When it comes to outdoor sports, there’s not much New Hampshire’s Andrew Drummond doesn’t do. He skis. He surfs. He runs. He kayaks. He bikes. But there is one activity, hiking, where he has truly made his mark, showing what one can accomplish when they put their mind to it.
At the end of July, the 35-year-old Drummond hiked the White Mountain Direttissima – all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000 footers – in 5 days, 23 hours and 58 minutes. And he documented it on social media, allowing friends, family and complete strangers to follow his progress as he shattered the previous record of eight days.
“I got the idea of doing all the 4,000 footers in one hike in the summer of 2015,” he said. “It’s something I thought about for over a year. I planned for it. I put a big spotlight on myself by gaining exposure to news outlets, magazines, brands and sponsors. I had a lot of people watching me because I wanted exposure for the White Mountains. For this project, I had a deep-rooted motivation for me to keep moving.”
Drummond’s passion for the outdoors was formed when he was a kid growing up in Conway, New Hampshire. In the summer, he hiked. In the winter and spring, he skied.
That changed after he graduated from Colby College in Maine, and moved to San Diego where he worked as an environmental consultant. During the downtime, he learned how to surf. His hiking was limited to vacations when he visited his parents in New Hampshire or his brother in Yosemite.
He eventually returned to the East Coast in 2014. The time away made him appreciate the natural beauty that exists in this part of the country. “When I moved back here, it was fun to reconnect with the mountains and trails and all the things I had done as a kid, but be in control and really get the lay of the land,” he told us.
That interest expanded to something much more. He began to test his physical limits, starting with short races, first 5Ks, then 10Ks and eventually half marathons. He continued to hike. He jumped into backcountry skiing.
All of that was preparation for the 2015 Tuckerman Inferno, a five-sport adventure race that starts with an 8.3-mile run, followed by a 6-mile kayak, 18-mile bike ride and a 3-mile hike up Tuckerman Trail. The Inferno concludes with a 1-mile ski down Tuckerman Ravine. With a time of 3:40:52, Drummond came in first in the elite men’s category. He repeated as champion this spring.
That race served as a precursor to what he was able to accomplish this summer. His only competition this time was himself. “The hardest part for me was the sleep deprivation,” he said. “I thought my body would break down, my knees would hurt and the physical pain would be too much. But my mind overpowered all of that stuff. I felt good as the days went by. I’m not sure if it was my mind or body adapting.”
The highlights, he said, “were giving yourself an opportunity to see amazing things.” The most spectacular of those occurred on the second day as he ascended Bondcliff. “It was raining in the distance and went from overcast to the clouds breaking up and rainbows and beautiful sunrays coming through the clouds,” he recalled. “If you’re not out there, you don’t have the opportunity to experience that. That is primarily the reason people hike: to get above the tree line and experience these views.”
Utilizing Snapchat and Facebook, Drummond was able to maintain a direct connection to those interested in following his journey. “It’s really fun. Basically, I was able to let people see me before I started, how I was preparing, as it was happening. I had pictures going out. I did live video. There was a tracker. People knew when I laid down to sleep, when I was back up and moving, if I was summiting a peak,” he said. “It was very inclusive and transparent… You get a sense of a real-time adventure and storytelling.”
It compelled a complete stranger, monitoring Drummond’s progression online, to meet up with him near Mount Cabot as he was completing the Direttissima. “I got to share a few miles with him,” Drummond said. “That was really special.”
It is just one way Drummond has helped shine a bright light on the outdoors, and specifically, the wonders of the White Mountains. His goal is to compel others to follow in his footsteps. “Everyone has their own experience in the mountains,” he said. “For me, it is the sights, the smells, being outdoors and being in the wilderness. It is something I think leaves everybody better off. It brings me a deep sense of joy and I want others to experience that same feeling.”
START YOUR JOURNEY
So what are you waiting for? At X-Wear, we carry equipment for hikers of all ages and skill levels. A good place to start is our line of polarized sunglasses that are durable, rugged and can withstand the elements. Click here for brands like Hobie, Maui Jim, Oakley, Native and Wiley X that are perfect for a hike in the White Mountains. We also recommend a sturdy backpack.Our collection of bags include several that meet this requirement such as this one from Quiksilver as well as the Smith Heyburn and Smith Borah backpacks.
And follow Drummond’s lead by capturing your own adventures, using the GoPro. The camera is well-suited for the outdoor environment, all while shooting the best in high definition video. And check out these GoPro accessories – batteries, mounts and tripods – that will help you get the most out of your new camera.
If you want more mountain escapades, read about Cape Cod’s Jack Scanlon who is in the process of scaling the best New Hampshire has to offer. And meet Colorado’s equivalent of Drummond, Andrew Hamilton, in this blog that highlighted the incredible feat he accomplished last summer.