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White Mountain Presidential Traverse Beta...

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White Mountain Presidential Traverse Beta...

Postby MCGusto » Mon May 16, 2011 8:15 pm

SPers,

Gathering data for a dayhike attempt at the Presidentials this summer. Right now I'm just browsing over trail descriptions and had a couple of questions about the beginning and end of the hike. I'm looking at taking the Airline Trail from Hwy 2 and exiting at Crawford Notch on Hwy 302 via the Webster Cliff Trail. In regards to both of these, does anyone have any experience hiking them in the dark? Easy or difficult to follow? Judging by the maps I've gathered, the Airline Trail looks to be in a veritable maze of other trails that lead up to Mt. Madison. My main concern with the Webster Cliff Trail is it looks pretty steep and it will be at the end of a long day, possibly in the dark.

Just trying to get a guage of what I'll be up against.

Anyone with experience on these sections would be a great help!

Thanks,

Gusto
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Re: White Mountain Presidential Traverse Beta...

Postby nartreb » Mon May 16, 2011 10:32 pm

There is indeed a huge number of trails leaving Appalachia, but they're all well marked and mostly well-maintained. Any of the available maps (USGS, Topozone, AMC, RMC) will get you through. The easiest to follow in the dark is the Valley Way, but the Airline should be no problem. The Airline is a tiny bit of a detour since you have to hit Madison, but if you take the cut-off trail to the hut there's basically no extra elevation gain. The Airline is much more scenic than Valley Way (also, more exposed to weather - probably not a major issue if you're planning to spend the whole day above treeline anyway).

The Webster Cliff trail is indeed steep enough that you will feel it after a long day. It's the A.T., though, so it's quite easy to follow, and by New Hampshire AT standards it's not that rough. Nevertheless, if this is your first dayhike of this nature, you should probably plan to descend the Crawford Path (skipping Jackson and Webster), which is a much gentler trail.
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Re: White Mountain Presidential Traverse Beta...

Postby AlexeyD » Wed May 18, 2011 12:45 am

MCGusto wrote: In regards to both of these, does anyone have any experience hiking them in the dark?


If the timing of your trip is within a few weeks of the summer solstice, and your begin your hike right around sunrise, you should be able to complete the entire traverse during daylight hours, even at a moderate pace. If you want to play it safe and get a pre-dawn start, I would agree with Natreb that the Air Line trail is pretty easy to follow; yes there are a lot of side trails crisscrossing it, but most intersections are well-marked and you shouldn't have too much of a problem staying on the main trail. As for the Webster Cliff Trail, I don't remember it being particularly steep - but then again I've only done it in the winter, and a lot of these NH trails are actually much easier in the winter, when snow covers all the slippery rocks and roots.
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Re: White Mountain Presidential Traverse Beta...

Postby MCGusto » Wed May 18, 2011 5:41 am

nartreb wrote: The Airline is a tiny bit of a detour since you have to hit Madison, but if you take the cut-off trail to the hut there's basically no extra elevation gain.


Thanks for the heads-up there. I thought the airline trail was more direct, although I would have to use the connector over. Can't remember where I read that, though. I was looking for the most direct route, so it looks like the Valley Way Trail might be my best bet.

nartreb wrote: Nevertheless, if this is your first dayhike of this nature, you should probably plan to descend the Crawford Path (skipping Jackson and Webster), which is a much gentler trail.


I was looking at Crawford Path as a possible bail-out route if I'm feeling too tired to complete the last two summits. I've done up to 20 miles in a single day with over 7000' elevation gain, so the distance doesn't doesn't worry me as much as elevation gain. I already have a pretty rigorous training schedule here in California that should put me right where I need to be by the time I'll be heading to NH.

AlexeyD wrote:If the timing of your trip is within a few weeks of the summer solstice, and your begin your hike right around sunrise, you should be able to complete the entire traverse during daylight hours, even at a moderate pace..


Yeah, I'm hopefully planning on getting the whole thing done during daylight hours, but I have to plan for "contingencies," seeing as I'll probably have to drive up the night before and complete the hike on the following day. Ideally I would like to start around 4am and give myself 14 hours to hike the entire thing. I wouldn't plan on actually hiking for 14 hours, I would rather finish in more like 10 or 11, but I'll be able to guage that a little bit better with some of my upcoming training hikes.

Thanks again for the responses, and let me know if anything else pops into your heads that could be useful.

One other thing I'll be looking into is the hiker shuttle coming out of Crawford Notch. Anyone have any experience with this? Frequency? Cost?

Gusto
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Re: White Mountain Presidential Traverse Beta...

Postby nartreb » Fri May 20, 2011 8:28 pm

http://www.outdoors.org/lodging/lodging-shuttle.cfm

$19 flat fare ($17 for members), reservations suggested.

Never used em myself. As you can see, the timing is not real convenient for a traverse.
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Re: White Mountain Presidential Traverse Beta...

Postby MCGusto » Sat May 21, 2011 4:12 pm

Thanks for the link.

No, the times aren't looking too good for the traverse. Looks like the last shuttle leaving from the Crawford Notch area leaves around 5:15, but only goes as far as Pinkham Notch. The only other option would be getting to the Highland Center by 1:30pm.... not likely.

Hmm?????

Gusto
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Re: White Mountain Presidential Traverse Beta...

Postby nartreb » Sat May 21, 2011 9:20 pm

You can park a car at one end and burn a day for transport. For example, park at Crawford or Webster , ride the shuttle to Appalachia with a tent, and stealth-camp near the trailhead. Hide the tent in the morning and come back for it once you complete the traverse and retrieve your car.
What the AMC would probably like most is if you leave the car at Appalachia and spend a night at the Highland Center ($137 in peak season) after the traverse, then shuttle to your car the next day.

Or find a driving /hiking buddy. What date did you have in mind? I'm not getting up anywhere near 4 AM though.
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Re: White Mountain Presidential Traverse Beta...

Postby MCGusto » Thu May 26, 2011 4:16 am

nartreb wrote:You can park a car at one end and burn a day for transport. For example, park at Crawford or Webster , ride the shuttle to Appalachia with a tent, and stealth-camp near the trailhead. Hide the tent in the morning and come back for it once you complete the traverse and retrieve your car.
What the AMC would probably like most is if you leave the car at Appalachia and spend a night at the Highland Center ($137 in peak season) after the traverse, then shuttle to your car the next day.

Or find a driving /hiking buddy. What date did you have in mind? I'm not getting up anywhere near 4 AM though.


No set dates as of right now, just some time within the first couple of weeks of August, which is when I'll be on the East Coast. I was trying to not set an official date, so that would leave open a weather window, which is going to be key if this hike is going to be successful.

I like the stealth camp idea... might be an option if I can get up to the Highland Center in time the day before.

If certain dates are looking better than others, I'll send you a PM.

Thanks again,

Gusto
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