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Two Fast Presi Traverses (one FKT)

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  • Two Fast Presi Traverses (one FKT)

    I got the Presidential Traverse bug last week, and did it twice in a six day period.

    Last Tuesday was my first presi traverse (and first time on all the summits except Washington)--I did it on the way home from visiting my dad and his wife in Maine, and took the hiker shuttle to Crawford Notch before tackling the traverse in the south to north direction. It was a cool, breezy day and despite my intentions to use it as a scouting hike I ended up pushing myself pretty hard and finishing at the Dolly Copp campground in 5:19. I think I decided to push myself after seeing a bear get hit and killed on my way to Pinkham Notch in the morning. It was terrible and the only way I could think of to put it out of my mind was to run until it hurt.

    Running a 5:19 made me realize I should be able set the fastest known time on the route. North to South seemed like it would be easier because the northern peaks were much harder, and I had taken a bunch of time to read signs (I spent a few minutes on the summit of Washington alone trying to figure out where the heck the trail was) so I figured I'd be faster having figured out the route.

    On Sunday (8/29) I drove over early to catch the shuttle from Crawford Notch at 9am. The driver dropped me at Dolly Copp, and I started up at 10:45 after warming up and stretching. It was a hot, humid morning and I had been sweating continuously since getting on the shuttle. I hoped it would cool off as soon as I got above treeline.

    I took a nice steady pace up the Daniel Webster-Scout trail, sweating a lot and trying to hydrate with Camelbak Elixir. I knew it was a mistake to push too hard on the initial climb, and felt like I was doing OK with the pace. I hit the Osgood junction a little ahead of Ryan's split (Ryan Welts, former FKT holder) and continued on to Madison and Adams, hitting the summit of Adams with nearly a 7 minute lead. Luckily the wind had picked up and I was no longer sweating like crazy, although the sun was still pretty hot.

    Heading toward Jefferson I managed to take a wrong turn, finding myself to the west of a small hump on a trail that was obviously not the one I wanted. I backtracked and talus hopped over the hump, joining the correct trail but having lost my lead entirely by the time I summited Jefferson (in fact I was about 40 seconds behind). I wasn't too worried about catching up again, but was upset at losing the time because I'd lost the chance to put in my best possible performance.

    As I made my way over Clay and up Washington I began to cramp up in the inner quads, and had to stop to stretch as well as rely on my trekking poles to push myself up any high steps. I took two salt pills and drank a bunch, glad that I had started with 2 liters to get me to Lakes of the Clouds. I topped out on Washington with an elapsed time of 3hrs 15minutes, putting me 30 seconds behind Ryan. I knew I could cruise on the mostly downhill terrain to come, and I absolutely flew down to Lakes from the summit, feeling agile and ready to give my best to the end. A quick stop for about 1.5 liters of water at Lakes followed by another climb (with more leg cramps) put me at the summit of Monroe having gained a couple of minutes on Ryan, which I proceeded to give right back by stopping to stretch and even sit down for a minute on my way to Eisenhower. At the summit of Eisenhower I realized I was going to have to give it my all if I wanted to match or beat Ryan's time of 5:07.

    All out downhill running, taking advantage of the trekking poles to leap down small drops, got me to the flats on the way to Pierce. It was mentally tough to push the pace on the flats, but I told myself I was almost done and just had to tough it out. The leg cramps were really bad on the short climb up Pierce, and I must have looked pretty funny vaulting on my poles while trying to run uphill without bending my knees at all. Still I made great time and had gained a couple of minutes by the time I summited Pierce, the last peak.

    I was all downhill from there and I took it with abandon, barely lifting my feet off the ground and using the poles heavily in order to prevent cramps. At one point I did a full on flying faceplant, but luckily there were no rocks to hit. I was coming upon other hikers too quickly to be polite, but instead was yelling "coming through" the minute I saw anyone in the trail (sorry!). Every stride was hurting like crazy; I had no idea if I had any chance of breaking 5:07, and I didn't check my watch until I had stopped it at the pavement at Rt. 302. To my surprise it read 4:59:37--I had managed to meet my initial goal of under 5hrs!
    Last edited by jwellford; 08-30-2010, 09:47 PM. Reason: most awkward first sentence ever

  • #2
    Splits:

    Dolly Copp->Osgood: 62:35
    Madison Summit: 11:04 (1:13:39)
    Adams Summit: 25:17 (1:38:56)
    Jefferson (wrong turn): 44:23 (2:23:19)
    Washington via Clay: 51:37 (3:14:56)
    Monroe: 26:29 (3:41:25)
    Eisenhower: 31:01 (4:12:26)
    Pierce: 20:57 (4:33:23)
    Rt. 302: 26:14 (4:59:37)

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    • #3
      If we can get you to tie your shoes (GR), not get lost or fall on your face think how fast you'd go. Damn. Hope this fires up Drew! Talk to you soon, if you ever are home to answer the phone!
      Be quick - but don't hurry. -John Wooden

      Middle age is having a choice between two temptations and choosing the one that'll get you home earlier. ~Dan Bennett

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      • #4
        As always, another very impressive accomplishment

        Way to go!!
        The mountains are calling and I must go - John Muir.
        #6385W, HOL47er, Ultra6er, CL50 #524

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        • #5
          So, your 2nd time on that route, and you throw down a sub 5 hour Prezzie? That's damn impressive. Not much more I can say. Pretty wicked crazy freakin impressive.

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          • #6
            Incredible. Congrats, Jan, on the FKT. Very, very inspiring.
            You know I'm born to lose / And gambling's for fools / But that's the way I like it, baby / I don't wanna live forever "Ace of Spades" - Motorhead

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            • #7
              Egads. Congratulations!
              46/46, 12/48, 58/115
              46-R #6866

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ferrisjrf View Post
                So, your 2nd time on that route, and you throw down a sub 5 hour Prezzie? That's damn impressive. Not much more I can say. Pretty wicked crazy freakin impressive.
                I think I'm more blown away by the 5:19 first attempt while route finding, friggum.
                Be quick - but don't hurry. -John Wooden

                Middle age is having a choice between two temptations and choosing the one that'll get you home earlier. ~Dan Bennett

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                • #9
                  Seems getting veered off is a bit easy after Adams to Jefferson. I got mixed up myself after Adams and climbed it x2 friday before getting it right, Procook131 on the 21st and now you. I don't feel so bad about it now. I'm going with "I had poor visability as an excuse though".

                  Congrats on another speedy time
                  Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.

                  Will Rogers

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                  • #10
                    IIRC, in 2009 we made it to Madison in just under 5 hours.

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                    • #11
                      Reeeeeedic. I had heard you were going over to give it a go, but sub five hours? Well done Jan.
                      “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” John Muir

                      "Not the kind of "fun" you have to force yourself to remember you're supposed to be having, but the kind where you realize for the last half a day you've had this idiot grin on your face that you just can't seem to shake." -Mirabela

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Eric View Post
                        Seems getting veered off is a bit easy after Adams to Jefferson. I got mixed up myself after Adams and climbed it x2 friday before getting it right, Procook131 on the 21st and now you. I don't feel so bad about it now. I'm going with "I had poor visability as an excuse though".

                        Congrats on another speedy time
                        Oh well, I figured I am man enough to admit my mistake. I like the excuse, sounds believable!
                        “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” John Muir

                        "Not the kind of "fun" you have to force yourself to remember you're supposed to be having, but the kind where you realize for the last half a day you've had this idiot grin on your face that you just can't seem to shake." -Mirabela

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cory D View Post
                          I think I'm more blown away by the 5:19 first attempt while route finding, friggum.
                          Good point...especially (as everyone has already mentioned) given all the different trails in the area.

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                          • #14
                            Wow!!! Congrats on the FKT!
                            Be safe --- Respect the Earth --- Have fun --- Joe H.

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                            • #15
                              Great time Jan. Well done.

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