big blur. It still is. 6:45 to 2:15. Yeowtch.

tMail's Trip Report (ver 0.10):
  • going to bed right knee swollen as I smashed it off a rock after zealand which is a piece of $hit...and I have nice foot rot from being in wet shoes.
  • In the last month I have done Bond Cliff 4 times Bond 3 and West Bond 2...
  • Wilderness I hate!
  • Thoureau Falls I decided I hate it because it connects to the wilderness and is similar.
  • Guyot: I have been there twice and never stood on the summit nor do I care
  • If I had poison I wonder if I would take it if ever put on wilderness or thoureau falls again
  • The tub of peanut butter pisses me off now.
  • Zealand is another weird hut we ran by and it seemed they had a band playing at 7am
  • If I don't smash my toe and ankle off another rock that would be a good thing
  • This was another hike that Mutha and I only said 5 words to each other the entire time
  • I decided for a challenge once I saw the sign for Bond (0.7) I would hit West Bond - Bond - Bond Cliff in under 1 hour I did it in 58 minutes.
  • I wanted to throw up running up Bond
  • Running threw 100's of cob webs really sucks
  • Thoreau Falls Trail made me think I was in the Blair Witch project
  • I often thought of being eaten by a bear
  • I thought of MadDog and his knee pad when I smashed my knee off a rock near Zealand.
  • While running across the saddle from Bond to Bondcliff I thought of Spanky
  • WILDERNESS TRAIL - Burn it!!!!
  • Mutha is a Beast - Monster rolled in one
  • I twice thought of throwing myself down Thoreau Falls
  • Zealand has a great soak spot!!!!
  • The Yahoos are out for the 4th!!!!


  1. Well done bionic boyz. On one of your future rest days, I bet you dawgs could make a go of the Pemi record :-)

  2. clearly I associate with the wrong people....even with a bike I couldn't cover that terrain as quickly as you guys did....incredible effort...

  3. g-$$$! that's a funny comment. on the bondcliff, wilderness, thoreau falls AND ethan pond trails i made the observation that a good mountain biker could do most of that half of the hike. i was trotting along thinking "i bet g-$$$ could do this on his bike!"

  4. http://www.cmsrun.org/men/2005/07/pemi-loop-record-attempt-7405.html

  5. Anyone here? 4 years later - tried to do your route but the suspension bridge over Pemi River on Wilderness (trail closed) is gone! But how did you get 5,400 elevation gain? I'm only coming up with 4,600 using AMC guide.

    1. Hi Julie,

      Yeah, I guess it's been a few years. We had to reroute the marathon due to the bridge issue as you noticed. We don't go by the AMC guide for elevation gain. I use Delormé's 'Topo USA' software which gives you pretty good totals. You pick up a lot of elevation on sections you don't necessarily think of as having enough gain to contribute, like the saddle between Zealand and Guyot or the AT between Zeacliff and the Willey Ridge trail junction.

      Our favorite route right now isn't a loop, which is a but of a pain, but it's basically from north to south tagging Zealand, then dropping back down via the Zeacliff trail and taking the AT to Thoreau Falls Trail to the Desolation Trail and up and over Carrigain. It's a demanding route, but drop-dead gorgeous during fall foliage season.

      We're planning a pemi loop for next Saturday if you have any interest.