tues nov 14th i returned to the shire to spend time with my family for thanksgiving. my arrangement with myself was that i would go home and do some sort of long fun run/hike/skin/snowshoe.. something.
so i decided i hadto do the presidential traverse. it's a 25.5 mile trek with 9,600+ feet of gain. it's the most extensive above tree line area in the east. 13 of the 25.5 miles is above tree line and you are exposed to the harsh conditions of the mount washington area. if you aren't familiar with this area... it's has the "worst weather on the planet", the highest recorded winds on earth, it can snow year round and you should expect the weather to change drastically and unexpectedly (as this sign states - be scared).
for these reasons i had been watching the weather since i arrived. it was clear and warm on thurs nov 16th. it would have been the best day to attempt the traverse. however krissy had just arrived late on wed, and asking her to sleep 2-3hrs and get up for a 26 mile, 10,000 foot trek with iffy weather just wouldn't have been fair. although chances are she would have done it. so i proposed going friday. friday's weather was not as good. high winds at 60-75mph and torrential rains were hitting the presidentials thurs night. the mount washington weather site said the rain and wind would start to clear late morning/noon. we expected the traverse to take us anywhere from 8-12hrs. because of the exposure, your speed on this route completely depends on the conditions, and your ability to climb and more importantly descend rocky terrain. my mother and her husband david helped us do our recon thurs and drop a car at crawford notch for our return drive home from the trek - which would take us over 11 summits one way from pinkham to crawford notch.
let's just say i was a bit worried about the weather. i was awaken the night before by the pounding wind and rain. i started to question whether this was a good idea and i couldn't sleep. i decided that we would at the very least climb the first peak, mt madison, and make a decision from there.
from great gulf trail we then headed straight up our 4,100 foot climb to mt madison at 5,367 ft. the osgood trail was basically a river with 3-4 inches of water pouring down on our feet as we tried to keep up our pace. i think my feet were dry for about 3 minutes of this trek. as we started to get closer to the tree line the high winds were frightening and loud. could we spend hours exposed to this kind of wind? i wasn't convinced. the weather said it would die, but weather reporting is not an exact science, so i had my doubts. we stopped to bundled up with winter gloves, hats, and hoods.. then headed up through tree line into the wind.
after 3hrs we were on our way up mt adams (5,774 ft) the second highest peak, mt washington is the highest at 6,288 ft, in the northeast and the highest peak without road access. we actually had some sun on us for a while. from mt adams we then traveled down the ridge to mt jefferson (5,712ft) and mt clay (5,533ft).
- mt madison (5,367ft)
- mt adams (5,774ft - 2nd highest in the northeast)
- mt jefferson (5,712ft)
- mt clay (5,533ft)
- mt washington (6,288ft - highest peak in the northeast) > lakes of the clouds (the coolest amc hut)
- mt monroe (5,372ft)
- mt franklin (5,001ft)
- mt eisenhower (4,780ft)
- mt pierce (4,310ft)
- mt jackson (4,052ft)
- mt webster (3,910ft)
shoes: montrail hardrock w/teko ecomerino wool socks & yankz laces
fuel: perpetuem, hammer gel, heed
pack: gregory stimulus w/two nathan handheld