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Presidential Traverse Preparation on Franconia Ridge

Posted Monday, December 17, 2012
New HampshireAlpine Climbing

Looking out from on top of Liberty.

Lot’s of people do the Presidential Traverse as training for Denali, but I’ve always said that Denali might just be good training for the Presidential Traverse:  The Presidential Range can pack a whallop!  But if you can’t get to Denali to train for your Presidential Traverse a great alternative is the Franconia Ridge Traverse.

Last week, Peter & I kicked off the alpine season with a 2-day circuit on the Ridge.  We began at the Flume Trailhead, went along White House Trail, and connected with Liberty Springs Trail.  After 2000′ of climbing over 3 miles, we arrived at the Liberty Springs Tentsites, which we had to ourselves.  Having a few hours of daylight left, we opted to unpack, set-up, and cruise north on Franconia Ridge to explore the section connecting Liberty with Haystack.

Following a pretty crisp evening (allowing Peter to test out his new 8000m suit!) we woke up and tackled the Liberty to Flume portion.  The circuit from the tent platform to Liberty to Flume covers another 6.75 and loses the 2000′ gained the previous day.  Most of that elevation is lost pretty quickly after Flume, and with the low snow cover the descent proved to be a bit spicey, with lots of low-angle ice on the trail.

All in all, this circuit offers the opportunity to experience some of the elevation, miles, ridge exposure, winter overnighting and terrain that the Presidential Traverse offers in a more manageable portion–highly recommended.  And for folks that want to up the aerobic ante quite a bit, you could go up the Bridle Path Trail to Lafayette, over to Lincoln, then Haystack, camp at Liberty Springs and finish the circuit as noted above.  Whether Presidential or Franconian, the ridgelines of the White Mountains are a treat in the winter world–check them out for yourself–or go climb Denali to prepare!

You can see more photos of the Franconia Ridge Traverse HERE.