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Gear for Presidentials in Oct.
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Ian Schumann
(freeradical) - MLife

Locale: Central TX
Gear for Presidentials in Oct. on 08/23/2009 06:44:42 MDT Print View

I´ve been around the world in this past year, and now I´m getting ready to be home. 11 months without a place to lay my head, eesh!

Anyway, I already have a hike in the works with some of the guys from my squad. We´re planning on doing 20 miles in the Presidentials over the course of 6 days or so in the first week of October.

If you can´t tell by the itinerary, this is not a fast-and-light trip, really, and a lot of the guys, I´m sure, aren´t such experienced hikers. I´m hoping this means that we won´t be camping above treeline and other stupid (awesome) things like that, but I can´t be sure because I´m not planning our route.

Anyway, I´ve never been up to that part of the country, or not to hike anyway. Can people advise on what I´ll need for warmth and weather protection? I was told by another dude "It´s going to be cold and crazy, I´m planning on bringing a bomber tent and a zero-degree bag."

Naturally, being a well-brainwashed BPL junkie, that line sounds like silly overkill. We´re not winter mountaineering, after all. So, using ultralight technique and such, can somebody give me an idea of what I´ll face and what you think I´ll need?

(sorry if the lack of route info makes this difficult, but assume we´ll be hitting peaks during the days and finding moderate shelter at night)

Thanks, guys!

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Gear for Presidentials in Oct. on 08/23/2009 07:14:14 MDT Print View

I think you'll have a tough time taking 6 days to cover the Presidential Range -- 3 days should be enough. You could start in Gorham, and hike to Crawford Notch, which would cover the Carter Range + Presidential Range. The AMC White Mountain Guide is a good map/guidebook set.

Camping above treeline (trees less than 8 feet tall) is not allowed in the White Mountain National Forrest except on snow deeper than 2 feet -- which I think will be unlikely in the first week of October.

That said, the weather can be quite variable. It can be hot, but I would be prepared for cold rain, possible light snow, and high winds. I believe a 20 degree bag, with a puffy jacket to wear, and good pad, would be sufficient to keep you warm at night.

There are several shelters and campsites in the Presidential Range. At that time, Madison and Lakes Huts will be closed, but Mizpah will be open on caretaker basis.

Edited by jdw01776 on 08/23/2009 07:15:09 MDT.

Ian Schumann
(freeradical) - MLife

Locale: Central TX
Water? on 08/27/2009 11:33:56 MDT Print View

Anyone know what kind of water availability we can expect in the Presidentials? (I hope the question is specific enough, since I don't know our particular route)

ferris jrf
(ferrisjrf) - F

Locale: New England
Re: Water on 08/27/2009 14:00:36 MDT Print View

On the ridge, there's water at Star Lake, Lakes of the Clouds, and the spring at Mizpah Hut. Mizpah is open until 10/16, so you can go inside and get water right out of their tap.

You'll also be able to get water at the cafeteria on top of Washington. It closes for the season around the 3rd week in October, but it sounds like you'll be there before that.

Otherwise, you'll need to descend off the ridge to get water. But, you'll be descending off every night to camp anyway, so it shouldn't be much of an issue.

Since you guys are planning on spending so long, I assume you'll be camping in the Great Gulf, and dayhiking the peaks? The answers to all your questions really depend on exactly what the plan is. But regardless, assuming that you're not gonna try to break the rules and camp above tree-line, any 3-season shelter should be fine. FWIW, the average night-time low in Gorham in October is around freezing...which is also near the average high for Washington.