View Full Version : Presi Traverse

06-24-2011, 03:31 AM
I'm thinking of attempting a single day traverse of the Presidents before the end of the Summer. Although I am experienced climbing in the ADK and Cats, I have never climbed in New England.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom about this trip that they would like to share with me?

06-24-2011, 05:17 AM
Plan on a long day preferably earlier in the summer to take advantage of long daylight. Stay the night before and leave early (before sunrise) Plan on using the Huts for water resupply so no need to lug a lot up Madison. North to South is generally regarded as easier. Do the car spot the night before, if possible spot a second car at the Cog for bail out.

Most important, you need to have good weather conditions. It has snowed every month of the year on Washington and sustained exposure to precip along with inevitable winds can be dangerous. If the forecast for the region is bad find somewhere else to go. Generally the forecast lags for the summit ridge, if there is a chance of clearing in the forecast for NH, the odds are the summits are in the clouds as they are the last to clear.

One minor addition, take you time at the beginning, many folks set too fast a pace up Madison from Valley way and regret it later in the day. Unless you are trying to set a record you are better off starting at a slow pace. As Tim mentions its easy to spend way to much time on the top of Mt Washington and Lakes of the Crowds (although I must admit, Lakes usually has some great goodies for sale).

06-24-2011, 06:08 AM
Do not linger too long on any one summit as there are at least 7 and maybe 10 (if you count/include Clay, Franklin and Webster). Likewise about the huts - fill your water supply and move on. As mentioned above, leaving a car at the Cog allows you to bail at a few places, and another car at Mt. Clinton lot allows you to finish on Pierce, or Jackson/Webster with only a minimal, 10-minute road walk (it is up hill, unfortunately.)

Read / print / bring this: http://chauvinguides.com/PresiTraverse/presiescapeguide.htm as it contains all the escape routes. A PDF version is here: http://chauvinguides.com/PresiTraverse/presiescapes.pdf


06-24-2011, 07:00 AM

Read / print / bring this: http://chauvinguides.com/PresiTraverse/presiescapeguide.htm as it contains all the escape routes. A PDF version is here: http://chauvinguides.com/PresiTraverse/presiescapes.pdf


Thanks for posting this. I had never seen it.

06-24-2011, 08:43 AM
Make sure to keep eating and stay hydrated for the whole hike in order to sustain your energy levels. I find that I tend to lose my appetite the longer I hike, but keep eating anyway. I would carry alot of gel-pacs and I love beef jerky, this gives you a cross of protien and carbs. I also use cytomax in my water. One more thing, if your not used to long hikes, focus on one mountain at a time. not the whole range. Ok one more thing, carry a headlamp and extra batteries, you can descend in the dark with a torch if need be.

06-24-2011, 08:57 AM
If you have to bail, bail West. With the exception of The King Ravine Trail and Chemin de Dames, the western descents are easier.

Have a great hike!

06-24-2011, 08:31 PM
Three suggestions that might help a bit:

1) When you leave Madison Hut, stay on the Gulfside Trail until Thunderstorm Junction...then head to Adams summit from there. It adds an extra 0.2 miles to the trip, but that portion of Gulfside Trail is smooth sailing, with some very clean rock work...some stretches it's almost bike-able. You might find that easier than the more direct route up Adams.

2) Fill your body (but not your bottles) with water on Washington summit. You can go from the summit down to Lakes of the Clouds Hut with minimal water (maybe one bottle at most). As peakbagger said, no use humping a ton of water up toward Madison when the hut is right there on the way. Well, same thing descending....no use carrying extra water for the 1.5 miles and 1300 feet drop from Washington to LOC Hut. You can top off all your bottles at the hut (I think it tastes better there anyway).

3) When you're above treeline and you stop to take breaks, turn around and look back at where you came from. Not only is the view great, but also it'll make you feel good.

good luck

06-27-2011, 11:27 AM
Consider staying in the area after the hike. After my traverses, I've had to get back home afterward and it is really awful and dangerous to drive when you are that tired. Pick up your car spot, and get some sleep!

06-27-2011, 12:46 PM
The only part of the Presi traverse that I found difficult, was the incessant boulder hoping. I believe there is only 3 to 4 miles of the entire traverse that is dirt treadway, the rest is all boulders, which plays a number on your knees towards the end of the hike.

06-27-2011, 07:54 PM
Consider stashing a mountain bike at the Highland Center for the ride back to Appalachia "the day after". It's a great ride over Jefferson Notch Rd. But, only if you've got a MT bike with some suspension.
Other than that, I agree with previous posters.