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Thread: Southern Presidential Traverse via... see post for trails - 3/18

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    Senior Member NH Tramper's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Southern Presidential Traverse via... see post for trails - 3/18

    Trails: Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, Crawford Path, Webster Cliff Trail, Jackson-Webster Trail (Jackson Branch)

    Date of Hike: Mar. 18, 2013

    Trail Conditions: A pretty nice way to end the winter season, though I'd prefer 48/48 instead of 42/48 for my single season attempt. But oh, well, it was a blast anyway (damn logistics). This was one of those hikes where anything and everything could have been used, and based on the people we did see, that was about the size of it. Now some specifics: Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail was well packed with a good dusting on top. It didn't slow us down and we used spikes to ascend. One in our party changed to crampons due to the steepness, but there was very little surface ice on the trail, even near the ridge. Snowshoes would have been nice for the traction, but not necessary. The trail was more drifted once we got out of the trees, but snowshoes really weren't needed even then, especially considering the wind and new snow will rebuild any broken drifts. There were no blowdowns or trail obstructions. The only person we saw on this trail was a lone woman with her dog, a small day pack, and blue jeans. It was pretty cold for such clothing but she was descending so this is good. Crawford Path (including summit loops) was ice, rock, gravel (on Ike's barren summit), hard packed snow, and some drifts, mostly in the trees before getting to Pierce. Again, we could have used everything, in places, but overall spikes served us very well. We did encounter two people on this trail. First a soloist doing a full S-N Presi-traverse. He had a small, mostly empty pack, no traction whatsoever, or snowshoes (he said he was "saving weight"), and a questionable plan of descending via the Madison Gulf Trail with no traction to get back to his start in the Gulf. I suggested he use the Osgood Trail instead. He seemed like a nice guy and I sure do hope he made it safely. I felt his original plan was too risky, at best. Second we saw someone who appeared very experienced doing an out and back of the southern range. He was clunking around on the rocks on snowshoes. Clearly there was no one-size-fits-all solution today. Webster Cliff Trail was the most drifted and the best candidate for snowshoe use, but again, there was easy-to-find hard pack underneath and easy going with spikes, busting through the random drifts. Jackson-Webster Trail (Jackson Branch) was well packed and it was obvious it had seen some traffic today and the dusting was gone. Both crossings were well-bridged and supportive, and I didn't note any blowdowns. There was some surface ice on the steeps near the bottom.

    Special Equipment Used: We used spikes and would advise the same, at least. Snowshoes weren't really needed today barring a couple of spots. Crampons could be useful in places, but not really needed. Had we changed all the times we could have, we'd still be up there. As is, the coming snows will make all this moot. Trekking poles were mostly useful for probing. Snow depths on the trail must still be a good four to five feet in the trees on the ridge (much of the higher trail's canopy is now at face level making things tighter in places); so there are sections of this route in which wearing glasses might not be a bad idea so as to prevent eye injury. At least be aware of this possibility when you're up there.

    Comments: Hiked this one with friends Inna Radzihovsky and Cat Magnant. It was a great season ender, and the weather proved very nice for it. It was cold but sunny with light winds... very comfortable.

    Mike "Tramper" Cherim
    Nottingham NH
    Last edited by NH Tramper; 03-18-2013 at 09:35 PM.
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