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Presidential Traverse

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Presidential Traverse

Postby nine2lou » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:19 am

Looking for advice on making the presidential traverse in October. There will be 3 of us in top fitness. We are a little familiar with the whites. We are considering doing it in 2 days starting on October 5th. I believe the only shelter open along the route is the Mizpah and it is full on the first weekend on October. It is also a bit far for the first day if we start at Appalachia. So we may have to pack a tent. I would like advice on the route, where to pitch a tent, available water, shuttle availability, weather and escape routes and any other advice that may help us. Maybe we should wait for longer days and do this in the mid summer. Thoughts? Thanks in advance for the responses.
Lou
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Re: Presidential Traverse

Postby Luc » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:00 am

I've done it south to north in a day an a half.
Camped at mizpah and had planned to stop at the Perch Lean-to near Jefferson but we kept going and hiked down the Osgood trail (really bad trail to descend).
No shuttles but I got a ride with someone doing the north to south back to pickup my car in Crawford Notch.
I guess you can hit it north to south, some huts are first come first served I think, you can camp at grey knob, the perch or crag camp prior to crossing mount washington.
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Re: Presidential Traverse

Postby nartreb » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:02 pm

Doing it in 2 days is tough, because there is no good place to camp (legally) without losing a lot of altitude. You've got the RMC shelters/campsites on Adams (pretty far north), or the campsites beside the Mizpah hut (in addition to the hut itself) (pretty far south), and that's about it. Allegedly there's a small spot just below treeline on the Jewell trail, I haven't scouted it.
It's a ridgeline, there is not a lot of water. All huts and campsites are located beside a water supply, but there's basically nothing in between.
shuttle: check the AMC site. Not sure whether it still runs in October.

Weather: Definitely be prepared for cold nights. In october, expect snow to fall, especially at night, but not accumulate much. (Actually, october 5th is pretty early - you might not see any snow.) Also be prepared for absolutely bone-chilling rain with strong wind and thick fog. But sometimes it's incredibly gorgeous, sunny and in the sixties in the daytime.

Escape routes: take a look at the map. All ravine routes are steep, even when there's a trail in them. (The Huntington Ravine trail is possibly the steepest trail still open in the Whites.) May not work when injured or just very tired. You generally want to stay out of the Great Gulf and the Dry River Wilderness - just a very very long walk out (on not-so-well-maintained trails), even when there's no problems with water crossings.
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Re: Presidential Traverse

Postby adventurer » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:28 am

Here's some info on the traverse that you may find useful. Enjoy yourself. It's a great hike.

http://www.chauvinguides.com/presitrave ... iguide.htm
"When you travel, if you avoid the people, reject the food, ignore the customs, and fear the religion..... you might as well stay home"
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Re: Presidential Traverse

Postby AlexeyD » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:17 am

For a 2-day traverse, a good camping option could be along the Sphinx Trail, a little ways down from Sphinx Col. Treeline is not far from the ridge in that area, so it's possible to find a sheltered (and legal) campsite without straying too far from your route. As I recall, the Jewell trail DOES have something like an unofficial campsite not far from treeline, but it's a much longer way down than the aforementioned spots along the Sphinx trail.

Early October is hard to predict in terms of what's still open and what isn't, and that can have a major impact on things like water availability. If the huts and the summit buildings are still open (which can be the case), you can refill at many points along the way. Otherwise, there may or may not be a spring near Sphinx Col (I don't recall), and there is definitely a stream along the Sphinx Trail, if you descend long enough.

Good luck!
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Re: Presidential Traverse

Postby Biscut » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:29 pm

nartreb wrote:Doing it in 2 days is tough, because there is no good place to camp (legally) without losing a lot of altitude. You've got the RMC shelters/campsites on Adams (pretty far north), or the campsites beside the Mizpah hut (in addition to the hut itself) (pretty far south), and that's about it. Allegedly there's a small spot just below treeline on the Jewell trail, I haven't scouted it.
It's a ridgeline, there is not a lot of water. All huts and campsites are located beside a water supply, but there's basically nothing in between.
shuttle: check the AMC site. Not sure whether it still runs in October.

Weather: Definitely be prepared for cold nights. In october, expect snow to fall, especially at night, but not accumulate much. (Actually, october 5th is pretty early - you might not see any snow.) Also be prepared for absolutely bone-chilling rain with strong wind and thick fog. But sometimes it's incredibly gorgeous, sunny and in the sixties in the daytime.

Escape routes: take a look at the map. All ravine routes are steep, even when there's a trail in them. (The Huntington Ravine trail is possibly the steepest trail still open in the Whites.) May not work when injured or just very tired. You generally want to stay out of the Great Gulf and the Dry River Wilderness - just a very very long walk out (on not-so-well-maintained trails), even when there's no problems with water crossings.


Have to second that! The wind and rain in Oct./Nov seem to cut right through you! Maybe it's mental as your not expecting it as you do December onward through winter.

Great hike. I'll be hitting a mountain in the Whites Oct.3. Looks like Oct. 4-5 may bring you some rain. But, this is New England and that can change real quick! Good luck and enjoy.
Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Re: Presidential Traverse

Postby Luc » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:18 pm

pack some waterproof gloves or mitts if there's a risk of rain
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