View Full Version : Reality check: upcoming Presi hiking

05-20-2006, 05:36 AM
I'll do more ranger calling, gut-checking, and probably forum pestering before then, but i'm starting to contemplate the sanity of my Presi plans for the last couple days of May. We're trying to train for some major western u.s. climbs, and we thought we'd put up camp up the Great Gulf, and on Day 1 go up 6 Husbands and try to do as many northern summits as possible, then on Day 2, head up the Washington north headwall and try to tag Monroe before heading out. So...

We're ready for 2 huge days, but between the flooding, lingering snow, blackflies, etc...are we just setting ourselves up for a big strikeout? Hmm.

05-20-2006, 09:58 AM
Have no fear Mark, go for it. You are doing the right thing of thinking safety for everyone in your group, or yourself. I am sure your are monitoring the weather forecasts as the days near. Sounds like an awesome trip, as the Presies are a favorite of mine.

05-20-2006, 09:39 PM
I agree, go for it. If you have to modify your plans, you have enough bail out points (although you may have to do some hiking back into GG to retrieve your stuff).

Good luck, have fun, and be safe!

Mohamed Ellozy
05-20-2006, 09:59 PM

The Presis are only really suitable for those of us who live near by; we can adapt our plans to accomodate the weather :) :)

Your major concern is about the high water levels, and it is very appropriate. The West Branch of the Peabody River is a major factor in all of your plans, and it can be a raging torrent. Unfortunately its level depends very much on the rainfall in the previous few days. Right now I suspect that many crossings would be "interesting" at best, plain unsafe at worse. But we are still about ten days away from your planned dates, ample time for the river to become more manageable.

My sugestion is to start work on a Plan B for high water. In the worst case the Valley Way would provide you with an access to the ridge with absolutely no water crossings. Camp at either the Valley Way Tentsite or The Perch.

Going to the Perch on Day one would make for a very easy (assuming no major storm) Monroe on day 2; getting back to you car would be the major issue. Depending on how fast you hike an out and back might be possible; I have not done the arithmetic.

I realize that this is very much what I suggested long ago; since I do not really understand what you are trying to accomplish I am not sure that this will really satisfy you.

05-21-2006, 11:47 PM
I realize that this is very much what I suggested long ago; since I do not really understand what you are trying to accomplish I am not sure that this will really satisfy you.

What we're trying to accomplish is a scenic, challenging 2 days of nabbing the 5 highest presis while camping the night between the 2 days. My main worry with your suggestion, Mohamed, was with getting back to the car, but i'll consider it again. The other concern with camping on the north slope is that it makes one day so much longer than the other day. (Out and back would be impossible at our pace, unfortunately.)

If only there were a legal place to camp high someplace between Adams and Washington, without descending and re-ascending... (the huts won't be open, also)

05-22-2006, 12:50 AM
I'll throw in my two cents. I'd have a plan B if it is absolutely clear that the water is raging (i.e. major rains in the couple days before you plan to go).
I think that plan B could include hiking up to Crag Camp on day one, then leaving your heavy packs and going light up to Adams and Madison if the weather is o.k. Then day 2, bypassing Adams and heading right over to Jefferson and maybe Washington, depending on time, conditions and your own status. Based on what you said, don't think you'll make it all the way to Monroe and then all the way back and down in a day.

However, barring raging rivers, you could stick with your plan A and head up into the Great Gulf, and after about 3 miles there's a crossing of the West Branch of the Peabody, I believe on a bridge, but you'll get a good idea of the flow from here. I'd just keep on going to wherever you planned to camp in the Gulf., set up camp and then make your attempt on the Six Husbands. If the crossing over the Peabody right at the beginning of the Six Husbands is too rough, then you have a couple options. You could turn around and head up the Wamsutta trail to the Alpine Garden Trail and Washington (and then back). Or, you could head back down the Great Gulf trail a ways (depending on where you camped) and head up the Madison Gulf Trail to do Adams and/or Madison and then down the Osgood and back to your campsite. I think I'd opt for the second choice if you can't do the Six Husbands, and then the next day try again (if the water is receding), or do the Washington via Wamsutta option.

Good luck and as long as you remain flexible I'm sure you'll get in some great hiking unless the weather is truly awful. And even then, you could change your plans and do some excellent hiking in areas where your exposure above tree line was not as great as the Northern Presis.

05-22-2006, 07:12 AM
We're ready for 2 huge days, but between the flooding, lingering snow, blackflies, etc...are we just setting ourselves up for a big strikeout? Hmm.

Starting at Pinkham, follow the AT over Madison and Adams then down Israel Ridge to the Perch. Next day, go up the Randolph Path to Edmands Col and continue on the AT to Monroe. Take the Camel trail to Davis Path to Boott Spur and the Boott Spur trail back to Pinkham. Only two major water crossings on solid (?) bridges.

Mike P.
05-22-2006, 04:21 PM
No place to camp up high, the RMC facilities offer the highest spots while the highest camp site is off Valley Way, too far north really for what you are looking for.

Are the Western Climbs, distance related or steep? You can't really train for altitude here but if steep, you'd be better off shortening trip, skipping Monroe & look at a 2nd day of gaining major elevation after the first day of elevation gain. Camping high & adding distance is not really the same. That said, early this weekend looks pretty good as it looks like we are in a dry spell & as long as night time temps are above 32, the recent snow should melt pretty quick.

Unless we get more snow or rain, I'd try your planned trip. I'm sticking with my plans , although crossings aren't so much an issue for me but possible snow along the Garfield Ridge & maybe the Twinway

05-22-2006, 08:13 PM
I might need to come back 50 more times to try out all the permutations.

The Western climbs are Shasta and Gannett, so it's both major elevation gain, AND covering a lot of miles with pack. My thoughts on sleeping high were more a matter of convenience than any wild hopes for acclimation. (convenient towards the goal of reaching more peaks...)

Mohamed Ellozy
05-31-2006, 04:17 PM

Read your trip report (http://www.vftt.org/trail/nh/6072.html), looks like you spent the night at Grey Knob? I guess that leaves you short of Monroe for the NH (and New England) Fives (I assume that you've done both summits of Kathadin?). Assuming once again that you did Marcy (I definitely remember you posting a TR on it) you would also need Algonquin for the Northeastern Fives. A glorious peak, not to be missed.

06-01-2006, 09:06 AM
It seems i'm not the only one stiff from hiking the northern Presis. My keyboard is sticking too. (With apologies, the rest of this post won't be backspace[-fixed.)

Y^ep, we decided t5o leave t5he t5ent5 behind and st5ay6 at5 Grey6 Knob. It5 was pret5t5y6 nice...no bugs or crit5t5ers. T%ry6ing t5o climb back up t5o do Washingt5on and Monroe t5he next5 day6 would have been murder on my6 knees...t5oo many6 rocks. Monroe and Algonquin are t5he 2 "t5ers" i have left5 t5o do. Isn't5 Hamlin Peak under 200' of prominence? If not5, t5hen i have 3 left5.

So far, epics be damned, Jefferson has been my6 favorit5e. T%his key6board is driving me nut5s...if any6one want5s more t5rail report5ing, feel free t5o email me for info!

T%hanks for t5he t5ips every6one!

Mohamed Ellozy
06-01-2006, 12:58 PM
I have not looked at the map, as the AMC 4,000 Footer Committee does the job for us. And they have decreed that Hamlin has over 200 feet of prominence, hence we peakbaggers must do it. You, however, have no need to do so as it is a puny 4,756 feet above sea level :) I should have checked before posting :(

06-01-2006, 02:17 PM
Monroe and Algonquin are t5he 2 "t5ers" i have left5 t5o do. Isn't5 Hamlin Peak under 200' of prominence? If not5, t5hen i have 3 left5.

This is some funny sh5t! I need an Enigma machine to figure out what the h5ck you're saying. Reminds me of the SNL skit wherein the Bush daughters ba-have ba-their ba-own ba-code that ba-Daddy ba-can't ba-figure ba-out, ba.


06-02-2006, 07:20 PM
The really weird thing is the last couple days as i've recovered from the hike, my keyboard mysteriously has also recovered. Absolutely bizarre.

Hamlin under 5000', and i was almost looking forward to the excuse to return to Baxter...rats. It's actually kinda dumb that this peak list of mine has kept me from doing OTHER things on my annual new england trips. I've been to Maine 6 straight years and still haven't even gone to the coast. I may need to make sure i keep getting invited back for several more years.

06-04-2006, 05:34 PM
What about separate two day hikes and camping down low? Suggestion: (of course weather dependent and need 2 cars) Madison, Adams, Jefferson one day and Washington, Monroe and Eisenhower on another?