View Full Version : One Day Traverse This Weekend - Water Question

06-24-2009, 10:28 AM
Howdy all:

Forgive me if this question has been asked hundreds of time before, but here goes...

A group of four from Philly and DC are heading up this weekend to attempt a one day traverse. We're taking the usual route, starting at Appalachia and hiking toward Crawford (staging a car at Crawford the night before). I'm confident that we have a good plan, as I have noted all the good (and bad) bailout trails from the ridge, and also have a schedule in mind so as to keep a pace to finish (or bail) before nightfall.

My question concerns water sources and the appropriate amount of water to carry. I have read that water is available at each of the huts and at Washington -- but have also read that some of the huts have to hand-pump their water and don't like giving away their water. Is this true? If it is, what are other water sources on the ridge?

Also, we plan to carry about a liter each to start out (to cut down on weight for the climb from Appalachia to Madison), and then refill (if we can) 2 liters at the Madison Hut. Is this enough water in your opinion?

Thanks in advance for any insights.

Bill O
06-24-2009, 09:09 PM
I'd say you are well prepared because this an expert level topic and concern.

Carrying too much water can really add up, especially if you are traveling light.

I think a one liter bottle per person would be enough as long as you are well hydrated before you start and you top off your bottles and your stomach at all available stops.

I'm not sure about the hut policies, but there is plenty of free water on Mount Washington. I'd also venture to guess that the main mission of the AMC is not to deny hikers of fresh drinking water.

If you're worried about carrying only one liter bring some iodine for an emergency. There will be running water everywhere this time of year.

06-24-2009, 09:17 PM
I have never had any issue with filling water at any of the huts, ever. You should be just fine. I recommend carrying two liters per person. The biggest tip I can offer is to keep each summit stay short. I recommend 5 minutes per summit with a 30 minute break on Washington only.

Good luck and hopefully you'll have good weather.

06-24-2009, 09:31 PM
We, too, have filled many water bottles at the huts. No one has ever even looked at us funny. No issues.

06-25-2009, 06:34 AM
No issues here either with filling up water bottles at huts.

I'd also advise carrying two liters per person. And a filter or SteriPen in case you need to take water from springs along the way.

06-25-2009, 10:06 AM
Thank you for the info, everyone.

06-25-2009, 01:59 PM
Neither of our neighbors, Lakes or Madison, nor the summit itself, Washington, are stingy on their water this time of year. What you may have heard are the huts that are open in winter are stingy with their water. The huts themselves do not require pumping. In addition to the huts, there are some springs across the summits. Some of them are well marked, others are not. Most maps today have their locations marked though. And with the correct supplies, you can get water nearly anywhere. I would recommend 2 liters by use of either two nalgens or one nalgen and a camel bag. But this is dependant on how fast you drink water. But rather than carry extra weight, I would highly recommend packing iodine tablets or if you have a water pump just in case you find yourself needing more water. Never drink water that is untreated. I have done this twice in the whites from marked springs and gotten mildly sick.

Also, on a side note, on the northern slope of the summit cone of Mt Washington, the water you see flowing is not a spring. It is either run-off or water perkulating from our leech fields. Can't tell ya how many times we have to explain that to people during the summer.

06-25-2009, 08:26 PM
It is either run-off or water perkulating from our leech fields. Can't tell ya how many times we have to explain that to people during the summer.

No matter how many times I saw it...it always made me just a wee bit sick...

06-30-2009, 12:33 PM
In case anyone cares...

We completed the traverse on Saturday. For a bunch of first-timers, I was pleased with our time of 14 hours, 7 minutes (not counting the 2 hours we sat on top of Washington waiting out T-storms). All told, it was a great day -- well, except for the part where we realized (as we were desending Eisenhower) we forgot the keys to the car we had staged the day before at Crawford Notch. Luckily, we had befriended a large group of very nice folks from Boston who started their traverse about the same time we did, and finished the same time we did. Two of them agreed to drive us back to Appalachia -- hikers do tend to look out for one another! I love that.

Anyway, why didn't anyone tell me that the absolute hardest part of the entire day would be the last 3 miles of the Crawford Path down to the parking lot? Uggg -- I thought it would never end.

Thanks for your help on the water question -- and, of course, you were correct.

06-30-2009, 12:50 PM
Congradulations. Of course I have to ask. Any pictures? :D

06-30-2009, 01:14 PM
Congrats. I did the the Traverse on the same day and probably bumped into your group more than a few times. I was in a group of 4 guys...mostly in our upper 20's.

Definitely an interesting day with the weather. I was a little upset about being rained in on Washington for that long but honestly the long break felt great. Plus when it cleared it was gorgeous and I got my first (all be it brief) clear views from Washington's summit. Of course it rained from Monroe to the col between Franklin and Ike.

Glad you had great time....I'm already plotting attempt #2 so I can get Jackson and Webster as well....assuming the weather is a little more cooperative this time.

06-30-2009, 05:12 PM
Greg - thanks for posting your results. Great to hear about everyone's journeys. Yes - many of us here do care :)

I second Chris's request for pictures if you have them. Glad it all turned out well!