Presidential Traverse

In June 2017 I will be running/power hiking the Presi Traverse to raise money for the Sierra Club. I have been enjoying doing non-race challenges and after the election thought I might be able to do something to drum up support for the Sierra Club as they fight their asses off for the environment that I enjoy daily. I’ve been a member for years now and find the organization to be incredibly honorable. Below you will find information about the traverse and a smidge on training.

Presi Traverse

This traverse covers the Presidential Range in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and is often referred to as a death march from what I’ve read. The biggest challenges I’ve had in adapting to the mountains out East have been the complete absence of generous switchbacks and  the far too common boulder-covered trails. The White Mountains are notorious for these unforgiving traits and thus the 20 mile jaunt with 8500ft of elevation gain is much more daunting than it may seem. Nonetheless, it is an iconic challenge that I would be regretful to miss out on when we leave the NE…and let’s not leave out the nearly poetic idea of environmental protection being an unrelenting force through any presidency.

The Down & Dirty

As I said, the traverse is just about 20 miles with 8500 ft of elevation gain without the extended version of summiting Jackson (ironically, not named after the president but after a State geologist) and around 22 miles with around 8800 ft of gain with the extended version. I’m currently deciding to not do the extension but may change my mind as my training progresses aaaand I may not change my mind. I plan to begin at Valley Way trail and head up to Madison from there, getting a big chunk of the elevation gain out of the way early (all the trip reports I’ve read seem to concur that this is the best route to take). It is a quick and dirty 4000+ ft of gain in about 4 miles it seems. Below is the elevation profile that I found on the Trail to Summit trip report page (THANKS GUYS!!) as it seems to give the best glimpse at the traverse as far as elevation goes.


The biggest concern, of course, is the weather on Mt. Washington as this summit is known for record wind speeds of 231 mph. As nuts-o as that sounds, it seems that on a bluebird day in the summer, the summit will likely provide just the right amount cool air I need to recharge. The traverse also crosses around 3 huts that are fully stocked so I can re-up on water and food along the way as an effort to cut down on pack weight.


Hills. Lots of hills. Boulder hopping. Lots of boulder hopping. Pizza. Lots of pizza.