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Structure
06-06-2005, 04:30 PM
Hey guys. I am a 20 yr old who is trying to plan a Presi Traverse for July. Want to take 2-3 other people with me but i have a bunch of questions about it. It seems that a lot of people start from N and go S, how come? Is it possible to do a route that hits the peaks of all the mountains and still finish in less than 24 hrs? Any info people are willing to share with me I would be be very greatful. Thank you

bruno
06-06-2005, 04:33 PM
you'll get lot's o' advice here dude, believe me. so i'll start. the north to south thing is pretty much so's you can get the elevation gains out of the way while you're fresh. and can you do it under 24 hours at age 20? i sure hope so. you should be able to break 10 hours if you get on it. but take your time and enjoy it. on a decent weather day, you'll have lotsa fun. go for it, dog!

oh yeah. go light. you really don't have to pack a lot of water as you can carry just enough to carry you to the huts. make sure you have a good windshell and some carbs and do it up!!

David Metsky
06-06-2005, 07:02 PM
I had a big thing all written up, but Kevin beat me to everything I was going to say. Don't forget to enjoy yourself, stop (but not for too long :) ) to smell the alpine flowers from time to time.

-dave-

sli74
06-06-2005, 08:53 PM
I'll toss in some more info. Take Valley Way to the hut at Madison. Ditch your pack, do Madison and return to hut. . . .

Have do this traverse using Valley Way, Watson Path and Pine Link to get to Madison. Valley Way is hands down the easiest and quickest route. Important not to kick the stuffing out of yourself on the first major ascent.
Kevin

Hey Charlie (MtnTop), you reading this? Your woman is pretty smart about them trails afterall ;)

sli74

Structure
06-06-2005, 09:15 PM
to everyone so far that has given advice thanks. I cant wait to continue to plan and do it. Maybe ill see ya out there Kevin if I end up getting everything worked out and a group to go with. Thanks again and please keep sending more advice

Sherpa John
06-06-2005, 09:39 PM
Hey Structure

I just did a presi traverse and you can read my trip report here:http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=6930

As for specs...

North to South: As stated above by Bruno... most tackle the northerns first to get the elevation gain and big rocks out of the way. Nothing worse than clamering over boulders when your dogdon tired from 10 miles previously. Also... after getting the northerns done... the southerns feel like walking on pavement. Heading south also allows you a gradually decrease in elevation the entire way and the (up) peaks seem more subtle.

South to North: This sometimes turns out to be a long long walk towards washington which you can pretty much see the entire way. Then once reaching the summit (finally) you see the daunting northern presies before you. Egads!

Time: In under 10 hours... you have to be moving at a good clip. At least 2.3-2.7 mph (avg.) the entire day if you do the math. I finished in just under 10 and I managed to miss a trail junction on washington that took me 1.3 miles out of the way... then stay on the summit of washington for 40 minutes... and stopping at all huts for lemonade.

Also.. I agree with packing light. All I used was a camelback backpack and one nalgene bottle with gatorade. Bring some extra mix and refill at huts and Washington summit. ONLY DO THIS DURING GOOD WEATHER!

Actually... the entire traverse should probably only be performed during optimal weather considering the danger factors involved... especially with no dump outs to the west coming over the north presies with Jefferson Notch Rd being closed for repairs.

During threatenning or bad weather plan on a heavier pack with all of the "Just in cases" packed in. Unless your sure your in physical condition and of mental capacity to get yourself out of harms way during a dangerous situation... there is no reason why you shouldn't take the proper precautions.

Thats all I got for now. Sorry for rambling. Hope its of use. :)

Oh and... Try mohameds site: http://home.earthlink.net/~ellozy/presidential-traverse.html

Double Bow
06-07-2005, 09:42 AM
Don't pack too light! Mt. Washington isn't known as "Home of the World's Worst Weather" for nothing. Conditions can turn on a dime. ALWAYS bring protective layers (warm and wind and waterproof), regardless of forecast. People have started off in fair conditions with a decent forecast and died on the Presidentials in July. It is much better to travel safely and to be prepared for an emegency situation than to try to be a boneheaded macho hiker and get yourself or your friends into trouble, like Jeremy Haas.

Please, play it safe and play it cool. If your friends bonk, head down. If conditions turn, head down. Look at maps in advance and know your escape routes. Don't be afraid to ask specific questions. It is always good to ask!

truepatriot09
06-07-2005, 11:34 AM
We did all of the main peaks and all of the subpeaks (Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Clay, Washingon, Monroe, Franklin, Eisehower, Pierce, skipped Jackson since it wasn't named after a Pres) in about 11 hours last summer. In good weather once you're past the Northern peaks you can really cruise. Like Sherpajohn said, thinking of going north and finishing on the higher peaks sounds tough...but it also sounds cool if you've already gone the other way!

Mike P.
06-07-2005, 11:44 AM
Hopefully I'll see you up there, if weather holds I'll be hitting Jefferson Thru Ike. Lightbut I'd avoid ultralight but enough clothes to get you down in case of T-storms (which might include ice) Weather warmth appears to be okay although that is quite changeable as you already know, T-storms might be issue

truepatriot09
06-07-2005, 12:01 PM
oh yeah, i forgot to mention gear. Our first attempt was thwarted last June when the skies opened up with a nice mixture of 35 degree rain and ice. We had all tried to 'keep it light' and all paid the price. Next time here were my pack contents:

-Shell Jacket and Pants
-Fleece
-Extra water bottle
-Extra socks
-few snacks
-blister kit

The snacks I carried were small and few since we mostly ate at the huts. I could've gotten away with only one water bottle but decided to be overly prepared. The weather was in the 60's and sunny with zero wind...funny how that works out.

sierra
06-07-2005, 06:01 PM
Two points if I may. I prefer north to south as do most. Secondly I carry my ussual gear, I NEVER climb up high without the essetials, I carry the weight and have the piece of mind I always enjoy, besides without the right gear you have to go down, Id rather suit up and continue on :D .
Secondly Sherpajohn got me thinking, SJ if you want post your exact time, under 10 hrs is good, but when I come home in July Im going to crank the traverse and want something to shoot for, Il post my time when I do it. I think competivness is heathly and FUN, after all we climb these peaks alot lets make it interesting, shall we. :eek:
P.S. Ive benn hiking 14ers, cant wait for that thick air back east.

jtremont
06-07-2005, 06:11 PM
Structure,
I was just going to post the same exact 'add' when I stumbled upon yours. I was looking to do this traverse in either the last weekend of July or any weekend in August. I'm 28 and live in Boston. Please let me know if you have formed a group already 'cause I'd love to join. I've been reading lots of advice and I love the idea of a bailout car at Ammonoosuc in case of weather or injury.
Justin

Structure
06-07-2005, 06:47 PM
Hey once again I want to say thanks for all the great advice and I appreciate that more than one person are saying points because it makes me understand what is more than opion :D Jtremont I have only just started making a group. I am deffinetly up for ya coming along, let me just check with the other guy but I would love to have others on the trip. I send some more info your way by the end of the week on whats going on but hope to see ya in a month or so

jtremont
06-07-2005, 07:19 PM
Yeah Structure keep me updated. I'll be sure to check back soon or feel free to send me an email.
JT

SteveHiker
06-07-2005, 07:26 PM
I'd be interested in going in July. Originally, I was planning on going this coming weekend, but I backed out because I don't qutie feel ready for it. By mid-July, I should be much more ready to do it. My recent track record in keeping up with hikers in their early 20's is not so good, so hopefully I can improve on that.

Structure
06-07-2005, 09:47 PM
hahaha no worries stevehiker....i have never done a hike like this. I have ran 2 marathons but never trained for either so i am hoping that it will be similar but just in case i am going to start training as well.

And I am getting a gear plan ready, what are the most important things that i need to have and what are somethings that I dont need to bring....thanks again for all who have helped me with this. I hope that some day i can be able to help back

Blue
06-08-2005, 08:59 AM
Hey Charlie (MtnTop), you reading this? Your woman is pretty smart about them trails afterall ;)

sli74

Uh, yeah.. but when does he ever listen to me??? I threw a mini fit on the top of Madison last year because of the stinkin' Watson Path. This year, I know what to expect (dread).

FWIW, I have seen far too many traverse folks out there in blowing rain, on slippery rocks, with bloodied knees. Take the advice of others - do it on a good day, or don't do it at all.

-Blue

giggy
06-08-2005, 10:34 AM
while I think double bow has points - I am doing the traverse next weekend - while I have never done one before - but I have done half traverses (valley-way and down tucks), etc.. I am going light - light doesn't mean don't pack a jacket and shells and head off in flip-flops. - it means don't bother with tent, sleeping bag, extras of everything under the sun.

I think if you know the area, have done a few of these peaks before, know the escape routes, are a decnet paced hiker etc.. this can be done fast and light - very easily. In summer - you have a few places to hit if the poop hits the fan and you can get to them quick if need be. Madison Hut, RMC cabins, Lakes, Washington summit, Mizpah. .

sherpa john trip this past weekend is a perfect exmaple - he knows the area, is a strng hiker - and did this light and fast very succesfully.

Double Bow
06-08-2005, 11:06 AM
while I think double bow has points - I am doing the traverse next weekend - while I have never done one before - but I have done half traverses (valley-way and down tucks), etc.. I am going light - light doesn't mean don't pack a jacket and shells and head off in flip-flops. - it means don't bother with tent, sleeping bag, extras of everything under the sun.

I think if you know the area, have done a few of these peaks before, know the escape routes, are a decnet paced hiker etc.. this can be done fast and light - very easily. In summer - you have a few places to hit if the poop hits the fan and you can get to them quick if need be. Madison Hut, RMC cabins, Lakes, Washington summit, Mizpah. .

sherpa john trip this past weekend is a perfect exmaple - he knows the area, is a strng hiker - and did this light and fast very succesfully.

While SJ does know the area well, the person who was asking the question, does not and may not be as fast a hiker as SJ either (probably few are). When traveling with a group, you need to be extra prepared, especially on a trip like this. This is not a Sunday stoll in the park.

There is a difference between traveling light and ultra light. Bring extra food, water, and layers (which SJ did not do) and know your escape routes. Ultralight is not the way to go on this one. Your life is worth more than a few ounces.

giggy
06-08-2005, 12:09 PM
Double Bow - you know what - after re-reading the entire thread again - I have to agree with you now - (in regards to this thread).

I shouldn't have alluded that this can bee done easily - it's not by any means easy and if you don't know the area and hit some weather and don't know what to do - your basically f'ed. sorry for that confusion.

I guess what I meant if you can hike some distance, know the route, havee good weather, - etc.. fast and light is better.

for some folks - fast and light is the way to go - some it ain't. Not saying what structure's best option is here - but know pro's and con's of both.

GeorgeFitch
06-08-2005, 12:45 PM
I guess it all depends on what is meant by fast and light. If fast and light means nothing but track shorts and running shoes, that's a little too light for me in the Presidentials. But a small day pack with a wind and water proof shell, a wool sweater or fleece, and some water and snacks and maybe a headlamp is never a bad idea. It doesn't weigh much and could easily make the difference between a comfortable hike and a miserable one.

But what do I know? When I did a Presi Traverse I went from South to North!

:)

beverly
06-08-2005, 01:51 PM
...what George said. We did a North to South traverse last June 20th. The day before was the Mt. Washington Run and they had horrible weather. The forecast for the 20th was generally good - but I had a lot of trepidation because I had organized the trip (my hiking grounds are the ADKs) and was extremely wary about the weather.

My sole experience with the Whites up until then was a three day hut-to-hut hike in September of 2004, where I experienced only glorious weather and 100-mile visibilty. Something told me that isn't the normal weather pattern. :eek:

As a matter of fact, I read Not Without Peril on that trip. I have a strange habit of reading disaster stories about the hike I am on when I am hiking it!

By the time we got up to Madison Hut the winds were howling. The report from the top of Mt. Washington was that there could be 90-100mph winds. My heart sank, because I thought that would mean the end of our traverse. We pushed on, did Madison and hung out for a bit at the Hut. Adams was covered in rime ice, but at the top we could see that the ceiling seemed to be lifting on the top of Washinton - even if it did look all iced up and foreboding.
The weather kept improving with every step and the wind diminished to manageable levels. We were rewarded with a great trip. We were bundled up in wind/rain gear and carried fleece, but were able to layer down as the day wore on.

It was such a great experience that we are determined to do it again (our usual solstice hike is the Great Range in the ADKs) next week. Keep your fingers crossed that the weather Gods look favorably upon us and permit us to succeed. Or not. :D

Mike P.
06-08-2005, 02:08 PM
How light is too light? It's personal preference & needs to be weighed with the question, when is it time to bale? If you head down at the sign of the 1st cloud forming, you could probably wear track shorts & sneakers. If you are a little slow getting out, there may end up being 2 or 3 clouds.

If a less than fair day on the peaks sounds interesting or not scary enough to send you elsewhere, if it gets a little worse from there, you need more than sunscreen.

If being blown off your feet sounds like fun, you need a lot more gear & IMO maybe some professional help, or at least professional gear. ;)

Which one of these describes you? we all fall between the two extremes, depending on where you fit should determine how much you bring

Sherpa John
06-08-2005, 04:49 PM
While SJ does know the area well, the person who was asking the question, does not and may not be as fast a hiker as SJ either (probably few are). When traveling with a group, you need to be extra prepared, especially on a trip like this. This is not a Sunday stoll in the park.

There is a difference between traveling light and ultra light. Bring extra food, water, and layers (which SJ did not do) and know your escape routes. Ultralight is not the way to go on this one. Your life is worth more than a few ounces.

WOW.. how did you know what I had in my back ole wizard. Actually... I had a camelbak with full 3L bladder, Nalgene bottle with Gatorade, 2 PB &J sandwhiches, 2 hershey bars, 4 granola bars, 3 bags of yogurt covered raisins,a compass, whistle, 1st aid kit, headlamp, AMC Guide, Tyvek Map, Mirror, Waterproof strike anywhere matches, a SOLAR BLANKET, EMS Rain Suit, Long Sleeve Jacket and I wore my pants with the zip off legs so they become shorts AND packed a pair of Polarfleece Pants, winter hat and gloves. Looks like I had a lot of the essentials if not all of them, but thanks for inspecting my bag for me while I wasn't looking.

And with all of that.. my bag weighed no more than 5 lbs easily. Ultra Light... and Prepared. And as I do with EVERY hike I do ANYWHERE in the whites, I write down on a piece of paper... every single escape route in the event of a mishap or trouble. :mad:

spaddock
06-08-2005, 07:07 PM
Great thread!

I've focussed on the ADK's the past couple of years since it's closer to home but last year on top of Mt. Washington I was wishing I had more time after gaining all that elevation!

Good luck "Structure" and enjoy the planning.


-Shayne

Neil
06-08-2005, 09:05 PM
If being blown off your feet sounds like fun, you need a lot more gear & IMO maybe some professional help, or at least professional gear. ;)


In the Adk's when the summit wind gets really bad we just clip into one of Colvin's surveying rings that are screwed deeply into the anorthosite.

GeorgeFitch
06-09-2005, 06:56 AM
Just to add a little clarification to my post above.

I respect the potential dangers of hiking above treeline. I also respect the judgement of experienced hikers in special situations.

If I were to come across Tim Seaver or Sue Johnston wearing nothing but track shorts and running shoes (add sports bra or tank top where appropriate, or in Sherpa John's case, a bikini top :D) I wouldn't think of second guessing them. I would figure that they know precisely what they are doing and that is more important than equipment.

A strong hiker can keep moving and descend if necessary. The people that get into trouble with hypothermia are the ones that get exhausted, sit down, and don't get up again.

truepatriot09
06-09-2005, 07:14 AM
Nice comeback SJ. I agree, you can go light (or GoLite) without sacrificing essentials. I've begun cutting gear over the past year or so, seeing what I really need and what I don't. Next step is to evaluate my footwear, do I give up my clunky yet supportive hikers for something sleeker and faster?

giggy
06-09-2005, 07:38 AM
Ok lets use a little common sense here - 95% of the folks doing the traverse are going to fall into 2 camps:

1) fast & light - use sherpa johns trip as an example - this still contains the basics emergency gear if stuff goes south.

2) bringing the kitchen sink - tent, bag, extra clothes, etc...

yes - your going to get your tim seavers as well (ultralight) - but these folks are in the minority and know what they are doing.

- I think it is safe to say most folks doing the traverse are not in sneakers, running shorts and have no extra gear.

I will go out on a limb here and say most don't do the travserse as an intro to the presidentials and have some time above treeline as well as some good tim logged in the hills.

If we use these parameters - I think on a late spring or summer traverse with good forecasted weather & route knowledge. (yes - we know it can change - hence the wind/rain shells in the pack) - light and fast is the way to do it in 10-15 hours - assuming you have the skills & endurance to get yourself from appalachia to 302.

robohiker
06-09-2005, 09:45 AM
Robohiker is confused. How can this:

"...a camelbak with full 3L bladder, Nalgene bottle with Gatorade, 2 PB &J sandwhiches, 2 hershey bars, 4 granola bars, 3 bags of yogurt covered raisins,a compass, whistle, 1st aid kit, headlamp, AMC Guide, Tyvek Map, Mirror, Waterproof strike anywhere matches, a SOLAR BLANKET, EMS Rain Suit, Long Sleeve Jacket...

And with all of that.. my bag weighed no more than 5 lbs easily."
weigh only 5 lbs? Would not the fluids alone be 8 lbs?
Thankfully, Robo never has to worry about fluids. A little oiling now & then but dehydration is never an issue

Double Bow
06-09-2005, 01:45 PM
WOW.. how did you know what I had in my back ole wizard. ... Looks like I had a lot of the essentials if not all of them, but thanks for inspecting my bag for me while I wasn't looking. :mad:

I know I shouldn't even respond but...

I knew what you were carrying because of what you said had said earlier. With what you changed your story to say you were carrying, your supposed pack weight makes no sense. As robo pointed out, your liquids alone would have been eight pounds. Try to develop a little more consistancy in what you are saying and drop the verbal temper tantrums and maybe people will take you a little more seriously.

I was just trying to help someone who asked for advice to travel safely, not anger the mighty Sherpa John :). In fact, if you look back at what I wrote, I actually paid complement to your speed and knowledge of the area. There was no need for a "comeback".

Hopefully, after you've soaked your head in some cold water you can look back at this thread and see that all I was doing was offering sound advice that echos what everyone says. I never said that you need to bring a tent or that you can't go light. I said that a beginner attempting this trip should not go ULTRALIGHT.

Can't we all just get along? :D

giggy
06-09-2005, 02:16 PM
I think we are all on the same page here - just using some different terminology.

we are all freinds for sure - I think sherpa john was just goofing around with you double bow - I doubt any harm was meant.

we need a new thread - " just what was in SJ's pack?? (that was a joke)

Jim lombard
06-09-2005, 02:50 PM
Posted by Sherpa John

a SOLAR BLANKET

SJ, get yourself a sleeping bag made of the same material. Much nicer to be able to crawl inside if cold, and you don't have to worry about keeping it wrapped around you. They weigh about the same or less than the space blankets. I've carried one for 10 years.

Your pack contents sound very sensible to me, it's all I carry in the summer....except bug spray and you're much faster than me and can outrun em' :)

Sherpa John
06-09-2005, 03:24 PM
Next time I'll bring a scale. Compared to my normal day pack, my presie pack "felt like" 5 lbs and probably was more like 10 in all honesty.

Thank you robo and Bow for the clarification and measurements.

One day I hope you learn to not take me too seriously.. but I guess I say that a lot.

Structure... Best advice for your prep.. BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING and know YOUR limits.

THE END

Double Bow
06-09-2005, 04:06 PM
I'll have to remember that when I see a mad (:mad:) SJ it's the same as seeing a mad bear or rattlesnake :eek: and I won't take him seriously. Still, if you're going to make a joke, try to let people know it's a joke! JK -- Like that! That way, we don't need to call Miss Cleo to find out.

PS Thanks for the two negatives whoever gave them to me. Now I feel like one of the "Bad Boys":cool:. Whew! Glad to lose that Pat Boonesque rep! No more please. Now, let's get back to talking about things that are worth talking about :D

Sherpa John
06-10-2005, 08:40 PM
Hey.. weighed my pack at Pinkham today. Same exact everything in it with full liquids.

7.6 lbs

Not trying to beat a dead horse... just a point of reference. Once I ran out of water... easily under 5 lbs. :D

Double Bow
06-13-2005, 04:30 PM
OK, there isn't anything left of the dead horse to beat but, I think that the scale or something may need to be recalibrated.

Here is the math that robo and I used to figure that the pack had to weigh more than the 5lbs that was originally said and that also comes to more than the figure that was changed to 7.6lbs

A full 3L bladder contains approx 100oz. 16oz = 1lb, therefore 100oz = 6.25lbs.
A 32oz Nalgene bottle = 2lb of water + .5lb weight of the bottle.
The lightest Camelbak model that holds a 3L bladder (The Rally) weighs 1.5lb when empty.
According to Amazon.com, the WMG weighs 1.1lbs
EMS lighest raincoat or poncho weighs about .75lbs
The lighest rain pants would probably run the same .75lbs
Four 1oz granola bars would be .25lbs

That totals 13.1lbs plus the:

"2 PB &J sandwhiches, 2 hershey bars, 3 bags of yogurt covered raisins, a compass, whistle, 1st aid kit, headlamp, Tyvek Map, Mirror, Waterproof strike anywhere matches, a SOLAR BLANKET, Long Sleeve Jacket... AND a pair of Polarfleece Pants, winter hat and gloves."

Which would probably total at least 1.9lbs (though the jacket alone could be more). Therefore, it is safe to say that the pack weighed at least 15lbs (though probably more) if John had the lighest available of all of the previously mentioned things.

15lbs... That's 3x the weight that was first reported. Somehow, the 5lb story just doesn't hold water, even if the bladder and bottle were both empty. :(

Better call Pinkham and tell them to get a new scale...

After that, let's get back to talking about things that matter.

SteveHiker
06-13-2005, 05:10 PM
15lbs... That's 3x the weight that was first reported. Somehow, the 5lb story just doesn't hold water, even if the bladder and bottle were both empty. :(
.

pun intended?

SherpaKroto
06-13-2005, 05:32 PM
Some very sound advice to be found in this thread! My take:
1) Light is different for different folks. If you can't bail out fast, or are less experienced in this area, you need to carry more safety gear.
2) Water is key. Don't skimp on it.
3) You need protection from the elements! When it gets nasty, not having it will slow you down from escaping.
4) It's just a hike - no sense dying from it.

giggy: If we don't shut up soon, we're going to look pretty foolish if we don't finish!

beverly: I hope we see you this weekend! We're attempting it on Saturday.

beverly
06-13-2005, 06:12 PM
We hope to beat the crowds by doing it on Sunday. That way we miss the riffraff (the runners, that is :D) on Saturday.

Oh - and good luck to you on Saturday. :)