Warren W. Hart: A Councillor of Improvements

October 1, 2008

In 1908, Warren W. Hart, an indefatigable tramper, hiked down into the Great Gulf from Mount Jefferson. Hemmed in by the Northeast’s highest peaks, including Mounts Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and Washington, the Great Gulf had seldom been traversed and never logged prior to Hart’s journey. The remote wilderness and its rugged backdrop ignited Hart’s imagination and became the focal area of the trail work he would oversee in the next three years as AMC’s councillor of improvements.

During the summer of 1909, Hart directed volunteers to cut two of the steepest trails in the White Mountains. In July and August, the Six Husbands Trail (named for Weetamoo, queen of the Pocasset tribe, who married six times) was carved out of the buttress Jefferson’s Knee and climbed 2,500 feet in 2.3 miles. Simultaneously, the Adams Slide Trail was cut up the buttress of Mount Adams and rose a heartpounding 2,308 feet in 1.25 miles.

Hart oversaw the completion of 10 trails in the Great Gulf, and the Adams Slide Trail is the only one that has since been abandoned. It first appeared in print on a 1908 hand-drawn trail map made by Louis Cutter, probably after Hart had sited the trail, and it was noted last on a map for the 1967 edition of the White Mountain Guide. Its formal abandonment occurred sometime in the 1970s, when AMC leadership deemed the steep trail, which suffered from frequent rock slides, too risky for hikers and trail maintainers alike.

Images seen here appear courtesy of the AMC Library and Archives. Duplicates can be ordered for a fee. Funds support efforts to preserve the club’s historical collections. Contact Library and Archives at 617-391-6629, visit the website, or send an e-mail for details.

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