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 Breaking up the Bonds 
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:52 pm
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 Breaking up the Bonds
Has anyone ever broken up the Bonds into two hikes, one from the south starting at Lincoln Woods to Bondcliff, and the other from the north starting at Zealand Road to Bond and West Bond? Both hikes would be about 18 miles round-trip.

This is an initial, not-well-thought-out, crazy idea based on the fact that:

1. I have no backpacking experience or gear.
2. I feel I'd be too rushed on a one day traverse.

I'd welcome any suggestions. I need to get them for my NH48 this summer, and it's going to be a challenge no matter how I do it. :?

Thanks...


Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:46 pm
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Adept Ascender
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I'll bet you a cup of coffee that by the time Summer gets here, you'll be ready to do the Bonds in one trip. :wink:

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Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:55 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:52 pm
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Thanks for the vote of confidence! :)


Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:06 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Why would you feel rushed doing the traverse (19.5 miles) but not two separate 18 mile hikes? Maybe you're thinking of the winter traverse which adds the extra mileage of Zealand Road? I'm sure people have done it the way you describe... I mean, hey, it's two hiking trips to one of the most spectacular areas in the Whites. When I did my Bonds trip (overnight at Guyot) we bumped into someone just doing an out-and-back to Bondcliff for the day.

I would say if you're uncomfortable with camping then you could always hike into Zealand Hut, then do an out-and-back to all 3 Bonds (and Zealand) and either stay a second night at the hut or hike the last 3 miles out. That seems to be a fairly popular way to do the Bonds as well.

Don't get hung up on the mileage, the elevation gain is only 4500 feet for a N-S traverse (5300 feet in the other direction). A lot of that mileage is flat railroad grades or ridge-walking. Work your way up to it and you'll be fine.


Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:06 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:52 pm
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krpayer wrote:
Why would you feel rushed doing the traverse (19.5 miles) but not two separate 18 mile hikes? Maybe you're thinking of the winter traverse which adds the extra mileage of Zealand Road?

Yup. My mistake, that's what I was thinking.

krpayer wrote:
I would say if you're uncomfortable with camping then you could always hike into Zealand Hut, then do an out-and-back to all 3 Bonds (and Zealand) and either stay a second night at the hut or hike the last 3 miles out.

And that's another option I hadn't thought of. Thank you, that's why I am asking these questions. : /

I don't plan on waking up one morning and doing them, there will be some training and serious climbs in before I get there. My main thought was having enough time to enjoy them. I may be finishing my 48 there, and I really want to savor the experience.


Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:24 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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A few of us here did the traverse this winter, which as Kris said is close to 4 miles longer due to Zealand Road being closed. It took us just short of 14 hours, but we spent a solid 30 minutes at each of the 4 summits, longer at Bondcliff and a touch less at Zealand. Very enjoyable pace overall.

Once you get up to Zeacliff (if going N->S), you've done a third or so of the climbing for the day, and the rest are only a couple hundred feet at a time climbs. And a 5-mile easy hike out (well, easy as in flat, Lincoln Woods Trail is evil :D) It's actually not that bad honestly.

3 Bonds as a dayhike from Zealand hut is about 14 miles. And roughly the same elevation gain as the traverse due to the re-climb of Bond, Guyot, and Zealand. But definitely an option.

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Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:45 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

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Come to think of it, I've already done both ends, out to Zealand, and along the Lincoln Woods Trail en route to / back from Owl's Head. Now I just need to fill in the middle!

Thanks for the feedback folks, it helps!


Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:55 pm
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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madmattd wrote:
we spent a solid 30 minutes at each of the 4 summits, longer at Bondcliff and a touch less at Zealand


Sounds like about 28 minutes too long at Zealand if you ask me! :wink:

To the original question I have done them that way. Once was supposed to be out and back from LW but when we got to Bondcliff it was snowing and windy and we decided to turn back rather than go up the ridge to Bond and just save it for another time. It ended up being saved for last of the 48 on purpose but it was tough to hike all around it and avoid that draw. That trip leaves a lot to be desired as the real nice parts of the Bonds come after the summit, the approach trail has little of note and the LW trail isn't bad, but isn't good either. It just is, although the side trip to Franconia Falls is a nice add on to an otherwise boring section of trail.

The out and back route I've done twice from Zealand is probably my favorite hike in the Whites other than the Northern Presis. I always think it's the Franconia Ridge FW/OBP loop and then I remember this one. I've gone in from Zealand, up the Twinway out to the Bonds and then back to Zeacliff and down the Zeacliff trail into spectacular Zealand Notch and out. It's mindblowing scenic overload, although it's more leisurely and enjoyable as an overnight stay at Guyot. You get all the spectacularness of the Bonds plus Zealand Notch and sure you backtrack a bit but there's worse things than seeing all those views twice, in differnt light and headed in different directions. I don't look back much when I'm hiking so it's sort of new anyhow once you turn around. Do Zealand on one trip by and Zeacliff Pond on the other pass and it changes it up nicely. I'd rather do it that way than as a traverse out LW ten times out of ten.

I'd like to hit them coming in from the Twins sometime too and then back out. Seems like a it would be a pretty awesome way to go about it.


Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:14 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Except for going UP the Twinway from the hut, the Bonds are much faster than book time - good footing and gentle grades for the most part. I planned to do them as you mentioned, Bondcliff first, but was an hour+ ahead of schedule when I got there and so I made it a 22 mile day by using the 2+ hours to round-trip to West Bond. The other 5 times I've done the traverse. In summer, it takes 10-12 hours. In winter more like 12-14, even with the extra distance on Zealand Road...

Tim

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Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:21 pm
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What everybody else has said.

As a brief testimonial, not long ago I was in your position, assuming that I'd have to do something like that if I could ever get out there at all, poring over maps and distances and discouraged by how far away everything was. And I have no interest whatsoever in hauling a tent and sleeping in the woods.

Last Fall I felt in great shape, found a good day, got up early, and hiked. I figured for sure I could hit at least Bond and W Bond, and left Bondcliff for a game-time decision. It's a long walk, no doubt, but it really wasn't bad. Hit all three and didn't have much daylight to spare (had a light, of course), but just a great long day in the mountains. My legs really felt better at the end of the day then a trip to the N Presis.

So what everybody else says. Work up to it, increase your miles and elevation gain, do it in a time of year where the days are long, start early, and if you need to do the first and/or last half hour or so by headlamp, so be it (not a major expense like backpacking gear would be, I got mine for like $15 at Wal-Mart). It's a big hike, but don't say uncle before you're beaten. She ain't so scary.


Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:07 pm
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Peak Bagger
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Check out the white mountain guide online if you haven't already. https://www.wmgonline.org/login/index.cfm

There is a custom route option on the map and I like to compare my ideas on that. It's pretty useful.

You can always rent gear at EMS or another store if you don't plan on doing a ton of backpacking and don't want to splurge on a particular piece of gear. Doing it as an overnight is really nice. Guyot is a beautiful location to camp. I did this traverse last summer and hiked Hale and Zealand, set up camp at Guyot, bagged the Bonds in rain and hail :lol:, and did the twins on day two. It was an awesome trip!

I'm glad you're thinking about doing it all together. It is an amazing adventure.

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Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:40 am
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Using http://home.earthlink.net/~ellozy/bondrts.html for dist/elev/time:

Traverse, Zealand Road to Lincoln Woods 19.5 3,700 11:35

My best time was 10:00

Round trip from Lincoln Woods 23.0 4,500 13:45

My best time was 10:45

Tim

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Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:06 am
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Unless you only want Bondcliff, round trip from Lincoln Woods has got to be the worst option. 22 of that 23 miles is pretty blah.

Out and Back from Zealand on the other hand is awesome from the time you leave your car. I've never kept track of my times on a hike so Ill guess its a bit longer, but worth it.


Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:12 am
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I've been posed with this problem for a couple years now for getting my fiancee' through the ZeaBonds. Not a very strong hiker and doesn't deal well with a very heavy pack. I've looked scenarios and I believe the easiest for her will be a north to south traverse. Maybe we can help each other with a car spot if the timing works out.

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Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:16 am
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Mountain Maestro
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I was part of Matt's group that did it in early March this year (North to South). I was in the same boat as you...very concerned with the distance. :D


There are a few spots on the hike where I was in rough shape. Just past the hut up to Zealand and then climbing back to the ridge after W.Bond. But once we got to Bond summit, the scenery took over and it didn't matter how far we came. Easily my favorite hike so far! Plan for the long day, it's very much do-able in one shot.


Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:21 am
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