I’m not a big fan of peak-bagging lists – climbing various places according to some arbitrary measure (prominence above 4,000 feet, every month of the year, etc.) but there’s no doubt that they are a spur for people to hit the hills.

Too much of a spur right now, it seems: The Appalachian Mountain Club announced Sunday that any mountains summited between April 13 and continuing until stay-at-home orders are lifted throughout New England, will not count toward the completion of any of the organization’s various 4,000-footer lists.

Those lists include the White Mountain 4000-footer list (including the four-season award), the New England 4000-footer list, and the New England Hundred Highest list, AMC said.

“We feel this additional step is necessary to address the large numbers of people who are not heeding the recommendation and continue to risk spreading the virus in communities that may not have the resources to deal with the result,” the AMC Four-Thousand Footer Club announced in a statement Sunday morning.

In addition to the risks posed to local mountain communities by hikers traveling from other areas, spring conditions on the trails are especially hazardous, AMC officials wrote.

“First responders may not be available should an accident occur, and would be potentially exposed to the virus if called out for a rescue,” the statement read.

The current stay-at-home orders are in effect through May 4 in New Hampshire and Massachusetts; May 15 in Vermont; and May 1 in Maine. 

AMC officials asked that hikers do not go out in groups, that they avoid busy trailheads and practice social distancing with a minimum of six feet. Hikers should wash their hands before and after going out on trails. Hikers should not use shelters or privies; they are not sanitized and could facilitate the spread of the virus, they said.

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