Presidential Traverse Fail

All week I had been going back and forth on whether or not I was going to attempt the presidential traverse solo in a day this weekend, I’ve hiked all these peaks 3 time already but never all on the same day.  I was tentative because I was having a hard time trying to figure out the solution to car spotting solo.  On friday night at about 11pm after going out for a few beers with Emily and Clif and Vannesa I decided I’m just gonna go up there see what I can get done.  I woke up 4 hours later and headed up north.  I parked at the Webster Jackson Trail head and started walking and soliciting a ride from everyone I saw.

Success!  At the highland center I found a family who was spotting a car and they had room in the way back of there Honda CRV. I crawled in and they threw all there packs on top of me.  They were good people and I enjoyed the ride despite the discomfort.  We drove cross Mt Clinton Rd and Jefferson Notch and I was at Appalachia Trailhead at 8:30.  I thanked them and took off for my adventure.
While ascending the Valley Way Trail I passed a blind man hiking with his service dog. When I came up behind him and his dog we were on a tight sectiion of trail where I couldnt pass, for about 100 feet. When the trail opened up again, I then asked if I could pass, It totally suprised him. He said “wow you must be very stealthy”. I hike on my toes and, I get comments all the time from people that I’m very quiet and they didnt hear me coming. But coming from a blind guy with more perceptive hearing, I took that as a compliment. I later found out that the man was Randy Pierce and his dog Quinn and he is trying to climb all the 4K’s Check out his website. Cool Stuff.

I made it to Mt Madison summit at 11AM

Back down at the Madison Hut I ran into Greg who was hiking the traverse with a few friends, and  Johannes who was working at the hut. I am familiar with both these people through the Backcountry skiing community and it was neat to run into them in the mountains. (Greg’s crew and I leap frogged each other on the path a few times between Madison and Lake of the Clouds.)   Greg’s TR

It was sad to see that the Madison Hut had been remodeled and expanded over the past year.  It was my favorite hut, but now it is just fancy and boring, and designed more like a slope side condo than a mountain bothy.

I left the hut after some cookies and skirted around the top of King Ravine (I’ve snowboarded down this)

Mt Adams 12PM

I followed Gulfside from Thunderstorm Junction and got to Jefferson at 1:45

Next stop Mt Clay 2:45

The hike above Great Gulf on the Clay summit loop is one of my favorite views in the world (I’ve snowboarded down this too)

Between Jefferson and Clay I started to get a cramp in my right quad that really slowed me down. (This was the same muscle I tore pretty bad and was out of commision for the summer 3 years ago)   By the time I got to the summit of washington it was starting to spasm. Washington 4PM:

The summit was so mobbed that I couldnt even get a picture of me with the sign because there was a huge line. I went inside grabbed some food and drink and put my feet up for a bit to see if I could get my leg to feel better.  15 minutes later I left, and Made it to Mt Monroe at 5PM. (I’ve snowboarded down both sides of this)

At 6PM  I got to the Eisenhower col, and when I began to climb Eisenhower my leg started to spasm more than I could deal with, I could not climb any more.  I couldnt even force it and just peak bag the Summit of Ike!   Since I had been totally alone since I left Lake of the Clouds and it was getting late I figured it wasnt a good idea to push it too much. I was defeated. It killed me to quit, but I couldnt complain too much because it had been such a beautiful day to be in the mountains.
I shot this little vid clip before I went down.

I walked down the Edmunds Path and then down Mt Clinton Rd back to my car at the Webster Jackson Trailhead.  The total milage of doing this was just about as far as if I had finished the traverse, however this way was all downhill. Heres a link to my track stats:

Last year when I succesfully hiked the Pemi Loop in a single day I had trained by hiking Mt Uncanoonuc every day.  This year I’ve been mostly running and biking, which keeps me fit, but lacks in the specific strength training I needed for a hike like this. Which I think was the primary reason for cramping,  secondarily I’m sure going out to the Pub the night before coupled with the warmer than usual temps didn’t help me keep as hydrated as I could have been.  Im gonna hit Mt U pretty hard for a few weeks and then I will be back to complete this hike in a day before snow flies again!

4 thoughts on “Presidential Traverse Fail

  1. oof… sorry to hear about your tough finish Yan 🙁

    we wondered what happened to you. we took a swim at lake of the clouds and wondered if we’d seen you, or if you passed us and we didn’t catch up. we ended up making it to pierce at sunset only (stumbling, crampy, grumpy and sore), and then stumbled down to crawford not until 10pm.

    hum… maybe we should have all stuck together to help motivate… oh well… next time!!

    • Yeah I was curious what happened to you guys. I didnt stop at Lakes at all and continued on. I figured you guys stopped and would catch up with me before I got to Eisenhower. I actually hung out at red pond for a bit trying to get some salt in me, to get my cramps to go away, and still didnt see you guys coming. I wasnt sure if you guys dropped off or not. i watched the ridge for a bit and saw no one, I think that actually may have contributed to my decision to pull the plug and drop down,

  2. Pingback: Presidential Traverse 6/28/14 |

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