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Thread: Presidential Traverse in June

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    Default Presidential Traverse in June

    Hi Folks,
    I am A.S.M. for a Boy Scout / Venture Crew. We (13 of us) will be traversing the Presidential Range at the end of June.
    Our Itinerary:
    Friday will be stepping off from the Highland Center @ Crawford Notch on Friday afternoon then ascending to Mizpah Spring Hut for Friday evening.

    Saturday we will be make the traverse using Crawford Path to Mt. Wash. then the Gulfside trail to Madison Hut.

    Sunday we will make our decent on the Vallyway trail.

    The experience of our group varies. One person has done this route before but, he did it all in one day! One third is very experienced hikers, middle third are good hikers but this will be their biggest challenge to date (Me). Bottom third needs work on conditioning, mental as well as physical. We are trying to get out on training hikes every weekend from now until our June hike. A fear of mine is I may have to ask a few Scouts to back out. My biggest fear is to take ill prepared people up on the range. We have until May 22 for people to get a full refund. I hate to make cuts but I may have to.

    I’m looking for any advice I can get, mostly training tips and physical requirements. Also any unexpected hazards that anyone may have encountered. Any recommended (other than the basic) gear to pack. Any tips about what to expect in the huts and proper hut etiquette.

    What ever I can get to be better prepared and to better prepare my group will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    A.S.M.
    Troop/Crew 2

  2. #2
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    First off, the huts are a quiet mountain retreat where people look for a certain degree of peace and relaxation. The thought of 13 boy scouts could be disheartening to the other guests. If they aren't worn out from the hike make sure they respect the other people.

    I'm not sure you are going to need to make cuts. Under good weather conditions its four fairly easy days. Now, four good weather days in a row are rare so be prepared for 40 degrees, solid rain, and wind. Keep in mind that rain in the 50s is enough to give the unprepared hypothermia.

    Bring ear plugs for the huts. They're useful even when there are no boy scouts around.

    You also might want to get them out on a hike with full weight backpacks. If they can't handle an easy hike with the packs they'll self cut for the real trek.

    Also, be sure to stick around and ask some follow up questions. I know there's a lot more to cover, but I remember you started a thread a few months ago and dissappeared after that.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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    Default presi traverse

    Here's my input - I have traveled that very route you are planning. Keep in mind the hike from mizpah over the summit all the way to madison hut is a long, long way for novice hikers. My son is a scout and from my experience, most troops have a wide variety of fitness levels, and hiking experience. This hike would not be a problem if all of them are in top shape and hardcore, experienced hikers, but those that have less stamina and motivation, are sure to struggle.

    Be aware also that from Mt. Monroe all the way to Madison hut is completely above treeline and exposed to the weather - so before starting out on this section have a bailout plan and know where all the escape trails heading down are. This is probably the most important aspect of your overall plan.

    You can get clothing suggestions off the amc or ems climb school website, Although I'll be happy to help you with that if you need. Also get out and hike with packs of 30-35lbs on hilly terrain as much as possible and for your actual trip, keep your packs as light as possible - for sleeping you just need a very light bag - although some people just bring a sheet - the amc supplies 2 blankets per bunk.

    Hope this helps.
    Tim
    Last edited by climbabout; 05-01-2007 at 09:14 AM.

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    Default presi traverse escape plan

    I meant to include this before - here's a great link from the chauvin guides website - it's their escape route plan for the winter traverses that they lead. Keep in mind that a lot of the info refers to winter campsites and such and that there is no camping above treeline in the white mountains in the summer, but the escape trails listed and that type of information still applies 12 months of the year.
    http://www.chauvinguides.com/PresiTr...scapeguide.htm

    Tim

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    Mizpah to Madison? I agree, that is a long section. I just figured there was a stop at Lakes in there.
    Bill
    Next up: Vermont City Marathon: May, 2011
    EasternLight

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    Default Traverse

    The information given here is excellent. I would only add that I wouldn't attempt this with novice hikers. I'm a pretty experienced hiker, not hardcore, but this is about as hardcore as hiking in the Whites gets. I've climbed Jefferson, then gone to Adams and Madison and down in the rain and found this to be about my limit. I'm not sure I would attempt Mizpah to Madison fully packed on a good day, let alone in the rain or hot sun. Rather than have people drop out, why not scale back a little. It seems to me that this plan with some of the hikers abilities in question is doomed for failure. A better plan to me would to be at Mizpah the first night and Lakes the second, then those who were still willing could make the climb to the summit of Washington in the morning before returning to pack out on the Ammonoosuc Trail. As mentioned in previous posts, getting the right weather is what it's all about. Good luck, take pictures and keep us posted as to what actually transpires.
    KDT

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    Default Thanks. I'll be sure to stick around

    Thanks for the advice. I welcome all of it. Please feel free to ad anything you can think of. I'll be sure to stick around.

    Bill O.,
    No need to be concerned of the behavior of our boys. It will be 9 scouts and 4 adults. (Physical conditioning for a couple aside), these boys are the cream of the crop, all with impressive academic and scouting resumes. I would be proud and would never hesitate to take them in public anywhere at any time.

    The actual group has 7 more adults who will be doing the M.W. summit and returning to Mizpah on Sat. evening.

    Our training hikes have been and will continue to be 8-10 miles with 20-30lb. Packs. My concern is more along the lines of physical and intestinal fortitude to handle extreme conditions as the may occur. A couple scouts concern me. I fear they may not be taking the actual possibilities of extreme conditions serious enough (they don't know what they could be getting into). How do I train them for that?

    Thanks
    T/C 2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Troop/Crew 2
    My concern is more along the lines of physical and intestinal fortitude to handle extreme conditions as the may occur. A couple scouts concern me. I fear they may not be taking the actual possibilities of extreme conditions serious enough (they don't know what they could be getting into). How do I train them for that?

    Thanks
    T/C 2
    In my experience, there is little more you can do in this area other than to verbally stress to them what conditions are possible/probable in the Whites.

    The best book I can recommend to you would be "Not Without Peril" - you can pick this up at any EMS store and most climbing shops that have a book section. You can probably get it on line as well. I thought they sold it at the Mount Washington online store - but I did not see it the last time I looked. This book contains some heart wrenching stories of deaths in the whites that occurred to people many of whom started out in benign conditions only to have the weather turn on them. One death occurred in the 80's not far from Madison hut in the summertime - I believe it was August - a father and I believe 2 young boys got caught in a typical summer storm and the father died of hypothermia. The sad part of this story is that they had the option of descending, but pressed on nonetheless in deteriorating conditions.

    Beyond that, the best reality check can be had by experiencing extreme conditions firsthand - hopefully when you have an option to descend to shelter. I've been on many trips where even adult hikers are nonchalant and confident at the trailhead, until they first feel the wind and cold above treeline - that quickly and surely IS THE BEST TEACHER. I have never climbed or hiked with anyone, who didn't have respect for the whites after experiencing tough conditions. Hopefully you get a little taste of that at a safe time, and then have good weather the rest of the way.
    Good luck
    Tim
    Last edited by climbabout; 05-01-2007 at 10:58 AM.

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    Default Thanks

    Thanks all for the great links, advice and info. Please add more as you think of it. I'll keep you updated on our progress.
    Thanks
    T/C 2 (Tom)

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    Default weather controls presi traverse hikes

    I have done this traverse many times and the weather is what makes or breaks it. You are fully at the mercy of the weather and that will dictate what you and the scouts are able to do. Climbabout and K.D. are right on in what they said. The most important item is knowing your escape routes. In nice weather Mitzpah to Madison is no problem. In bad weather Mitzpah to Lakes is a chore. My thought is why would you stay in a hut with scouts when you could stay at the perch or Gray Knob. Staying at either the perch or gray knob is alittle more low key, you cook your own food and have alittle more freedom. This also gives the kids who might not want to climb Adams or Madison the next day the chance to head down Lowes path while the others climb. The groups would still be able to meet at the same spot at the end. You asked how you teach kids about the perils of the traverse. It has to be experienced to understand it. You as leaders need to make sure they have the proper clothes in their packs and when the time comes to use them they will understand. Gloves,winter hat, fleece jacket, and windbreaker are items I never go above tree without. Good luck in the traverse and may the weather Gods smile upon your group.

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