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Ultralight Multi-Day Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains (NH)

August 6 · Issue #18 · View online
Stuart, KB1HQS Newsletter
“A Presidential Traverse is a strenuous and sometimes dangerous trek over the Presidential Range of New Hampshire’s White Mountains”…Wikipedia

I’m back in Maine and New Hampshire for a few weeks and am taking on the White Mountains.
I have done several hikes in the Whites before but never the full presidential traverse. Overall distance is around 20 miles with nearly 9,000 elevation feet gain.
Prior to this hike I will be doing a two day trip climbing Mt. Lafayette.
Add the two together and you are looking at nearly 30 miles.
If your going to punish yourself, might as well go for the full kick between the legs!
Right at that precise moment, Frank decided to remain single..
Right at that precise moment, Frank decided to remain single..
As always with the White Mountains, at 5,000 feet in August you can get heat, snow, sleet or high winds (or all of the above). Fortunately, there are many side trails down to the tree line if things get nasty.
If things are really bad, I can always head across the border to Maine and do some hiking below the tree line.
For those that like to read about SAR rescues in the White Mountains:
Critical Hours: Search and Rescue in the White Mountains: Sandy Stott: 9781512600407: Books
High Summit WX Forecast
High Summit WX Forecast
Mount Washington Observatory | Higher Summits Forecast
Your Probably Going to Die Fun Fact!
Highest winds ever recorded on top of Mt Washington were clocked at 231mph in 1934!
More Red Tape and Regulations
Regulations require that anyone above the tree line must stay the night at a series of huts that are provided by the Appalachian Mountain Club. No above the treeline camping is allowed.
As a result, I spent nearly $300 in reservations for the the privilege of getting a bunk for two nights and several meals.
I will be shacking up with 100 other people for the night, not my idea of good time however the alternative is a 20 mile hike in one day or dropping serious elevation to go below the tree line to camp. Add in SOTA activation time, and that would easily make a 24 hour hike.
White Mountains Rules, Rules and more Rules
Lake of Clouds Hut
Lake of Clouds Hut
Activation Details
Ultralight Multi-Day Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains
Mt Lafayette Ridgeline
Mt Lafayette Ridgeline
Date: Wednesday, August 7th, 2019
Time: 19:00z
Location: Mt Lafayette
This qualifies for both a SOTA summit (W1/HA-002) and a POTA activation (K-2653)
Mt. Lafayette sits at over 5,260 feet and is well known for the surrounding views. I have never activated this SOTA site (10 points!) but am excited to add it to the list of summits I have completed (last count 75 summits).
I will be operating both 2m VHF and HF (20/30m).
Date: Friday, August 9th, 2019
Time: 15:00z…see my spots for the up
Location: Presidential Traverse, NH
All of the following summits are Summits on the Air summits and qualify for Parks on the Air.
W1/HA-093 - Mount Adams / POTA K-4512 10 points
W1/HA-120 - Mount Jefferson / POTA K-4512 10 points
W1/HA-001 - Mount Washington / POTA K-2667 10 points
Mt Jefferson from last years SOTA activation
Mt Jefferson from last years SOTA activation
Traverse elevation and distance
Traverse elevation and distance
Sub 1 Kg of Radio Gear aka Superlight
Considering the elevation gain, I am stripping down my gear as much as possible to reduce weight. I managed to get the total radio weight to less than 1 Kg (1.93 lbs to be exact). Perhaps the lightest portable radio setup yet?
I plan on taking the following radio gear:
  • LNR Precision Mountain Topper (how aptly named) and a couple of 9V batteries
  • Packtenna end fed antenna with custom trap 20/30m element
  • VX2R with my hybrid hiking pole/Arrow antenna
  • Small collapsible mast
Hiking pole/Arrow Antenna hybrid setup
Hiking pole/Arrow Antenna hybrid setup
For my hiking gear I will be taking a abbreviated list of gear.
See full gear list and each category weight listing here.
Load out and final weight
Load out and final weight
SpotWalla Real Time Iridium Tracker aka Big Brother is Watching, lol!
SpotWalla Real Time Iridium Tracker aka Big Brother is Watching, lol!
I will have my InReach and as always you can follow me in real time and watch me climb up the summits.
I’m trying out a new InReach mapping service as I find the Garmin online map not very easy to use. The service is called SpotWalla. Check out this link for my recent tracks.
I will also try to update my Twitter account as the week goes on.
Tony V
My new #QRP 20m portable antenna from @PackTenna tunes up nice and works like a charm!! #HamRadio #KX2 #Elecraft #PackTenna #CQ
Who knew a sailor could sew? Starting my SUL Dyneema aka Cuben Fiber stuff sacks project for my SOTA activations #SOTA #SUL
Author of “Portable Operations for Amateur Radio” book now available in Kindle and paperback
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