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New Ipswich man hits Mount Monadnock summit milestone

  • Fran Rautiola of New Ipswich at the entrance of the White Dot Trail at Monadnock State Park in Jaffrey. Rautiola has climbed Mount Monadnock over 5,000 times. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Fran Rautiola of New Ipswich has climbed Mount Monadnock over 5,000 times. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/6/2020 4:09:32 PM

When Fran Rautiola first hiked Mount Monadnock, he had no goal in mind besides getting to the top. 

Rautiola, 74, moved to New Ipswich from Michigan in 1967. On Sunday afternoons, he’d head to Monadnock State Park for a picnic and a trip up the White Dot Trail. 

“It’s a big enough mountain to have a lot of fun, and small enough to be totally safe,” Rautiola said. 

The routine hikes turned into weekly affairs, picnic or not; by fall of 1991, Rautiola was hiking Monadnock regularly and began logging his trips to the top.

“The numbers just keep adding up,” Rautiola said. 

Sometimes, he’d hike it more than once; one day, he climbed it 14 times, nearly challenging the record for hikes in a day (16, by hiker and author Gary Harrington).

Rautiola’s hiked all of New Hampshire’s 48-footers as well as several peaks around the United States and in the Grand Canyon, but that mountain just down the street keeps calling him back. In March, Rautiola, with his family in tow, made his 5,000th trip to the summit. The record, he noted, is 7,600 by Larry Davis; Rautiola said he doesn’t intend or expect to break it, “even if our ages were flipped,” he joked.

“I enjoyed hiking the thing, I just like hiking it,” Rautiola said. “Right after a hike you can’t wait to climb it again.”

Rautiola said he likes to take the Cascade Link Trail to Pumpelly when he has time for a longer hike, but he usually just takes the oft-traversed White Dot Trail. On Saturday morning, Rautiola headed up White Dot for his 5,017th trip up the mountain, 893 of which have come after his 70th birthday. 

“I wanted to see how many times I could do it in my 70s,” Rautiola said. “Last year, I did it 300 times.”


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