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Practice for the Presidential Traverse

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Practice for the Presidential Traverse

Postby tk421991 » Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:30 pm

Hello! First post.

I'm looking to do the Presidential Traverse this August, some time around the 8th. The person I'm going with and I have never done such a long hike. We did Mt. Washington last year and we're knocking off some 4000 footers in NH and VT though. I was thinking of going along Vermont's Long Trail from north of Camel's Hump down to Lincoln Gap as a sort of practice run. Has anyone ever done either of the two routes?

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Re: Practice for the Presidential Traverse

Postby Puma concolor » Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:43 pm

Well, it's certainly a lot of mileage but doesn't really provide the kind of relentless up and downs that you're going to get on the one day Presi traverse (which I did in 2005). Since you're looking in that particular area of Vermont, I would suggest looking on the other side of Lincoln Gap and doing that other Presidential Traverse, perhaps adding Abraham (Lincoln) as well to start or end your hike. I did a solo loop hike a couple of years ago taking in many of these peaks. Fantastic area.

What better way to train for a Presi traverse than with a Presi traverse. :wink:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_Range_(Green_Mountains)

Of course, there is really no way to adequately train for being in pain and mostly immobile for two or three days after the NH Presi traverse. It's comparable to running a Marathon ... it is going to hurt.
“What a waste it is to lose one's mind, or not to have a mind is being very wasteful, how true that is.” - Dan Quayle
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Re: Practice for the Presidential Traverse

Postby nartreb » Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:14 pm

I've done the (NH) Presi a few times, and I've been on Camel's Hump but not done your proposed Long Trail route.

I think it's fine as a warm-up/shake-down/proof-of-concept. I didn't add up all the little bumps, but it looks like your LT route has somewhere around 6000 feet of elevation gain, which is significantly less than the Presi Traverse. But you've got a big 4000' push at the beginning (I'm assuming north-south direction for both hikes), just like climbing Madison, and then a thousand-foot push up Ellen late in the day, which may actually feel harder than doing Washington which comes relatively early in the Presi. So it's a similar profile, similar distance, just less punishing. Sounds like exactly what you're looking for.
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Re: Practice for the Presidential Traverse

Postby technicolorNH » Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:24 am

What nartreb said. It has slightly less distance and less vertical gain but a hard ascent towards the end at Ellen that you would not get at the same point on the Presidential Traverse. It does sound perfect for your needs. One thing to bear in mind on the Presidential Traverse is that you have some options regarding summits on the way. A full traverse means all the summits but the trails in the area are numerous so if you start getting exhausted enough to want to avoid summits you can almost always pass around them without deviating from your overall route south. The trails also get noticeably better once you get south of Mount Washington.
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Re: Practice for the Presidential Traverse

Postby Puma concolor » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:08 am

IMO, what makes the Presi traverse and similar challenges so difficult isn't the mileage and/or the total elevation gain ... it's the constant alternating between uphill hiking and downhill hiking with rocky terrain added in to boot. Makes it difficult to to find a rhythm and stay in it. It's the alternating 10 times between big ups and big downs that wears on the legs, joints and feet. That's what beats you up. Completing the proposed hike will certainly be helpful towards accomplishing your goal, but the focus on distance and total elevation gain doesn't really paint the entire picture.

Having said that, good luck with the Presi traverse. It really is a classic hike.
“What a waste it is to lose one's mind, or not to have a mind is being very wasteful, how true that is.” - Dan Quayle
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Re: Practice for the Presidential Traverse

Postby tk421991 » Fri Jun 03, 2016 3:20 am

Thanks for the info. Unfortunately I don't think any route in New England can simulate the Pres Traverse. I think I'll go ahead with my planned route though since one of my goals this summer is to do the five Vermont 4000 footers. I did Killington Peak on Memorial Day and I'm doing Mt. Mansfield on Saturday. So this would take care of the other three and would let me see some other mountains I want to do like General Stark Mountain.
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