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Thread: Bond Traverse - my vote is N to S

  1. #1
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    Bond Traverse - my vote is N to S

    I got invited by Earl to join himself and a few others on a Bonds traverse this past weekend. In the past I have always done N to S starting at Zealand Road and ending at Lincoln Woods. We did a S to N this time and in my opinion, I like the N to S option better. Obviously trail conditions change, but much as the walk out via the old railbed at the end of the day can be endless, the fairly steep series of descents down rocky trails from Zealand and Zeacliff were in my opinion more difficult at the end of day. In general once down over the ledge south of Bondcliff, its a very well graded trail with the exception of one long set of rocks steps all the way out.

    Obviously no right or wrong on this but what do other folks vote?

  2. #2
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    I tend to agree, except in winter. In winter I value having the hut at 7 miles to go where I can get water and warm up. Also if I have to break trail I would rather do the steep section down to the hut rather than up from the hut.

    I tacked Hale on the end of a S to N this past winter and while the Lend A Hand had seen some traffic it was a big effort going up at that point in the trip.

    That said I have done it both ways in both seasons. All other things being equal I guess I prefer to get the elevation over with early on. The 9 miles from Bondcliff to LW while numbing can be done on autopilot.

    Tim

  3. #3
    Senior Member KPMMBM's Avatar
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    I say we go again this weekend and try it the other direction to see (while its fresh in our memory)
    Keith
    NE 4k 67 x 2

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    Senior Member Lefty E's Avatar
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    Agree with peakbagger (3 season) and bikehikeskifish..(winter) you can almost slide the twinway from zeacliff to the hut save some time...then auto pilot out to Rt. 302....

  5. #5
    Senior Member IQuest's Avatar
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    Personally I enjoy a Twins - Bonds traverse over a Zealand - Bonds traverse but that leaves Zealand as a destiantion on it's own.

    As to the original question, I guess I prefer N - S which has less elevation gain, leaves the easier grades for the end, and the final peak being Bondcliff. However, of my 6 visits to the Bonds, I have only done that once and it was in winter. The best way to finish up along the mind numbing Lincoln Woods Tr is in the dark.
    Ian

  6. #6
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IQuest View Post
    Personally I enjoy a Twins - Bonds traverse over a Zealand - Bonds traverse but that leaves Zealand as a destiantion on it's own.

    As to the original question, I guess I prefer N - S which has less elevation gain, leaves the easier grades for the end, and the final peak being Bondcliff. However, of my 6 visits to the Bonds, I have only done that once and it was in winter. The best way to finish up along the mind numbing Lincoln Woods Tr is in the dark.
    Agreed - taking in the sunset from Bond/Bondcliff on your way out is quite spectacular. The rest can easily be done in the dark.
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    Member mhobbs's Avatar
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    Thank you guys for this post! I was going to post a similar question as I have never done the Bonds, but plan to in June. I'm still a little worried about doing this hike as the longest I've done so far is 14 miles and I'm a fat hiker. I'm thinking N to S just to save my kness from the additional 1150' of gain.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lefty E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhobbs View Post
    Thank you guys for this post! I was going to post a similar question as I have never done the Bonds, but plan to in June. I'm still a little worried about doing this hike as the longest I've done so far is 14 miles and I'm a fat hiker. I'm thinking N to S just to save my kness from the additional 1150' of gain.
    Starting early as you can might be helpful and take your time on the climbs...extra food/water to keep energy level up...the first time took us longer than the following times cause we were enjoying the views too much!!

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    The traverse is not technically difficult but its typically close to double the average day hike in distance and time. There is water available at Zealand Hut which means start out with only minimal water and then tank up at Zealand Hut. There is water at Guyot Shelter but many folks don't want to walk down to get it plus it requires treatment. If its a warm day make sure you are well hydrated and have plenty of water in your pack as the next water is south of Bondcliff after the climb up and down West Bond plus the climb up Bond and the long exposed ridge to Bondcliff. There is a lot of sun exposure, use sunscreen and reapply it. Sunglasses are not optional. I would strongly recommend figuring out what electrolyte supplement works for you in advance as its easy to get cramped up mid day. Drinking plenty of water does not equal getting enough electrolytes!.

    Bring lots of snacks but don't bring any big meals.

    Start early AM, if possible spot a car the night before at Lincoln Woods. There is no downside to starting at or before sunrise. Try to take lots of short breaks instead of multiple long ones although its real easy to spend far too much time on the summits (except Zealand).

    There is a lot to be said for bringing a change of socks and soaking your feet along the Bondcliff trail. The walk out along the lower Bondcliff trail (formerly Lincoln Woods trail) and the Lincoln Woods trail will be a lot longer than you remember and its easy to really run out of steam. It is basically impossible to get lost on this trail and if it takes you until after dark don't get stressed.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 05-28-2014 at 03:35 PM.

  10. #10
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    It may be twice the average day hike but I bet most hikers go about 50% faster than average because so much is nearly flat or downhill or easy walking.

    Tim

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    Member Mike Z's Avatar
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    Lots of good advice. Thanks. I plan on doing this some time this summer. I guess I better expect a long day. The car spot sounds necessary.
    MZ

  12. #12
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    Disclaimer: I have not done the traverse but I have done both directions out and back to the Bonds as day hikes. North to south would be my preference on the traverse. I'd rather climb that steep section from Zealand Hut up to the ridge early in the day instead of descending it with tired legs late. You can also stretch out and loosen up on the long flat walk out on the south end. I actually enjoyed that walk though some find it long and boring. Either way, you can't lose.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  13. #13
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey J View Post
    Disclaimer: I have not done the traverse but I have done both directions out and back to the Bonds as day hikes. North to south would be my preference on the traverse. I'd rather climb that steep section from Zealand Hut up to the ridge early in the day instead of descending it with tired legs late. You can also stretch out and loosen up on the long flat walk out on the south end. I actually enjoyed that walk though some find it long and boring. Either way, you can't lose.
    I've done these as out and backs too, not traverses, and I agree 100%. The Zealand Trail to the hut section makes a nice warm up for the climb and then most of the vertical is out of the way. Lincoln Woods trail is nice easy walking out if you're fatigued or it is dark, as others have already noted.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Z View Post
    Lots of good advice. Thanks. I plan on doing this some time this summer. I guess I better expect a long day. The car spot sounds necessary.
    MZ
    I don't think it will be as bad as you think. I did an out and back from Zealand Road to Bond (well 0.1 miles from Bond as I later discovered and had to go back to tag) including the West Bond Spur (which I highly recommend) two summers ago and it was about 10 hours including all my stops (and I wasn't in prime hiking shape at the time). Having a car spot and being able to continue out on Bondcliff and Lincoln Woods trails will ease the difficulty level.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; ADK 46: 6/46; Cat 3.5k 10/35

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    I think many have done these summits as out and backs and as traverses. I don't find a lot of folks who prefer the out and back during spring summer or fall. I do agree the car spot is a PITA and can make for an early morning or late drive home but it sure is nice once you hit Bond to keep on going instead of turning around. I have never found anyone interested in key swapping for the traverse but that would the ticket for those who like to solo hike.

    When I first started on the winter list, one day winter traverses of these summits were rare, most made it two day with a overnight at Guyot. Or they did Bondcliff, Bond and West Bond and then the bushwhack down to Hellgate. I think Mohamed's infamous winter "day" hike on this route really cut down on its popularity as I rarely see an trail reports on it.

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