[at-l] traverse Re: Whites, trail magic

Tom McGinnis sloetoe at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 18 14:33:55 CDT 2010

--- On Wed, 8/18/10, Frank Looper <nightwalker.at at gmail.com> wrote:
Even pToey wouldn't try that one! I don't think.

On Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 12:31 PM, RockDancer <rockdancer97 at comcast.net> wrote:

Next Tuesday 8/24 the two will attempt the Hut Traverse - 56 miles from Carter Notch Hut to Lonesome Lake Hut, including the ascent over Mt. Wildcat. This "Big Day" hike also includes over 20,000 feet of ascent. When this was first achieved, in 1936 by Herbert Malcolm, it took 21 hours, 43 mins. (according to Waterman's "Forest & Crag"). I don't know the current record but Chopstix and Matt hope to finish under 14 hours, with the hut croos notified and offering support along the way.

pToey respondeths:

### Sheeesh. Now *there's* a question.
First, I wouldn't do it *now* -- I am years into sloth.
Second, I would do it in the other direction -- cruize adroitly down the ankle-busters, stretching hammies and quads, from Lonesome Lake to the highway, and then tackle the more rugged miles from Lafayette to Zealand with good sunshine and good legs. Speed across the flats atop the Presidentials, and then (and here's a toughie) TAKE MY FREAKIN' TIME from Washington summit around to Madison and ("Ugh!") down to the-camp-with-the-leanto{?}-and-good-spring. Then ease it into Pinkham. From Pinkham up Wildcat would be a bear for cramping legs, but at least your arms will get you halfway through the distance, and you can *see* where your plants/holds are going to be. (As hikers, we sometimes forget what climbers learn early: downhill SUCKS and, if you're tired, uphill is *so* much easier.) Then from Wildcat down to Carter Notch I really don't remember -- a little stroll, a trail junction that begs for a stealth night, a flatish walk up to the hut...

But doing this in the other direction? YOWIE. It'd be easy to blow your quads on the downhill of Wildcat, jumping from rock to rock, relying too much on leg strength. And then the downhill off the Presidentials (Willey Cliff) -- Ewww. And then the descent of South Twin and the gnarlyness of Galehead<-->Greenleaf? Towards the end of the day? With Cannon Mtn staring you in the puss? *That* would be Miserable. And to top it all off, you'd have the nasty, wet-bolder-hopping foot-puzzle of a trail from the highway up to Lonesome Lake, with fifty, nasty, dad-gum miles on your legs. OUCH -- it hurts just to think about that. And did I mention the DARkNESS?

So, I would definitely go S->N over N->S.

Third, would pToey try that one? Hmmmm. Back in the day, I wailed on a section of the Long Trail for I think 8 hours or so. Gave it everything I had. "Ran" what was runnable -- all 150 yards of it, and speed-hiked the rest. 8 hours. Compared my time to the good Dr. Horton's record run, and he ran that section in 6 hours, as part of a 20 hour day. (Cue incredulous flapping of lips and blinking of eyes.) On the other hand, during my throughhike, I did the Kinsman Range, and from the (illegal) summit of Mt Pierce to Pinkham Notch, on single days.

Man, I wish I wuz in shape. Speed has never been my thing, but staying upright -- "Pfff!" -- nothing. But even with hut support (meaning: minimal food load on legs/arms), this would be quite the deal. I can tell you that a good time for 50 miles (if there was ever such a thing as an "average" of these things) would be 7-8 hours. My own 50 mile bests are ~9-10. But there will be whole mountains of this traverse that are simply *not* runnable. (Well, except by Horton, Courtney Campbell, TrailDog, etc.) ... ... ... But I'm left thinking that 14+ hours is ferociously ambitious, and I would love to be there, cheer, assist, pace a section, whatever. Mannnnnn.


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