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 Overnight Backpack to Mt. Crawford and Stairs Mountain 
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Flatfoot
Flatfoot

Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 9:37 pm
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 Overnight Backpack to Mt. Crawford and Stairs Mountain
Hello,

I am planning on doing an overnight backpack with my wife and daughter next weekend. I got some good feedback and suggestions as far as going to Mt. Crawford and then to Stairs Mountain where we will tent for the night and do it as an out and back. The designated tentsites at Stairs look amazing as well as plenty of legal stealth options just in case. My concern is the water availability. I`m definitely planning on and will bring enough for the first day to Mt. Crawford and then onto Stairs but are there any brooks or springs between Crawford and Stairs for the 2nd day. If not, is there anything a short detour under 1/4 mile while still remaining on trail for the 2nd day and return trip?

Also, I`ve seen some blogs highliting this trip and I see campfires at the tentsites and or ledges, are campfires permitted in that area. Are the trails for this trip in good shape and fairly navigable currently. Any feedback is appreciated. Thank you.

Kevin


Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:41 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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 Re: Overnight Backpack to Mt. Crawford and Stairs Mountain
I did an out and back to stairs last year. The trails were easy to follow to stairs. Going up to Crawford you just have to pay attention to blazes on the ledges. I did. It see any worthwhile water sources over to stairs so bring whatever you need up with you. (You are on top of a ridge after all) The campsites on stairs looked like a spectacular area to spend the night and watch the sun bask the area in the morning. And watch the sun set behind some hill at night. Really just a fantastic area.


Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:48 pm
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 Re: Overnight Backpack to Mt. Crawford and Stairs Mountain
I haven't been to the campsites so don't know if it's in the alpine zone/8 foot high or less tree area. Other than that I don't see any restrictions that would apply to it. Maybe give the ranger station a call if you are still unsure.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5363715.pdf


Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:22 am
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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 Re: Overnight Backpack to Mt. Crawford and Stairs Mountain
That ridge is notorious for being very spotty on it's available water for drinking. And this year has been quite a dry one. So for an added safety margin I would consider carrying more water than you will think you would need just in case. Better safe than sorry. :D

Brian


Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:22 am
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 Re: Overnight Backpack to Mt. Crawford and Stairs Mountain
The old Resolution Shelter site (now closed to camping) is the only water source I can think of in that area. It's a bit over 1/2-mile before Stairs (if coming over Crawford) iirc. Or maybe a little ways down the Stairs Col Trail you might find water, but that's probably pretty dry right now.

As far as campfires, the following is what I believe would apply to the Stairs campsites (not a treeline-applicable zone there to my memory):
Quote:
Additional regulations for the Presidential/Dry River and Pemigewasset Wilderness:
• No camping, wood or charcoal fires within 200 feet of any trail except at designated campsites

Just please don't be one of those groups that strips branches off trees or completely cuts them down (I've seen WAY too much of that around the Whites this summer...) in the area for your fire. Fallen brush on the ground, blowdowns, that's all fair game. Campfire carefully. The sites on Stairs are also fairly small, tucked into the trees, and I don't recall seeing established fire rings at them when I was there a few years ago (that may have changed). But enjoy, it looks like an awesome spot to spend the night!

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Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:36 am
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 Re: Overnight Backpack to Mt. Crawford and Stairs Mountain
So there are no "official" established campsites in the area? It's al stealth to one degree or another?

And yeah, most people probably realize it, but fresh cut trees and branches don't do much but smoke and smolder and harm the trees. The best wood is from broken branches that got snagged off the ground when they fell. Dry blowdown after that. Or bring in a Duraflame log for a modest sized 6 hour fire. :D


Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:00 am
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 Re: Overnight Backpack to Mt. Crawford and Stairs Mountain
Granite Guy wrote:
So there are no "official" established campsites in the area? It's al stealth to one degree or another?

And yeah, most people probably realize it, but fresh cut trees and branches don't do much but smoke and smolder and harm the trees. The best wood is from broken branches that got snagged off the ground when they fell. Dry blowdown after that. Or bring in a Duraflame log for a modest sized 6 hour fire. :D


No, the designated sites (with the little tent sign) are official established sites. I was just pointing out that you don't have to use the designated sites, just need to be 200ft off trail since it is a Wilderness Zone. And campfires aren't prohibited like they are in some Wilderness areas (such as the Great Gulf).

And yes, I agree about the fresh cut trees not burning well. That doesn't seem to stop people though. I think it was up near the summit of Carrigain last month where I saw a ton of 2" stumps on the ground near a camping area (which had a ring)...

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Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:16 am
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Flatfoot
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 Re: Overnight Backpack to Mt. Crawford and Stairs Mountain
Thanks everyone for the feedback..looking forward to it and definitely don't have to worry about us pulling down firewood. Looks like i'll be lugging water like a camel though..


Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:39 pm
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 Re: Overnight Backpack to Mt. Crawford and Stairs Mountain
Did that hike in June. Lots of water then lower down but lugged up a gallon each for the overnight on Stairs. Established sites, fire ring. Spectacular sunrise through the trees.

Plenty of dead and down in the woods that you can harmlessly scavenge

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Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:53 pm
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Flatfoot
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 Re: Overnight Backpack to Mt. Crawford and Stairs Mountain
Hello Everyone, I just wanted to let everyone who posted on my Mt. Crawford thrread know that I appreciated the feedback as always and that we had a great trip. We went up two weekends ago and the weather could not have been more perfect. As I mentioned my wife is not really in hiking shape at all and new to backpacking and this was the first time I took both her and my 9 year old daughter backpacking. I am a newbie myself having been on only 6 or 7 weekend trips in the Whites. We had a blast and really enjoyed Mt. Crawford. The views were incredible and we actually tent camped off trail pretty much right on the summit in an incredible spot. My wife being quite tired and late in the day, we skipped going to Stairs Mountain and just enjoyed the summit and camp site to ourselves.


Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:25 pm
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