View Full Version : August 2nd -First Traverse-Any Help?

07-24-2007, 03:46 PM
Background: 6 members in our group- 2 in their 50's; 4 in their late 20's. All in decent physical shape, none with extensive "High Mountain Hiking" experience. We have hiked the "touristy" places in the White Mountains & Cannon Mnt. from the Tram parking lot once. We will be leaving from the Highland Center staying in the Lakes Hut the first night, and Madison Hut the 2nd night then to Pinkham notch to the 2nd car.

Our reservations are in for the Highland center and the Huts so the South to North route is fixed. However, the final destination (Pinkham notch) is flexible if any one has a better idea.

I am looking for a Presi Trav. for Dummies version. I don't believe the strenuous hike will be our concern. It is the weather & being adequately prepared that I am worried about. Any insight or ideas as to what to pack, what to expect on the trail and at the hut, or any must see/do things. Thanks for sharing all your experience.

Bill O
07-24-2007, 04:37 PM
I'm sure there is plenty of advice to come.

For now, don't overload yourself. I see many people do hut to hut with full size expedition packs filled. You have the luxury of shelter and bedding so your gear should be minimal.

Adequate foul weather gear is a must. Comfortable hiking clothing. And maybe a few luxury items to change into at the huts. For me that's usually a clean pair of socks, a dry shirt, and sandals.

A warm hat and light gloves or mittens are a must. These will be your best friends if the weather is cold and wet.

When I stay at the huts I just bring a set of old sheets (including pillow case) and use the blankets they provide. I'm sure others have a different opinion though.

rockin rex
07-24-2007, 05:53 PM
Doing the Traverse hut to hut is the way to go if your looking to really enjoy yourself and go light weight. As Bill stated the only thing you really need to carry is clothes, water and some snacks. Going light also allows you to grab the peaks on the way across. The main trail takes you around the summits with the summits being reached by side trails. Lots of folks if they are tired skip the side trails to the summits and miss the best parts of the traverse. The other important thing is to make sure you have clean dry clothes for the hut. Being in the hut in wet clothes is not alot of fun. Being in warm dry clothes will make your experience much more enjoyable. Now the question of the forum? Do you bring sheets or sleeping bag to the huts. I would say sheets are the way to go but I carry a sleeping bag for safety reasons. If I am above tree and I have an emergency and have to spend the night I would prefer to have a sleeping bag. With a group you might want to bring just a couple of bags between your group just in case. Enjoy the traverse and let us know how it goes.

Bill O
07-24-2007, 06:01 PM
How were you going to get from Madison back to Pinkham? Hike down to the road and hitch or hike all the way back?

rockin rex
07-24-2007, 06:07 PM
Looks like a second car will be parked at Pinkham from what they said. I would guess they would summit Madison then take Osgood/ A.T. back to pinkham. A neat variation for them would be to take the buttress down into the great gulf and head out that way. Just 2 different ways back to Pinkham.

07-25-2007, 12:30 PM
Yes, that is correct. We intend to park one car at the Highland Center and the other at Pinkham Notch. However, I read in another thread that Pinkham notch is a long hike after the traverse and to park at Appalachia instead. Do you have any thoughts on that suggestion?

Thank you for the trail recomendation. That is exactly the kind of info I'm looking for.

As far as the Huts are concerned...What kind of conditions should we expect? I assume that there is a place to fill-up on water, but how about washing up after a long day? Others have recomended ear plugs. Any other recomendations or "heads-up" would be appreciated.

07-25-2007, 12:45 PM
Typically one would "spot" cars along the route. At least two cars would be required. One at Crawford Notch & one at the Appalachia trailhead. If possible spot a 3rd card at Pinkham. The huts are all unique and each one will be a different experience. You'll be able to fill your water at any of the full service huts. No showers & I don't believe they allow any type of "sponge baths". As for ear plugs.... I've never needed them nor do I know anyone who has used them in the huts.

07-25-2007, 12:50 PM
I also wanted to add, we are carrying 35lt packs with the following supplies:

Fleece jacket
convertable synthetic pants
2 synthetic shirts
Wind and rain gear (jacket and pants)
2 pair of wool/synthetic socks (They also double as mittens)
Sturdy boots
2 pair Polypropylene underwear
& a Warm dry change for the Huts.
First-aid kit.
Waterproof matches.
Guidebook, trail map, and compass.
High-energy snacks.
1 lt. water.
Insect repellent.
Plastic trash bags
fleece sleeping bag liner.

We are trying to keep the packs under 20lbs. Anything un-nessesary, or that I am forgeting?

07-25-2007, 01:04 PM
A CAMERA:) lol

and some lightweight gloves, I know have the socks as backups but if one pair is wet and the other pair on your feet then....

I would also add another shirt. One will get wet on day one, one wet on day two, day three? I find that my shirts, unless I leave them out in the sun won't dry overnight in the hut.

Also, an almost gone roll of TP, just in case.

rockin rex
07-25-2007, 01:18 PM
List looks great! One thing to cut weight. Photo copy the section of the guidebook you will be using and then leave the heavy guidebook at home. Put the photocopy and the map in a ziploc and your set. Question about the hut? If you are bothered by loud snoring or slamming doors bring ear plugs.
If you sleep heavy and nothing bothers you, you will not need them. Out of 40 people in the bunk room one or two will snore. I have always washed up in the bathrooms and never had a problem. It just needs to be quick since many people use the bathrooms. Now parking at Pinkham or Appalachia. It is preference. Some head to Appalachia some to Pinkham. I feel a nice way to finish the traverse is to summit Madison then take the Buttress into the great gulf go for a swim and then head out to pinkham. Many people would not agree with me and would head to Appalachia. It is only my preferece.
You folks look to be WELL PREPARED and should have an incredible time. ENJOY!!

Bill O
07-25-2007, 04:29 PM
I agree with Rex, just copy the section of the book that you need.

Are you bringing any long underwear? I'd probably bring a thin set, maybe you can toss something else out then. Again, I'd probably bring actual mittens or gloves. Something very thin and light. Its not like it is going to be -15F. More likely to be in the low 40's, worst case.

You know how much water you drink, but for me 1 liter would not be enough for the day. If you're planning on filling up along the way then you are okay. But you'll have to be the judge of that.

Edit: If you want to see the rest of the guide book somebody will either have a copy at the hut or the hut might have a reference copy.

07-26-2007, 10:44 AM
Thanks for the imput. Our plan was to continue on the AT and take it all the way down to Pinkham. However, I am open to alternate "better" routes. If we summit Madison then pick-up the Buttress trail, It seems that the trail backtracts a bit before merging with the six husbands/wamssuta trail then pick-up the huntington ravine trail to Pinkham, Is that how you would go down? We wanted to visit Nelson crag at some point. I thought of doing it as a side trip from the lakes hut (with out all the gear), but it looks like if I took the above route we could hit it on the way out. We all said "Yeah, go for a swim" so we def. want to include that in the last day. Your recomendations?


07-26-2007, 11:07 AM
Huntington Ravine really isn't a trail you should try and descend with full packs. I've gone up it twice, but down........

rockin rex
07-26-2007, 11:15 AM
Lakes over to Nelsons Crag is a nice walk if you skirt the summit and take the Alpine Garden over to it. The alpine garden Trail is really nice. Just be sure to be prepared because the weather above tree can change at any second. Don't let a slack pack make you complacent. As far as the ending of your hike, to take the Buttress Trail you would have to backtrack from the summit a bit back towards the hut to catch the trail. If the Buttress Trail is of interest to your group the other option is to do Madison the day before with no packs (You might even be able to catch the sunset) In the morning instead of climbing you would just head down the buttress from the hut. The Buttress runs you into the great Gulf trail which runs you back into the A.T. Being able to do the traverse and include the great gulf really makes an awesome trip!! As you cann see there are quite a few options to the end of the traverse.

KD Talbot
07-26-2007, 03:26 PM
You would have to climb two thirds of the way back up Washington from the Great Gulf to get to Huntington Ravine Trail, and having been there, and also by the advice of the guide book which warns against it, I would not descend by this route. what you have highlighted on your map is probably your best route, though you may consider what others have said about spotting another car at Appalachia, in case you want to bail out. It is a long hike back to Pinkham from Madison after a traverse.


07-31-2007, 08:26 AM
I just found out that we might be a little rushed on the last leg of our trip. Could you give me a rough estimate of the time it will take to come down the Buttress Trail way? We need to be at Pinkham by 1:00pm. Do we need to skip breakfast at the Hut.

The base forcast looks good for this weekend. 30% chance of rain on Friday. Any last minute advise?

Thanks for all the helpful info.