While we were making our way up the first climb of Mt. Watatic together at the Wapack and Back 50, Eric Ahern mentioned that he was planning on running along the Presidential Range in the White Mts. to spectate at the Mt. Washington Auto Road Race on June 21st. I was thinking about a Pemi Loop around that time, but decided to join him and some friends up on the ridge instead. I figured I could do a Pemi Loop solo later in the summer, and choosing the run across the Presis would give me an opportunity to spend some time in the mountains with a few other people.
The route that I chose was to run was on Saturday with Eric and Mike McDuffie (link to his blog here) was ascending Mt. Pierce from Crawford Notch, over Mt. Eisenhower, Franklin, Monroe past Lakes of the Clouds and up to Mt. Washington and back. It was a variation of a Southern Presi Traverse and the start time was set to be at 6AM. The group was going to meet up with Sam Jurek, Scott Traer, and David Huss as they were running a full traverse from North to South that morning as well. Eric and McDuffie met me right around 6 and we hiked/jogged our way up the Crawford Path up to the summit of Mt. Pierce reaching it in about 1 hour 15 minutes.
|Making our way up the Crawford Path towards Pierce|
|Sunlight coming through the trees|
|Near the Pierce summit spur and our first views of the ridge. Eisenhower, our next peak, is in the center of the photo.|
|Eric and McDuffie making their way up to the summit of Pierce|
|Looking back towards Pierce and Jackson from a viewpoint near the summit of Eisenhower|
|Summit cairn at Eisenhower|
|View towards Monroe, Franklin and Washington|
|Franklin and Monroe, Oakes Gulf on the right|
|Mt. Washington's peak in the clouds|
|Crawford Path below looking into Oakes Gulf from Monroe|
|Summit of Mt. Monroe looking South|
|Running down towards Lakes of the Clouds Hut|
|Lakes of the Clouds|
|Making our way up to Washington, in and out of the clouds that day|
|View back towards the Southern Presis|
|Joe Gray winning the Auto Road Race in just under an hour|
|Making my way down from the Mt. Washington summit solo|
|Crawford Path heading around Monroe's summit|
|One of the more runnable sections|
|Looking towards Eisenhower and Pierce|
|One last look back on the ridge|
|Interesting section of Crawford Path as it goes around Mt. Eisenhower|
|Gibbs Falls towards the base of Pierce|
|Map of our route|
|Elevation profile with blue pace line|
I had a great half day in the mountains with Eric and McDuffie and I'm glad I tagged along with their run. I can't wait to head back there along the AMC Hut Traverse I am planning on doing with Chris Dailey (link to his blog here). We are planning on running the 50 mile, 17,000' climbing traverse from Carter Notch to Lonesome Lake and have targeted a time of 15 hours. This will be my first time, but Chris has been on the route before. A description of a fast running of the route by Adam Wilcox can be found here . He ran it in 13 hours 53 minutes and was racing the sun back to his car similar to what we will be doing. The plan is to start from Carter Notch Hut at first light (around 4-5am) on July 12th and run down 19 Mile Brook Trail to Great Gulf Trail to Madison Hut and then do a Presi Traverse to the Lakes of the Clouds and Mizpah Hut. This section, along with the Garfield Ridge Trail, will be the toughest footing/weather(?) of the trip and it will be good to get that out of the way early.
The week after the traverse I will run the Bear Brook Marathon at Bear Brook State Park, NH which I ran last year in 4 hours 16 minutes. The goal this year is to hopefully run it in under 4 hours. I am trying to add in more speedwork sessions between now and then to work on my leg speed on hills. I've consistently been to three track sessions in 4 weeks, with one week off, and I'm looking to keep up that rate. I figure if I do one track session, one interval session on trails and one tempo per week on my weekday runs and keep up the mountain repeats, I should be in good shape to run a good race and suffer a little less at the Hut Traverse.
Here are a couple videos that McDuffie made of a portion of our trip: