Foggy
34°
Foggy
Hi 59° | Lo 42°

Man Climbs All 48 N.H. 4,000-Footers for Prouty

The method with which Brad Taylor has chosen to contribute to the Prouty this year could be considered downright lunacy. Then again, that’s at least part of the idea.

Taylor, 55, of Canterbury, N.H., is climbing Mount Moosilauke today to complete his “Full Moon 48” initiative, a summiting of all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000-foot summits between the full moons of June and July to benefit the Prouty, Norris Cotton Cancer Center’s largest annual fundraiser.

Joined by his wife Ann, sister-in-law Ginger Kandle and Prouty staff member Steve Bjerklie for today’s Moosilauke finale, Taylor planned to take the Snapper Trail and Carriage Road and leave early enough to view the sunrise from its 4,802-foot summit.

“If the weather stays clear, around 5:30 (a.m.) the full moon should still be out at the same time as the sunrise,” Taylor said in a phone interview. “That way, we should be back down by midday and be able to get to the finish line of the Prouty.”

Taylor is part of the eight-member Three Generations team, which as of Friday afternoon had raised more than $16,400. Taylor’s Full Moon 48 initiative alone had raised $1,200.

A previous participant in the Prouty’s 100-mile bike ride (2007-10) as well as its 200-mile “Ultimate” bike ride (2011-12), Taylor went on to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in December 2012 as part of Norris Cotton’s “Reach for the Peaks” initiative.

It was while Taylor was high atop the 19,341-foot Tanzanian behemoth that the notion of the Full Moon 48 came to mind.

“It was an oxygen-deprived idea,” Taylor joked. “I was talking with (Reach for the Peaks founder) Wes Chapman about new ways to benefit the Prouty and it came to mind. I’ve been climbing the White Mountains for 25 years. They’re my favorite part of New England, certainly New Hampshire, and with Moosilauke being so close to Hanover, I knew I could probably make it to the finish line to be there for the rest of the team. The fact that it happened to be on the same day as a full moon was a convenient coincidence.”

Taylor will have covered 263 miles of hiking in one month’s time. He doesn’t dare calculate the total elevation gain: “I’d probably faint from shock,” he said.

At least he’s had plenty of company. Kandle, his-sister-in-law, has joined him for 26 of the peaks, Ann Taylor has taken on 12 of them with him and a friend, Craig Kelleher, of North Hampton, N.H., has been there for eight.

Though an experienced climber, summiting four dozen 4,000-footers in one month’s time has had its challenges for Taylor.

He was greeted rudely with 40 mph winds in the Kinsman Range on his first day of climbing, and similar gusts atop Mount Isolation on July 5 were so strong he couldn’t keep his hands steady to take photographs.

The most arduous climbing day may have been July 1, when Taylor endured 21 miles in very humid conditions over 4,265-foot Bond Cliff in the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

“It was hot, and the bugs were awful that day,” said Taylor. “There were a lot of black flies.”

Naturally, Taylor’s journey was also marked by moments of splendor. He enjoyed beautiful conditions the week of the summer solstice, covering four peaks in the Franconia Ridge on June 19 and three in the Presidentials two days later.

“Those hikes were very memorable,” Taylor said. “Conditions were clear and perfect.”

Heading into today’s climb of Moosilauke, Taylor says he’s probably in the best shape of his life. He feels indebted to the Prouty for introducing him to vigorous forms of exercise.

“There are so many great things about the Prouty,” he said.

“You’ve got all of the medical research it provides, and it’s also a great benefit to (participants). Before the first time I did the Prouty, I’d never done anything like that. It makes us do things that we wouldn’t do otherwise, a lot of new opportunities.”

Taylor might try another creative way to benefit the Prouty next year, though he wouldn’t commit to another go at the 4,000-footers.

“I don’t think my knees could handle it,” he said, “I’ll think of something, I’m sure.”

View photographs from Taylor’s Full Moon 48 adventure or donate to his Prouty team by visiting his blog at http://docbradt.tumblr.com.

Jared Pendak can be reached at jpendak@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.