Anyone who has hiked through Zealand Notch in the White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire has crossed the talus slope at the foot of Whitewall Mountain. Perhaps you were on a day trip to Thoreau Falls or an over-night to the Zealand Falls Hut or Ethan Pond Shelter. Or maybe you were hiking through on the Appalachian Trail. Did you look up the 600' Whitewall Cliff and wonder what's up there. Well, until recently there was nothing on top but spectacular views in nearly all directions. Now there is also a geocache.
Whitewall Mountain is only 3,405 feet, too small to attract peak-baggers and trail builders. The upper slopes are virgin territory, traveled only by moose and black bear. This will be a major bushwhack for any cache hunter willing to accept the challenge. Careful planning and excellent navigation skills are required. Simply punching the cache coordinates into your GPSR and heading out will not do. Hiking up and down the backside of the mountain took me a full 8-hour day using multiple waypoints carefully plotted in advance.
There are several possible trailheads and approaches to the cache. I won't go into the details of my route selection, since I won't say that my way is the best/safest/quickest way. Choose a route that looks best to you after studying the available maps and aerial photos and weighing your personal strengths and weaknesses. Plan ahead carefully and be ready to turn back if you find yourself over your head. Consider the possibility of an overnight bivouac and come prepared for darkness and changes in the weather . Don't even think of seeking out this cache unless you are experienced in the backcountry. Remember that New Hampshire has a reckless hiker law that can make you liable for the costs of your own rescue. Let's be careful out there. That said, I found the trip to the summit a blast and hope you will too.
Update: This cache keeps vanishing and we keep installing new ones. If it is a person who is sabotaging the site, please drop me a line stating your reasons and maybe we can find a compromise.
Another Update: On 09/27/2014 Jeremiah Johnson wrote: "The ascent was fairly eventless until we hit the point near west side cliffs, when TIC61 put his hand on a huge boulder. K4 and GJ were up ahead, I was just down and to his left and he made a warning as we made a quick move to the left. It seemed like half the slide gave way and a HUGE avalanche of rock cascaded down the slide, crashing into the pile up below.