Route: "Legendary" Smarts - Cube Traverse (NH)

Location
New Hampshire, US
Description

Sam Price posted about the route & history:

"Without doing any research, I ascertained that there was no Fastest Known Time. History was within our grasp." --- TEO, FKT, Legendary Cube-Smarts Traverse, 11/18/12, www.vftt.org.

There are some great accounts of folks trying for a single traverse of this section of the AT and variations:

TEO and Jeff did the north-to-south one way (single traverse) in November 2012, and also took the Ranger Trail off the south side of Smarts to Dorchester Road as I mistakenly did on my return leg last week. TEO's account is hilarious. They claimed the FKT on this single traverse in "8 hours, 50ish minutes", and I suspect TEO was the first to elevate the route to "legendary" status. www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?47046-FKT-Legendary-Cube-Smarts-Traverse-11-18-12

Emily Wynes posted a good account (with no elapsed time given) from her south-to-north solo single traverse in October 2013. She started at the Dartmouth Skiway and estimated the total distance to Route 25A at about 16 miles. She also did it north-to-south "a few years ago" but preferred the southern start because it gets the Smarts south face climb out of the way early. www.farnorthendurance.com/the-at-in-nh-part-12-smarts-mountain-and-mount-cube/

 

As Rob Rives notes, this section is part the Dartmouth 50 (fastestknowntime.proboards.com/thread/382/dartmouth-50-miler-record) and the AT so it gets loads of one-way traffic.

I have not yet contacted TEO, Jeff or Emily Wynes regarding this route.

 

Price then did a Double Smarts Cube Traverse:

SAM PRICE -- SMARTS-CUBE DOUBLE TRAVERSE UNSUPPORTED 2017-08-10 -- ALL TIMES TOTAL ELAPSED

 

 

Start - Trailhead on Dorchester Rd.
Jct. Clark Pond Loop Trail (top of Smarts) northbound   
Summit Mt. Cube northbound
Route 25A pavement edge turnaround
Summit Mt. Cube southbound
Jct. Clark Pond Loop Trail (top of Smarts) southbound
Finish - Trailhead on Dorchester Rd.
Total

Elapsed  
0:00
1:03
2:35
3:21
4:32
6:33
7:42
7:42
Split   

1:03
1:32
0:47
1:10
2:02
1:08
 
Distance   
0.0
3.7
10.0
13.1
16.3
22.6
26.2
26.2
Split dist. 

3.7
6.3
3.1
3.2
6.3
3.6
 
Split pace

17:02
14:36
15:10
21:52
19:22
18:53
17:38

I did not lay down my best effort due to this run coming at the end of a cycle of training in prep for a race later in the month. I'll be back to run this route again though. Cube and Smarts are awesome, under-appreciated mountains in relatively remote country for that part of the Connecticut River Valley.

I had technical issues with both MotionX on my phone (battery died descending Smarts to finish) and my Polar RS200 (SoundLink data transfer not functioning), but will work to provide as much evidence of my route and splits as I can over the next few days. Interestingly, it seemed my track on MotionX was running several miles longer than the line I plotted in Caltopo. Both sources estimated total elevation gain at around 8,100'.

Having now done the entire route I can say that Emily Wyne's description (link in previous post) is both highly accurate and useful as a guide to running it.

One challenge with this route was water purification. There are well-placed streams but none I'd drink out of without purifying. I like AquaMira but the solution needs 5 minutes to react before adding to water, then 15-30 minutes before drinking to complete purification. I found myself speed walking down the trail with the open cap of AM, waiting for the reaction to complete. Anyone have any fast purification secrets? Any good way to purify water quickly in those 9 oz. vest pocket bottles?

Here's my track.

gps.motionx.com/maps/e1c236c677f4b93c533e10431a583e48

Note that the end of the track is approximately 1.6 miles short of the finish at the Dorchester Rd. trailhead due to my phone running out of battery. I'll estimate the total distance of the route at an even 26.2 miles and the total elevation at 8,108 as recorded in MotionX. 

Also, the total elapsed time according to the track is 7:57, but that is because my phone resumed tracking after I plugged it in and it powered up on the car ride home. I immediately stopped the tracking before it could get a GPS fix, but it must have logged a final location-less data point upon power-up. I kept splits on my watch and recorded a time on course of 7:42 as previously stated. 

 

Jeremy Merritt posted about doing a similar route, and also added some more history:

My buddy and I did a variation (took a few attempt to finally make it--first two were in winter), from Smarts to Cube Summit and back (Ranger on the way back down Cube)

www.strava.com/activities/652267953

This was prepping/recon for The 50 to Moosilauke.

I'm glad that you've established an official FKT now, b/c that section is tough and deserves it, and I know of a handful of people who use that section for training. For example, in this article, Mark Klemm discusses the route for training for the insane Goruck Selection:

Quote:
The Appalachian Trail over Smarts Mountain and Mount Cube was another one of his favorite training routes. “I’d do 15 to 20 miles at a time, always carrying 60 to 65 pounds on my back because I knew that’s what it was going to be like (at Goruck Selection),” Klemm said. “I tried to do 20-minute miles.”

www.vnews.com/markklemmendurance111614-6069045

I'm going to have to go back now and try to get the FKT for the route you've established! Nice work.

Comments

Planning on running this route for a new FKT tomorrow morning. I'll be accompanied by Joffery Peters. Will post the GPX track tomorrow afternoon.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1702733423/overview

7:40:31 is the new FKT time. Joffery Peters and I ran the route together.

Sam Price's time was very hard to best, and, he was spot on that the run approximates a very tough 50k race effort.

I would love to do this again in the cooler autumn weather--it was not very hot when we ran, but very humid.

We both carried Katadyn BeeFree water filtration soft flasks, which you don't have to wait for. These things are a godsend. https://www.katadyn.com/us/us/14946-8019639-katadyn-befree-0.6L_usa

Planning to attempt a new North to South single traverse FKT tomorrow morning (10/25/2018) around 7:30 from Route 25A in Orford.

Planning at least a south bound attempt 6/15/19 and maybe the double depending on how I feel at the southern end