View Full Version : presidential traverse

06-08-2009, 07:43 PM
My friends and i are hoping to complete the presidential traverse, in our case Mt. Madison to Mt. Pierce (about 20 miles), this summer. we hope to complete this hike in one day, starting at 4:30 and ending at around sundown. we have all hiked Mt. Washington before but we dont do much hiking on a regular basis, however we are cross-country runners and in great shape and seniors in high school, all of us are 18. i am just wondering if it is possible for us to do this hike in one day. Also, any suggestions that anyone with a little more experience has to offer about this hike would be great.

rockin rex
06-08-2009, 09:12 PM
In good weather this mileage would be no problem for you guys at all. The only problem would be the weather. Many people hike Mizpah hut to Madison with no problem and they do it after eating breakfast at the hut which gives them a later start. I take it you would be starting from Appalachia Parking lot and not pinkham.

06-10-2009, 04:14 PM
I have done a similar traverse that was 25 miles but in two days, could have done it in one but we wanted a two day trip.

Couple of thoughts

Being in running shape for me does not always translate to being in hiking shape, it might be easier for a younger person like yourself, but moving more weight than you are used to vertically instead of horizontally can be a bit of a reality check over that distance in that terrain in one day. Although you likely will not have 50lbs on your back, even 15-20 more than you are used to will be evident after a bunch of miles.

Assuming conditioning is not a problem make sure you know where your outs are in case weather turns bad, there are a number of trails that will take you below the tree line, know where they are.

Its just that reading "we are not experienced hikers" and "doing the presidentials in one day" caught my attention.

KD Talbot
06-10-2009, 05:51 PM
Good advice so far. Weather is key. If it's bad call it off. If it turns bad know your escape routes and get down below treeline. Everyone of you should have a map and be familiar with the route before embarking.

Hydration is next. You can get water at the huts, on a cloudless day it can be like crossing a desert. Bring sun block and use it. Stay hydrated. Know how to treat cramps and blisters. Oh yeah, and stay hydrated. Don't plan one big lunch. Plan on snacking the whole way.

On a cold damp day you can get hypothermic very quickly. People have died of this in all months of the year on MW and in the Presidentials, sometimes minutes from shelter lost in the fog. Bring warm stuff, preferably synthetic. Cotton gets wet and stays wet. Hypothermia comes quickly in cotton. That's why they say "Cotton kills".

You have to make a pact to stay together, or at least in sight of each other. Hike to the slowest persons ability. If one of you gets hurt or dehydrated the rest of you, all of you, should take the responsibility of getting that person safely off the mountain. Some should stay with the person, others should return to or forge on to the nearest hut to get help.

Undertaken with careful planning this should be a breeze for you guys. That said, things can turn quickly in the mountains. Little things that go wrong can turn into big things in a hurry above treeline.

So you're talking about being on the trail at 4:30? You should be able to do this easily in 12-14 hours. You could probably start a little later. Maybe 5:30. If you skip the summits and follow the Gulfside, or just summit Washington and follow the Crawford skipping the southern summits you save considerable elevation, (and time). Not as much fun though.

Has anyone of you got any above treeline experience?

Check here:


If you have an accident and have to be rescued up there this man will no doubt write about you in the Appalachian Journal Accident Reports. He is a wise man. Read what he writes and take heed to what he has written.


06-10-2009, 07:05 PM
Print this out and take it with you. Understand what it means before you go.



KD Talbot
06-10-2009, 07:15 PM
that's the ticket! Thanks for posting Tim! I knew it existed but couldn't readily find it.


06-13-2009, 10:14 AM
thanks so much for the info and tips, its been a great help.

06-18-2009, 07:06 PM
that's the ticket! Thanks for posting Tim! I knew it existed but couldn't readily find it.


second that..

09-08-2009, 05:45 PM
we did the hike, all 22.8 miles, in 12 hours. it was a great time.

09-08-2009, 05:55 PM
and the pictures will be posted when?

KD Talbot
09-08-2009, 09:48 PM
Did you see this guy while you were out there? Farmer is an acquaintance of mine. He set the record this weekend.



09-09-2009, 07:39 AM
The record set on the traverse last weekend that Kevin posted is simply incredible. I can't imagine how you can run may of the sections of this when it's all rock hopping.

Looks like last weekend was one for record attempts. There's another one of the Pemi Loop done in 7 hours (31+ miles and 9000+ feet of elevation). Crazy! http://www.viewsfromthetop.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32088

Snow Miser
09-09-2009, 07:55 AM
The endurance these guys/gals exhibit is truly amazing. Congrats to those who are setting these records.:)