Here is as short of trip report as I can give on my recent Presidential range trip in New Hampshire. I just wanted to share with the 14er community another amazing mountain range in the US that I think is underestimated and under acknowledged. We were going to do the full thing from start to finnish which is about 25 miles and would take Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Over the Presidential traverse you summit roughly 7 or 8 peaks including Mt. Washington. We did a final weather check Saturday morning around 4 am before we left and they had changed drastically from the previous day. Both NOAA and the Mt. Washington weather observatory were predicting winds to come in on Sunday increasing to sustained 100 mph winds by noon gusting up to 145 mph with temperatures dropping over night to -20 F and continuing through Monday (wind chills of -65 to -80). Sooooo, we realized that staying up there on Sunday and Monday absolutely was not an option, lol. We decided to take the standard winter mountaineering route of Mt. Washington, which worked out fine because the route was more extreme and we got a decent view as the clouds broke in the afternoon (Sunday and Monday were going to be socked in). Our route had about 2000 feet of front pointing in two sections: the first being 1200 ft over 1200 ft out of the trees and the second section being about 800 ft over 1000 ft. We had planned to cross over the other side of Mt. Washington and skirt down to the tree line to set camp for the night so we could get out early Sunday morning. However, as we descended we entered into some thick clouds and it started snowing. About dusk we lost sight of the cairns going forward. We stopped and spent about 30 minutes back tracking and looking around for the right route to no avail. The cairns were every 20 feet and then we non existant (avalanche maybe?). Then it dawned on me: we should not be screwing around looking for this route with minimal visibility while it's almost dark with snow falling that could obscure our tracks especially with the nasty weather that was coming on Sunday. Best case senario if we stayed up there we would have bailed into the trees and spent days waiting to get out or worst case senario we would have not made it off the mountain. So there was no argument that we needed to re-summit Mt. Washington before our tracks disappeared and head back to the car that night. Needless to say it made for a rather exhausting day considering we had carried 45 lb packs with over night gear up and down the mountain. As we went back over Mt. Washington we came out of the clouds and ended up getting full views of the Presidential range under the moon light. We also turned around to see the dense snowy clouds we were trying to navigate in.
Looked down into the snowy sea of clouds as we re-summit Mt. Washington. 14 miles 5,200 ft of elevation gain over 12 hours of hiking/climbing. Next day we did about a half day of snowshoeing. The White Mountains of New Hampshire really impressed me and I will be going back. All the decisions and changes in plans were definitely for the better, smartly made and I was very satisfied with out trip (first successful winter ascent on a serious mountain!). If you're unfamiliar with Mt. Washington and think I'm bsing ... look it up.