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Thread: A.M.C. Hut to Hut traverses

  1. #46
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    Note from Alex MacPhail

    Hi all,

    I talked Alex into sharing the summary below about his H2H run in 1963. He is also working on a longer piece for the OH Association's journal Resusitator, which will cover the early history of the H2H leading up to his run, some of which follows. Now in his mid-60s, he has caught the running bug again and clocked some really fast times on classic traverses in the Whites the past two summers and hopes to repeat his H2H route in under 16 hours next summer. Alex is a real inspiration to me as I fight off my own perils of the aging process.

    Cheers, Dr. D.

    ps. Joe's Snack Bar in Twin is now an antiques shop (still with the same red paint), but at the time was a rendevous point for OH and also for search and rescue operations in the Whites.


    Hey Thom,

    I guess it's okay if you want to put something on the web at VFTT. I wrote this blurb to fill in a little detail that might be interesting given the time (antiquity) and the resources available then:

    I left Madison Hut at 5:30 am on August 16, 1963 (didn't log in), timing myself with two devices, including a stop watch in a cardboard case that I recorded Hut2Hut times and a Movado wrist watch for total elapsed time (12 hrs. 11 mins.). The difference in Hut2Hut time versus elapsed time was 40 minutes accounting for 10 min.-long rests at Pinkham, Lakes , Zool, and Ghoul.

    I wore a "fanny pack" containing the stop watch, an ace bandage, a Gerry squeeze tube containing evaporated milk that I replenished at each hut, and 3 to 4 fig newton bars that I also replenished at each hut. At each hut I ate a large bowl of Elberta cling peaches, and at Ghoul I ate a ham and cheese sandwich and drank lots of water and a cup of cocoa.

    I wore my black Limmer's from Madison to Carter and then switched to Adidas (Romas named after the Rome Olympics) track shoes for most of the trip. I switched off three pairs of Adidas. One pair fell completely apart on the A-Z Trail. I wore my brown Limmer's from Ghoul to Flea and Adidas from Flea to Lonesome.

    My route and times were as follows:

    From Mad House I went down the Madison Gulf Tr to the Great Gulf Tr to the Glen House then up the Aqueduct Tr to 19 Mile Brook Tr. to Cata (1 hr. 55 mins.)

    From Cata I took the Wildcat Ridge Tr to the gondola station and ran down the Wildcat Ski Tr to Rt. 16 and then ran up the road to Pinkham (1hr. 15 mins [3 hrs. 10 mins.]) arriving there at 8:40 am.

    I rested/ate at Pinkham for 10 mins and then climbed to Lakes via Tuckerman's (47 mins. [4 hrs. 7 mins.]) arriving at 9:37 am and rested at Lakes for 10 mins.

    From Lakes I took the Crawford Path, Webster Cliff Tr (To Mizpah
    Shelter) and Mizpah Cut-off, and the A-Z Tr to Zealand (Zool) arriving there a few minutes after noon (2 hrs. 15 mins. [6 hrs. 32 mins.]) .

    I took a quick bath in the river at Zool before proceeding on to Galehead (Ghoul) arriving there at 2:04 pm (1 hr. 52 mins. [8 hrs. 34 mins.]) I was getting cramps in my thighs and calves and I rested at Ghoul for 20 mins. and rehydrated.

    Ghoul to the Flea was the most difficult part of the trip. The rest at Ghoul was not long enough but I was trying for a time of under 12 hours or an average speed of 4-5 mph and needed to keep moving. I left Ghoul at 2:25 pm and arrived at the Flea at 4:40 pm. I rested less than 5 minutes, just long enough to change shoes again.

    I made it from Flea to Lone (the old hut on the north side of the lake) in 57 minutes arriving there at 5:41 pm for a total elapsed time of 12 hrs 11 mins, 15 minutes longer than my target time.

    I then went to Jo's Snack Bar in Twin Mountain and ate/drank two cheeseburgers and two or three milkshakes and was back at Pinkham by 8 pm.


    My earlier communication from Alex:

    Two years ago I was planing to write a definitive story for the Resusitator on the Hut Traverse from 1936 to 2007. There is a story in the 1936 December Appalachia titled "On Breaking One's Own Record" by an H.L. Malcolm who crystalized the Traverse in my mind when I read his article in 1953 at my summer home on Lake Winnespesaukee. He begins that article by exclaiming that his interest in 24 hour mountain marathons "was aroused in 1931 by the Marshall brothers, and other hikers in the Adirondack Mountains." Malcolm next heard that two AMC croo, Batchelder and Loomis, completed the AMC hut traverse in 1933 in 23 hours, 15 minutes.

    Malcolm set out on his own attempt on July 7, 1936. He left Carter at
    12:04 am and finished at Lonesome at 10:07 pm, or 22 hours and 3 minutes. Two weeks later on July 22, 1936, he repeated his traverse, leaving Carter at 6 am and hiking first to Pinkham via the Wildcats and then to Madison via Osgood Ridge. He also went over all the summits. He arrived at Lonesome in 21 hours and 43 minutes, hiking 55 miles with a vertical rise of 19,000 feet.

    In the late 1950's and early 1960's there were several new records set on the Traverse by some well known hikers including Tom Deans and Chris Goetz. Chris, I believe, did the traverse west to east in just over 16 hours. Tom Deans did not complete his traverse because of jock rash. I have some other names as well.

    I completed a traverse on August 16th, 1963, after training for two weeks. I started at Madison at 5:30 am (first light) on that day and ran down Madison Gulf to 19 Mile Brook, up to Carter, over the Wildcats and down the Wildcat Ski Trail to Route 16. I ran to Pinkham on the road and then up to Lakes via the Tuck Trail. I made it from Pinkham to Lakes in 47 minutes but stopped to vomit twice after eating too fast at Pinkham. From Lakes the run was pretty easy. I went via the Mizpah shelter so that my Traverse would include Mizpah after it was built. I got to Lonesome, the old hut, in 12 hours, 11 minutes. I hardly mentioned it to anyone as I was using the traverse pretty much as a training exercise. I have all my hut to hut times documented in a notebook that I kept.

    I've heard of others completing the traverse in good times but I think Malcolm and the others before and after him included Pinkham in the Traverse.

  2. #47
    Senior Member RoySwkr's Avatar
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    >From Cata I took the Wildcat Ridge Tr to the gondola station and ran
    >down the Wildcat Ski Tr to Rt. 16 and then ran up the road to Pinkham

    Like the guy he mentions who went over all the summits, he is apparently
    trying for a "sporting" route as I assume Aqueduct Path to Rte 16 would
    be faster

    >Ghoul to the Flea was the most difficult part of the trip.

    The other hut names seem to be based on their official names while this
    one is different, was there an infestation?

    > Chris, I believe, did the traverse west to east in just over 16 hours.

    This one is in the Appalachia article by his father referenced somewhere
    and did not include summits but he did go to Pinkham

    > I went via the Mizpah shelter so that my Traverse would include Mizpah
    > after it was built.

    Good forward thinking. Of course if the Sphinx Col Hut had been built,
    the Madison-first route would not have worked.

    >I've heard of others completing the traverse in good times but I think
    >Malcolm and the others before and after him included Pinkham in the
    >Traverse.

    That was certainly the way I've heard it. Recent hut crew seem to skip
    it, I've always wondered if this is a philosphical thing that high huts
    are different than convention centers or just a way to shorten the route
    (and your time).

  3. #48
    Senior Member Snowflea's Avatar
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    Thom(/Alex),

    Thank you so much for posting this. As someone who does care about records I really appreciate it.

    So Timmus was correct then?

    In the late 1950's and early 1960's there were several new records set on the Traverse by some well known hikers including... I have some other names as well
    I'd be interested in the other names, and their approximate times (and stories if they're willing).

    Also, FWIW, I know a few people, both men and women, in their 60s and 70s who are still running ultras (i.e. 50 & 100 milers) if Alex has any interest. There's this really cool 100 miler in the San Juans of Colorado...

    Anyway, thanks again for the post!

    Stinkyfeet
    runsuerun.blogspot.com

  4. #49
    Senior Member dr_wu002's Avatar
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    Yeah, this was a good read. I stand corrected! Very interesting too.

    -Dr. Wu
    To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.
    -Thomas Paine

  5. #50
    Senior Member ColdRiverRun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Dasypodidae
    Two years ago I was planing to write a definitive story for the Resusitator on the Hut Traverse from 1936 to 2007. There is a story in the 1936 December Appalachia titled "On Breaking One's Own Record" by an H.L. Malcolm who crystalized the Traverse in my mind when I read his article in 1953 at my summer home on Lake Winnespesaukee. He begins that article by exclaiming that his interest in 24 hour mountain marathons "was aroused in 1931 by the Marshall brothers, and other hikers in the Adirondack Mountains." Malcolm next heard that two AMC croo, Batchelder and Loomis, completed the AMC hut traverse in 1933 in 23 hours, 15 minutes.

    Malcolm set out on his own attempt on July 7, 1936. He left Carter at
    12:04 am and finished at Lonesome at 10:07 pm, or 22 hours and 3 minutes. Two weeks later on July 22, 1936, he repeated his traverse, leaving Carter at 6 am and hiking first to Pinkham via the Wildcats and then to Madison via Osgood Ridge. He also went over all the summits. He arrived at Lonesome in 21 hours and 43 minutes, hiking 55 miles with a vertical rise of 19,000 feet.
    Here is more on M.L. Malcolm from a Adirondack book that some of you NEers might not have picked up.

    From the Burnside book "Exploring the 46 Adirondack High Peaks": I wonder if he's fired up by the feat of Adirondack Mountain Club member H.L. Malcolm, who in 1933 at the age of 49 set a record for that era. Starting from the Adirondack Loj at one minute after midnight on October seven, Malcolm traversed Giant, Noonmark and the two Wolfjaws, then Armstrong, Gothics, Saddleback, Basin, Haystack, Marcy, Skylight, Colden and Algonquin, returning over Mt. Jo to the Loj. Since it was still an hour before midnight - of the same day, that is -he climbed Mt Jo a second time to rack up a total ascent of more than 20,000 ft., covering a distance of just over 40 miles.

    So when Malcolm did his traverse in '36 he was about 52! Keep in mind that in the thirties the average 52 year was dead already. So during the Great Depression imagine the gear available for this, if Alex used crappy sneaks in '63 Malcolm must have use wooden sandals! There has been amazing individuals at all points in time with the ability to sustain suffering and push themselves beyond what people think is possible. I imagine in the 30's these guys helped push the levels of human spirit too when many where pushing themselves to just keep there families feed.

    Cory D
    “I don’t know if momma was right or if it’s Lieutenant Dan. I don’t know if we each have a destiny… or if we're all floating around accidental like.. on a breeze. But, I think… maybe it’s both… maybe both are happening at the same time.” –Forrest Gump.

  6. #51
    Senior Member timmus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Dasypodidae

    I then went to Jo's Snack Bar in Twin Mountain and ate/drank two cheeseburgers and two or three milkshakes and was back at Pinkham by 8 pm.
    Some things don't change, eh cbcbd ? (I always enjoy your link to the big burger image )

    ... And thanks Dr. D, that was a very good thread.

  7. #52
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Gotta get me some of them Elberta cling peaches and a pair of Adidas
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

  8. #53
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    Hi all,

    Alex checked out this thread and emailed me that my term "lots," as in lots of runners were clocking really fast times in the H2H in the 1960s, could be misinterpreted, and that probably a "handful" would be a better term. In 1968, I only actually met two runners who were going for a fast time on the H2H, that day I was cooking at Zealand hut. But, anyone can read the registers/journals archived at each hut for those years, so it might be interesting to see what other references might be available. Ditto for the packing records that I mentioned earlier.

    Cheers, Dr. D.

  9. #54
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    So, it has been 3+ years....

    Alex has recently posted on his wonderful White Mountain Sojourn blog a nice little history of the early to most recent H2H traverses that have involved primarily AMC "croo".

    http://whitemountainsojourn.blogspot...1_archive.html

    [Edit: whoops, not quite 3 years....]
    Last edited by Dr. Dasypodidae; 09-02-2010 at 04:35 PM.

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