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Thread: Presi traverse March 15-17

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    Default Presi traverse March 15-17

    So, we are planning on doing the presi traverse March 15-17th. I feel better and we are ready to go! Hopefully we have decent weather! Is anyone else planning to be up there?

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    We had made an unsuccessful attempt last week. Now I am trying to talk my buddy into trying it again this week, but it looks like we may just do a day climb to Mt. washington.

    Let us know how it goes.

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    sounds good. We are hoping to start hiking in early saturday morning, make it to sphinx col saturday night, and get as far as possible sunday and be out monday. Hopefully the weather is nice to us!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dangergirl
    sounds good. We are hoping to start hiking in early saturday morning, make it to sphinx col saturday night, and get as far as possible sunday and be out monday. Hopefully the weather is nice to us!
    If you get nice weather you could make it in two days. Especially with the long days of March.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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    That would be really sweet if we finished in 2 days! Then we could get in a day of ice climbing too! I hope the mountains and the clouds are good to us!

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    I hope you guys powered through that snow this morning. Aside from the fog the weather has been quite benign on the summit all day. I saw a big spike in the wind to a whopping 30mph!
    Last edited by Bill O; 03-15-2008 at 08:49 PM.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
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    Default Presi traverse a success!!!!!!!!

    Below is a link to our photos. Be sure to check them out, they are quite amazing. http://www.flickr.com/gp/12439911@N07/ns1r43
    This past weekend Don and I made a successful winter traverse of the Presidential Range in New Hampshire! It was a very big accomplishment for both of us. We started out on Saturday March 15th at 10:45am from Valley Way. My pack weighed about 36 pounds and Dons was about 40 pounds before 6lbs in water weight. It was looking like it would be a great day! We made our way up to Madison Hut and by 1:00 the weather was packing in. It was perfect crampon conditions! Light snow on top of a packed base with a nice crust towards the top.There was virtually no wind on Saturday which was a treat but the visibility kept getting worse and worse. By the time we got to Jefferson we could not even see our feet, so forget about finding cairns. Our visibility was so low that we were becoming "sea sick" trying to move around.
    We had just entered untracked territory and had to break trail, but we could not find the trail. We pulled out the GPS and the batteries were too cold to stay on so we kept warming the GPS in our jackets until we could get it to work. Before leaving for the trip Don had downloaded waypoints from Marc Chauvins site (a new hampshire guide) and after a couple of hours of being lost we got a break in the weather and could see the ridge line up ahead! We took advantage of the conditions and made a b-line to the trail. Once on the trail we took in the beautiful sky! If it weren't for the GPS we would have been in a very bad spot which could have ended fatally. At 6:30 we finally made it to sphinx col where we ran into another party camping there as well. It was a treat to take off our packs and set up our tent in virtually no wind!
    We got into our tent and could not believe how warm it was! It was our new Hillberg tent and we could not be any happier! It is definately on the smaller side but what it lacks in size it makes up in warmth! When we began melting snow it actually got so warm that we were just hanging out in our baselayers! That night we slept better than we had in years. Even though the outside temperature was well below freezing we were more than comfortable in our tent! When we woke up the next morning and packed up camp it looked like the clouds might lift. We were wrong.
    At 8:45am we left camp and set out to knock out the second part of our traverse. We expected an easier time than the first day. We had a big surprise in store for us. Sunday was windier and colder. It had also snowed overnight and the drifts were quite deep in some areas. As we crossed the cog railway on mount washington the winds picked up a bit and visisbility began to become less and less. Seeing two cairns ahead was a treat! As we tried to find Lake of the Clouds Hut we ended up in another nausiating white-out. We kept trying to find the trail and were struggling with the deteriorating conditions. Off to our lefts we heard a voice. I yelled out and heard "follow my voice!". We found the man and he told us that the hut was just down the hill. Well, it was about 200 feet down the hill and we could not see it until we were almost bumping into it! We went towards the hut and hung out a bit while we snacked and read our maps.
    We headed out onto the trail again and the bitter cold and strong winds turned us back. We went back to the calm area outside of the hut and zipped up, pulled out the GPS and hoped for the best. Holy crap it was windy! As we headed to Monroe we managed to lose the trail again. We found ourselves on some scary side slopes but at least we were out of the wind for a while. When we found Eisenhower we could not see the crawford path trail. We did see some snow caves which were pretty cool. The wind was getting worse so we pushed up Eisenhower where winds were so strong I got knocked over!
    Again, we got a short lived clearing and we saw Pierce as well as our decent off in the distance. We thought we were home free until we lost trail again and found ourselves chest deep in the snow! It was a disaster and we lost a ton of time. When we swam our way out of the trees a huge ugly black cloud came rolling in. The GPS was useless here because of the terrain so we had to just keep trying to get out of this nasty situation. We got one last peek at a cairn up ahead and that was it, we were in the storm. We kept finding and losing the trail. We were pushing so hard that sweat was literally running down my body and into my boots. We were soaking wet and the temperature was well below freezing with high winds (felt like over 50mph), not good if we were to stop. It was stressful and we were punching through snow drifts again. Then, all of a sudden Don got a glimpse of a sign. It was not well marked but we saw a couple of tracks in the snow so we followed them. Suddenly we were in the trees and sheltered from the horrible conditions that we were in. We saw a couple with snowshoes who were turning back because of conditions and we asked them if we were truly below treeline. When they ever responded yes we were the proudest two people at that moment! We just survived a true winter traverse of the Presidential Range. We finished our traverse at 3:45pm.
    Our only concern was if Mike and Sue were able to shuttle our car to the end of Crawford Path. We accidentally came out a bit past the parking lot so we walked over and when we saw our truck we were so happy! We learned that a GPS is neccessary when intentionally putting yourself in a situation like we were in. We had dinner with them and went for a great climb up Elephants Head Gully on Monday. We were sore but happy! What a wild weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Go to http://www.flickr.com/gp/12439911@N07/ns1r43 to check out the trip pictures.

    -Kristina

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    Thanks for the report. Nice job.

    Did you make it in two days?
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
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    Yes, we hiked from Valley Way to sphinx col in 8.5 hours and hiked from Sphinx to 302 (highland center) in 7 hours. We were trying to get out as fast as possible as the conditions were terrible and getting worse. We lost a lot of time getting lost each day, especially day 2 where we were breaking trail through chest deep snow. We were to the point of being dripping wet from head to toe with sweat and did not dare stop as we would have frozen very quickly in the cold weather and high winds. It was one heck of a push, but very fun and exciting. We never understood the value of a GPS until this trip. It is one of those things that I thought was useless and my boyfriend thought was cheating, but if we did not have it with us I don't want to think about what could have happened.

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    So you actually did the traverse in 2 days which is awesome. Me and my buddy did a day hike to Mt. Washington on sat and i know how bad the visibility was. Also a great trip report. Great job.thanks

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