FKT: Vanesa Urango - Presidential Traverse (NH) - 2022-05-21

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Total time
10h 32m 33s
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Today (5/21/22) I completed the Presidential Traverse (northbound approach) in 10:32.33. I chose to turn this hike into an FKT because there had not yet been a female that had logged a nobo attempt, so I took a leaf out of Whitney Pearson’s book (thanks for the inspiration girl!). I am not an ultra runner/hiker by any stretch, but I wanted to get this one on the books and hopefully some super fast female will come and crush this pretty quickly! I did this hike supported in two ways. I started the hike with 3 of my friends – Amanda and Courtney stayed with me until the summit of Pierce, and Hazel came with me to Eisenhower (so grateful for them!). I completed the rest of the route solo. I also sourced water from the Sherman Adams Building on Washington (a public source) – otherwise, I carried all of my own food, water, and other supplies. I did not take supplies from any person.

Today was HOT, especially for the end of May in the White Mountains – I need to check back to see if the high temp record was broken today (it was a possibility). The start of the hike (~0600 start) on Crawford Path went well – no snow until we were near Pierce, and it was minimal—no spikes needed. Otherwise, the morning was cloudy, but warm with a refreshing breeze. The cloud deck lowered on Monroe and from the Lake of the Clouds up through the approach to Mount Washington (MWN), and the wind picked up. MWN was completed socked in when I arrived around 1045. If I had not been there many times before, I would not have been able to find the summit and Sherman Adams building. On my hike down about a mile ish below the MWN summit, the clouds cleared and the second half of my traverse was spent in almost full sun (I have the sunburn to prove it!). The westerly breeze was my savior today. The remaining snow and permafrost on the Presis is melting fast, and much of the trail from Lake of the Clouds to MWN and gulfside on the northern side of MWN had a lot of running water on it. The Jefferson snowfield is still in tack and required spikes and poles – still sketchy. There were some snow patches after that were also very unstable and made for slow going. They barely held my body weight and plenty of people had postholed before I came through. It was all mashed potatoes by the time I had gotten there in the afternoon. Essentially no bugs until the summit of Adams and Madison (typical early summer swam living in the rocky summits). Ran into a rotten monorail just below treeline on Valley Way on my way down, but about 5 minutes worth of microspikes and that was the end of it. Ran the last 1.5 miles ish out of Valley Way, but I was pretty gassed by then.

Overall, it was a fantastic and challenging day! This was my first time going nobo, and I can safely report that sobo is preferred! Going up Madison last was definitely a butt kicker in that heat. I was rewarded at the conclusion of my hike though by my boyfriend Corey and his friend Jack, who had a cooler in the car full of fresh lemonade and cold pizza. Can’t beat that! :)


PS - tried several times to upload a series of photos and kept getting an error. Please let me know if you want me to email them somewhere with the metadata (date and time stamp, etc.) Thanks! -V