A winter Presidential Traverse from, South to North. My friend Jeramy and I have done the Presidential traverse several times now, in both the summer and the winter. The last time we tried it, things got hectic with weather and logistics. We decided for another go at it, mainly to try out the new four-season tent we had just thrown down on. What better way than some new england winter mountaineering! We always end up doing the trip souht to north to cut down on the drive home at the end. So without futher adu.
Here is my packing list for a winter presi traverse.
Group gear: (we split the weight on these items)
- 2 Person 4 season tent (Black Diamond Bibler Fitzroy)
- Jetboil with hanging kit
- 2 cans of gas
- 65-70L Backpack
- (-20) Sleeping Bag (EMS)
- trekking poles (Leki)
- mountaineering axe (Black Diamond)
- mountaineering shovel (Black Diamond)
- Crampons (Black Diamond)
- Snowshoes (MSR Denali) these work outstanding!
- Micro Spikes
- Double Plastic Mountaineering Boots (Scarpa)
- Mess Kit- Spork, bowl, cup, towel, lighter.
- Headlamp (Petzl)
- First Aid Kit
- Map and Compass
- 2 Nalgene bottles
- Chapstick and sunscreen
- 2 Sets of thermal underwear (not cotton)
- insulating long sleeve shirt (EMS)
- Down sweater (RAB)
- gortex jacket (EMS)
- gortex bottoms ( Marmot bib)
- 2 pairs heavy wool socks (smartwool)
- sock liners (smartwool)
- 2 winter hats, with one being of the baclava type
- neoprene face mask
- glove liners
- 2 Pairs of winter gloves
- ski goggles
- Ramen Noodles
- Mountain house lasagna
- precooked chicken
- pepperoni and cheese
- 3 granola bars
- bag of fun size reese's
- trail mix
- instant coffee
- non dairy creamer
I'm not sure what the whole pack weighs with everything in it, but it feels like 50lbs.
We arrived at Applachia at 8:00 am to spot the car there. A friend of ours had agrred to drive up there, meet us, and drive us back to Crawford Notch on his way to Bretton Woods to ski. It was def out of his way, but we paid him $50.00 to do it. We started hiking at 9:00 am at the Crawford Path Trailhead. The weather was nice, lightly snowing in the high 20's. Last winter, we had camped really early the first day, and it ended up putting us under the gun the next two days, so we decided to get alot of hiking in the first day. We found a good pace, didn't drop pack until Pierce. We had decided to do the hike traditionally, without actually summting any peaks, so we stopped, snacked, and continued on past pierce.
The conditions once starting to break treeline.
Once we broke past treeline, the snow began to come down pretty consistently. We met with a hiker coming from vally way that morning (impressive), and he informed us of the blizzard front moving in on us. Perfect oppurtunity to see what the tent was relly made of! Around Eisenhower, we stopped for water and dropped pack for a few. I went for my water and it was gone. To my despair i had dropped along the trail somewhere. I had an extra, and normally i wouldn't turn back, but it also had one of my wool scoks around it for insulation. Reason enough to go back. We dropped pack and took a mile and a half detour to see if we could find it. Unfortunately, we didn't. We turned around, ghiked back to the packs and continued on. Oh well. We dropped back into our and pace and pushed on towards Monroe. We cruised right by it although the summit is really cool. It was getting late, so our objective became finding a campsite. We had spoke to a couple guys going north to south, and they said there were a couple good spotys at lake of the clouds. We arrived at Lake Of The Clouds hut around 5:00 pm, and dug in a spot on a slope in the camp.
We setup fairly quick, even with the new tent. We settled in around 5:00 pm and ate dinner. We had the lasagna and a cup of tea. After dinner we mleted snow and were in bed by 7:30- 8:00 pm. The next day we woke up cold at 7:00 am, and chilled out for awhile cooking breakfast and organizing gear. It was cloudy with no visibility with temps in the low 30's. We got packed up and back on the move by 10:00 am.
Lakes of The Clouds hut with Monroe in the backround.
Since we had gotten a fairly early start and had fair weather, we decided to summit Washington. It didn't take long to get to washington's base, and when we did we just climbed towrads the radio towers. I don't know if we were on trail, but we went up a really steep section making it all the more fun. We reached the top and i got probably the best summit photo i have yet.
Had to do this, as i'm a tower climber by day.
At the top, we ate lunch in the hideout shelter. A couple researchers were up there waiting to be picked up by the snow cat. It was cool to see the machine in action. We signed the log book, and continued on Crawford Path. A couple sections proved tricky, requiring time staking changes of footwear. Better safe than sorry. When we got on Gulfside we cruised through it no problem, eventually getting some good views in.
One of our only good views on Sunday
As you approach Jefferson, there are some killer campsites in this big boulderfield, relatively close to the trail as well. We stopped and hung out at the Sphinx trail junction. There is a cool rock wall that def has some alpine bouldering potential. It was getting late so we continued on past Jefferson. We eventually got off trail passing Jefferson, but only really delaying us fifteen minutes. We located the trail on Edmond's Col, and bgean to ascend Adam's steep, alpine rock croppings. It was getting dark and windy, so despite our expectations of getting to the Madison Hut, we setup camp high on Mt. Adams.
Once setup we got into sleeping bags and started cooking asap. It was getting pretty windy outside, with snow still faklling. We both had Ramen Noodles, and we brought some precooked chicken to throw into pot. Absolutely delicious, it will def be a staple in mountaineering grub for me. We drank tea, ate some dessert, and melted snow, while our tent took a beating in the elements. We were awake early on Monday morning, but took it slow due to our big second day. The snow that night had buried one whole side of the tent. It took a decent amount of shoveling to pack up, but we welcomed any activity to keep warm. The weather seemed to be getting better, with hints of sunshine all morning. We were back on trail by 9:30 am.
Snowed in for sure!
Black Diamond Plug
Going around Adams, you get some stellar views. If there is alot of snow, this part of the trail is easy going, if not, you find yourself second guessing your choice of footwear the whole time. Luckily we snowshoed right by Adams and no sooner we were seeing signs for the Madison Hut. We arrived at The Madison Hut at 11:00 am, and hung out with a couple guys rom montreal. We took some pictures, ate some lunch, exchanged stories and past trips, and bid the Canadiens farewell.
The hike out was wonderful. The snowpack was just deep and angled enough we could almost ski down it. It's an awesome trail because its kinda narrow, with alot of animla tracks. And it's like 3 miles downhill. We got back to the car at 1:00 pm, changed clothes, and went to grab a celebratory beer.
You should use either the picture of you and your friend near the summit of Adams or the Mount Adams ridge line picture as your primary picture. (currently there isn't one). TR reminds me that I still have a lot of unfinished buisness in New Hampshire.
We too were up there the weekend before, going North to South. Unfortunately we had to bail on Sunday midway up Monroe, with winds sustained at 80 and temp at -10. Still need to get this one in the bag...