Dates for this winter's (2013/2014) Presidential Traverses have now been set. This is one of our most popular offerings, so sign up now to reserve your spot. Please note that custom dates are also available. Contact us for more details.
Dec. 6-8, 13-14, 20-22, 27-29
Jan 3-5, 10-12, 18-20, 24-26, 31- Feb 2
Feb 7-9, 15-17, 21-23, 28-March 2
March 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 28-30
April 4-6, 11-13
Rates: See below. From $450 to $975 for a three day traverse, depending on group size. Cost includes equipment, such as: boots, crampons, ice axe, snowshoes, stove/fuel, tent. Cost also includes breakfasts and dinners. Course participants are responsible for personal gear/clothing + lunch/snacks, sleeping bag and pad. Sleeping bags and selected clothing items such as shell jackets and puffy jackets are available for rent. If you are interested, please fill out our contact form and we'll send you our winter gear list.
A winter traverse of the Presidential Mountain Range, aka a "Presi" Traverse, is the quintessential multi-day mountaineering objective in the east. It is an ideal objective for anyone preparing to climb bigger mountains like Mt. Rainier or Denali. The definition of a true traverse varies, but most would agree that the trip should include a trip up and over each of the mountains in New Hampshire's Presidential Range. The most popular trek is approximately 21 miles and includes the following summits:
The trek is normally done from north to south, starting at the Appalachia trailhead on Route 2 in Jefferson and following Valley Way to the Madison Hut. Most parties want to bag all the summits along the way, but it is possible to do the traverse without hitting all the summits, making it slightly easier and quicker. At the end, after sumitting Pierce, you follow the Crawford Path down to Crawford Notch, emerging just across the street from the Highland Center. If you're feeling particularly ambitious you can extend your trek after Pierce to include Mt. Jackson and or Mt. Webster (including the latter brings the total distance up near 28 miles).
In winter the trip is usually done in three days, with two nights spent out in tents along the way. You can expect your pack to weigh upwards of 40 lbs, so training with some weight on your back should be considered essential preparation. Along the way you'll learn crampon and ice axe techniques for walking and climbing on snow, plus how to dress and layer for winter survival. Winds can sometimes gust up to 70 or 80 mph, so proper face protection incuding mask and googles is essential.
You'll also learn how to select a safe and protected camping spot, how to dig in, build snow walls, windbreaks, etc. In certain conditions we sometimes leave the tents behind to save weight, and instead dig snow caves or quincys.
Other important skills you'll learn include food selection and packing, stove and fuel selection, cooking and fire safety -- there's plenty of time to talk about these subjects in the evenings as you sit in your sleeping bag sipping some hot chocolate or tea.
If time is short, you should know that the Presi traverse can be done in a day by a very strong team. A Swedish friend and I completed a 25 mile version including Mt. Jackson in 2006 in about 12 hours. Particularly strong teams can also consider a two day version, with one bivouac.
Dates can be arranged on a custom basis. Contact us to find out if there are any groups you can join. But keep in mind that if you join a group, the team is only as strong as the weakest member, and if one person has to turn back, typically everyone does.
Cost for the three day traverse (including equipment and food):
1 person: $975
2 person: $775
3 person: $600
4 person: $500
5 person: $450
Our traverses are led by the one and only Steve Dupuis,(see Steve's photo in the thumbnails below). Steve is available to lead traverses every week all winter long, from Friday through Monday. So if you have your own group, or would like to book a private traverse, let us know, and we'd be happy to set up custom dates for you.
Steve has done the Presi Traverse more than 100 times, and guided it more than 50 times. It's fair to say that he knows The Presidential Traverse better than any person in the world. Simply put, you will not find a better guide for the traverse than Steve. See his bio below:
*AMGA Certified Top Rope Site Manager 2003
*AMGA 10-day Rock Instructors course in June 2002
*Licensed NH Fishing Guide (1 year)
*Wilderness First Responder (S.O.L.O.)
*SOLO High Angle Rescue course
*Member Mountain Rescue Service A-Team (North Conway)
*Bachelor of Arts in History, Plymouth State College 1996
*Recipient of US Forest Service 2006 “Golden Munter Award” for Outstanding Volunteer Service in Rescue
*Rock & Mountaineering guide for IMCS (6 years)
*Plymouth State College Outing Club, President (3 years)
*2004 IMCS Ecuador Expedition assistant Guide. (summited Cotopaxi)
*Guided over 50 winter Presidential Range traverses
*Ski mountaineering: Mt. Madison, Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Clay, Great Gulf, Mt. Washington, Huntington's, Tuckerman's, Mt. Monroe, Mt. Eisenhower, Lafayette, Guyot and Osceola.
(in the process of skiing down all 48 4,000 foot mountains in NH)
Completed all 48 New Hampshire 4,000 footers in summer and winter.
*Successfully Completed 100 winter Presidential Range traverses
*Solo winter Mahoosuc range traverse 32 continuous hours, winter 2005
*Solo summer Mahoosuc range traverse 13 hours, Aug 2003
*Rock & Ice: First ascents on remote backcountry cliffs like Green's Cliff, Russell Crag, Cannon Cliff, Eagle Cliff, Crawford Notch, Evans Notch
*Canadian Rockies. Climbed the President/Vice President, & Mt. Temple
*Quebec aid climbing - Cap Trinite. Attempted new routes
*Newfoundland - explorations along the south coast and Long Range mountains
*Colorado – Summited Longs peak via the cable route and Keyhole route; attempted route on the Diamond. Summited Eagles Nest
raising three children, masonry, woodworking, farming, sea kayaking, & fishing for large fish on light tackle
Other Mountaineering Courses: