Claws: Presidential Range

direct contact with the elements—during a boisterous, adventurous and supportive group trek over the highest peaks and ridges in New England

—a field environmental philosophy adventure that takes students above treeline for several days of elemental wilderness, hiking and “thinking outside”.

> COVID: The huts are open this summer, and everybody will follow the uptodate CDC COVID protocol. 

The goal of Claws programs is positive character transformation and it is achieved by pushing boundaries. Students assume and surmount challenges, gaining confidence and valuable self-awareness. New ideas and abilities are experienced, and new spaces—physical, conceptual and existential—are opened for the kind of personal growth that contributes to long term happiness.

Claws learn the biocultural history of the Presidential Range as they hike with a friendly, supportive and humorous group. They learn enough mountaineering skills so they can return to traverse the Presidentials again without guides.

We walk all the way from Madison to Eisenhower: days of above-treeline alpine exploration!

Hike the Presidentials and you can hike anywhere else in the world. Their ruggedness and drastic weather provide conditions perfect for training mountaineers. 

Claws Deep is designed for those who have some mountain-hiking experience, and are ready to move at a consistent moderate and sometimes quick pace through demanding terrain. If conditions permit, they will climb King’s Ravine to Madison hut, and the next day cross over Mt Washington’s peak on the way to Lakes hut. From Lakes, they hike to Crawford Notch.

Claws Classic is designed for those with some experience hiking difficult terrain plus the interest and determination to climb the highest mountains in New England. We’ll take the Howker Ridge or Airline trail up to Madison, then make our way to Lakes hut the next day, and Mizpah hut the next


1) Participants must be physically fit. This is a demanding marathon hike. We trek through challenging terrain exposed to the weather. It can hail on us, or be raining the entire time. Participants must want to exercise and push themselves.

2) Our group has 2 teachers, 1 ass’t teacher, 2 guides in training (all first responder certified) and 13-14 students. We form a team in the field. Everybody helps each other.

3) Meals Provided: Day 1: D | Day 2: B/D | Day 3: B/D | Day 4: B/D | Day 5: B
On the trail, participants provide their own food. It’s part of the fun.

4) Due to COVID, we will not be able to use the vans. Parents will punctually drop off at Barnes Field and pick up at Crawford Notch. 

Claws Student Supply List:

– sturdy hiking shoes – must be broken-in prior to trip

– 4 pairs non-cotton socks (we love Darn Tough + Smartwool)

– lightweight fleece jacket

– hat for sun protection

– 2 thermal, non-cotton shirts (one short-sleeve, one long-sleeve)

– 1 pair quick-dry shorts

– 1 pair thermal leggings

– medium size internal frame pack or daypack

– walking poles or sturdy & light walking stick

– good gore-tex raincoat + rain pants

– 2 one-liter water bottles 

– high-quality, high-energy trail food (dried fruit, nuts, clif bars, jerky, electrolytes)

– toiletries (medications, sunscreen, bug spray) 

– sleeping pad + 30ºF sleeping bag 


Claws Deep for More Experienced Hikers:
 – 07/08/2023, 3 nights, WED – SAT
Ages 12-16
Tuition: $720.00 

Claws Classic for Moderately Experienced Hikers:
07/17/2022 – 07/21/2022, 4 nights, MON – FRI
Ages 11-16
Tuition: $970.00 

Tuition includes van service from/to Sheldon Field and everything else except students’ personal gear and trail food. 


Day 1: Students will be dropped off at 4 pm at the Barnes Field Campground. Then we’ll tubeless-tube a bit of the Peabody River, get a big fire going, enjoy a bbq (carne and vegan) and by 9 fall asleep.

Day 2: At dawn we’ll wake up and walk the Peabody River watershed up into the windy heights on the saddle between the mountains of Adams and Madison. There, we’ll rest, feast and sleep at the AMC Madison Hut

Day 3: After a big breakfast we’ll walk the exposed alpine ridges from the top of Mount Adams to the top of Mount Washington, and spend the night at AMC’s Lake in the Clouds.

Day 4: After another big breakfast, we’ll stay above the trees for most of the day, hiking over Mt Eisenhower on our way to the AMC Mizpah Spring Hut, where we’ll dine and sleep.

Day 5: We’ll wake, breakfast, descend the heights, and at noon meet parents for pickup at Crawford Notch.

If you would like to learn more, please call 413.320.0522 and speak with Our Place director Kurt Heidinger, or send a note