Thursday, July 11, 2013

Presidential Traverse - 6/30/13

On Sunday, June 30th, I completed a full south to north traverse of the Presidential Range in 10 hours and 20 minutes. I had a funky grid-inspired plan in mind that I was attempting, that would have entailed me going back over the range in the night time, to complete a double Presidential Traverse in two different months in 24 hours. Because of the unsettled weather for my specific timeline, it left me feeling unsettled about going back up onto New England's highest peaks after it had just poured for about an hour when I finished. Wet northern Presi rocks in the middle of the night after getting soaked was enough for me to back off. But at the end of the day, I had still squeezed a Presi Day out of a warm, humid, and unsettled day in the White Mountains.

At 8:45 on the nose (after leaving a cache at Appalachia for myself about an hour earlier), I began my day with a quick ascent of Mt. Jackson in about 70 minutes. I stopped at the Mizpah Hut to re-fill my water, both bladder and bottle, after already drinking my entire 2 liter bladder. I drank close to 8 liters on the traverse. Without any hesitation, I continued on, moving the quickest of the day from the start all of the way to Eisenhower. At times, I moved swiftly at a jogging pace, including most of the way down Eisenhower. I refilled water at each hut location, including the Washington summit, managing my water with any problems. The temperature for the entire traverse was not overly oppressive.  In fact with breezes, it was pretty nice.
Webster-Jackson Trail 
A beautiful morning in Crawford Notch & Bretton Woods  
The Presidentials from Mt. Jackson.  (1:10)
AMC's Mizpah Hut 
From Mt. Pierce (2:03)
Mt. Eisenhower (2:38)
Oakes Gulf from Mt. Monroe (3:34)
I looked at my hand on the summit of Mt. Monroe to find a surprise hitcher
No bad weather at the moment but potential for it was growing nearer....
The majestic Lake of the Clouds, as always 
Mt. Washington summit (4:33)
Quick photo for my 14th summit of Mt. Washington - don't want to hold up the line.
Wasn't wasting any time sitting around...dark clouds coming, the toughest ahead...
The Great Gulf and Spaulding Lake
Mt. Clay, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Adams 
Mt. Jefferson summit (6:59)
Clouds over Washington from Jefferson
View from near Adams summit
Mt. Adams (7:39)
Osgood Trail on Madison summit ridge
View from Madison
Mt. Madison (8:31)
I felt great descending to Appalachia, and was in really good spirits for having accomplished this time, and being in the ballpark for an attempt to go back over. When I got the trail head, I grabbed my cache and quickly cooked and ate a 2-serving freeze dried meal. I had my hammock set-up for about an hour's rest, but in minutes, the sky let loose, and before I could get my tarp up, I was pretty soaked, including my hammock, really dampening things. I had to scurry to get my military-style poncho over me, my pack, and cache bag, where I sat for at least 45 minutes as it poured, not being able to do anything. It let up a little bit, and I was able to get the tarp overhead, but my hammock was pretty much now useless until I could get it dry. With this madness taking place, my specific time for break was really for not, and by that time it was becoming impossible for me to finish in 24 hours, so I decided to just chill out. I opted against pushing myself over wet rocks and an uncertain night of maybe more rain. I took the Appalachian Mountain Club's shuttle back to my car at 8:40 on Monday morning. I had taken the day off to go for it, but just didn't feel like pushing it this time. It was a pretty interesting night at the trail head under my tarp. At least I had left my cache with food, warm clothes, dry socks, and everything I needed! I'll be tweaking my plans a little and I think this one is getting another try at the end of August!
Appalchia (10:20)

Hike Stats
Trails: Jackson-Webster Trail, Webster Cliff Trail, Crawford Path, Eisenhower Loop, Monroe Loop, Gulfside Trail, Jefferson Loop, Israel Ridge Trail, Airline Trail, Osgood Trail, Valley Way Trail
Distance: 21.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 7,530 ft. (skipped Franklin and Clay since they are not on "the grid")
Actual Book Time: 10:20


  1. Excellent time to do the whole traverse, especially in the heat we've been having! Great photos too.