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AMC’s White Mountain Guide Marks 110 Years of Public Service

August 25, 2017
White Mountain Guide
Ryan SmithJohn Judge speaks to the public service AMC’s ‘White Mountain Guide’ has provided for 110 years.

First published in 1907, AMC’s revered and respected White Mountain Guide marks a milestone with the publication of its 30th edition, which rolled off the press and onto bookshelves in August.

Together with its revamped pull-out maps, the guide is an essential trip-planning tool, designed not only to help hikers find and appreciate plunging waterfalls, lofty peaks, and jaw-dropping views along the trail, but to help them stay safe, as well.

Originally published as Guide to the Paths and Camps in the White Mountains, Part I, the White Mountain Guide has been a trusted companion for generations of hikers. It also serves AMC’s mission, as noted in 1907 by Harland A. Perkins, AMC’s councillor of improvements. While seeing swift sales of the original volume, Perkins estimated the publication might net only a small amount after expenses. Nevertheless, he wrote, “the Councillor believes that, even should the final sheet show a loss, the book would be a distinct benefit to the Club as a public service.”

AMC proudly continues to provide that public service today, updating every new edition with the latest trail openings, closings, and reroutings—now totaling more than 500 detailed descriptions in all. The 30th edition also delivers overhauled statistics for each trail, with new, easy-to-read charts tracking cumulative distance, elevation gain, and estimated time between waypoints—key for planning those before-dark arrivals. (Pro tip: “Book time” is calculated by allowing 30 minutes per mile of travel and 30 minutes per 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Check out the “How to Use This Book” section of the guide.)

In addition to the revised trail descriptions, the 30th edition includes a new set of at-a-glance icons for suggested hikes, allowing readers to quickly identify trails that are kid- or dog-friendly, good for snowshoeing, and so on. Also within the pages are best practices for injury prevention and treatment, and trip-planning tips that cover weather, gear, clothing, and more. Our commitment to safe-hiking education goes hand in hand with our dedication as search-and-rescue (SAR) volunteers, assisting the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department in an average of 50 SAR missions per year. The White Mountain Guide is a go-to reference for those rescuers as they hit the trail.

We take pride in knowing this authoritative guide has helped hikers find their way and stay safe in the mountains for more than a century. I commend the book’s author, Stephen D. Smith; and AMC’s staff cartographer, Larry Garland; and the AMC Books Department for their fine work on yet another superb edition of our flagship title.

John D. Judge
President and CEO


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John D. Judge, President

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