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About


South Carter Mountain, Middle Carter Mountain, Carter Dome
Green's Grant, NH, Bean's Purchase, NH

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Blowing snow on the Carter-Moriah Trail on the way to South Carter
Blowing snow on the Carter-Moriah Trail on the way to South Carter

Route: Nineteen Mile Trail, Carter Dome Trail, Carter-Moriah Trail, (South Carter Mountain), Carter-Moriah Trail, (Middle Carter Mountain), Carter-Moriah Trail, (South Carter Mountain), Carter-Moriah Trail, Carter Dome Trail, Carter-Moriah Trail, (Carter Dome), Carter-Moriah Trail, Carter Dome Trail, Nineteen Mile Trail

Despite the moderate snow forecast, it seemed like a decent day to do some hiking in the Carters. Arriving at the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail trailhead, there was a good 3+ inches of snow on the ground. Though the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail was fairly well packed, I elected to don my snowshoes.

Upon reaching the Carter Dome Trail, I could see I'd be doing at least some trail breaking. At first, I was simply packing down about 3" of powder. Then, a big gust of wind came and, once it had passed, the footbed was covered in half a foot of powder. Reaching Zeta Pass, I could see the Carter-Moriah Trail was fairly windblown. Though someone had been through recently, their tracks were all but gone. On average, I was breaking through about a foot or two of snow up to South Carter. Though signless at this point, I found the summit fairly easily from memory - just north of a somewhat steep section of trail, a few feet to the left (heading northbound). No views during this snowstorm, but apparently there is a nice view ledge a short bushwhack from it.

My next stop was Middle Carter. Having never hiked this section of the Carter Moriah Trail, and having very little to go off in terms of blazes and a footbed, it was going to be interesting. On a nice day, it seems like it's probably an absolutely beautiful stretch of trail, generally gradually pitched (with a few short, steep dips), with numerous trailside viewpoints and ledges. In sideways blowing snow, however, it wasn't particularly fun.

With the summit sign removed and without previous knowledge of the trail, I was slightly concerned about not reaching the true summit. At one point, I seemed to be at a highpoint of some sort of knob, but didn't recognize my surroundings and thus continued on. After a few minutes and a lot more wind and snow, I arrived at the summit, and continued down the trail slightly beyond it, just to make sure (I had ascended in snow via the north previously, so I instantly recognized it).

Having broken trail pretty much the whole way to Middle Carter, I figured that at least some trace of it would remain. Barely. Pretty much all of the snowdrifts had reformed in only a matter of minutes. It was a similar scenario venturing back down from South Carter to Zeta Pass.

Back at Zeta Pass, I decided to regroup, swap out my base layer shirt, and get some additional layers on. Unfortunately, coming off South Carter, I started to get somewhat cold. Not wanting to stop in the wind, I had made the decision to get to Zeta. My hands became quite cold as I rummaged through my stuff, and, after waiting around a bit to see if I could warm them up reasonably, I decided to call it a day.

Also, for the first time, I decided to try handwarmers. At first, I was very let down by them, as they seemed to take forever to warm up and even with that, didn't seem to do much. As I descended, however, they started working decently and I knew I had my hands back. With that, I turned around, headed back up to Zeta Pass, made some final preparations, and then started my way up the Carter Dome Trail.

At first, the trailbreaking wasn't too bad - about a foot of powder. As I climbed, things became deeper. Though the trail is very gradual from Zeta Pass, I nonetheless creeped up it at a one mile per hour pace, as by the time I reached the summit, I was breaking through 2-3' of somewhat windblown powder. Unlike South and Middle Carter, Carter Dome was pretty much windfree. Like South and Middle Carter today, however, there were no views.

Wanting to get back in some sort of daylight, I called it a day and returned via the Carter Dome Trail. As I descended, the clouds started to lift and views through the trees started to open up. The portion of trail below Zeta Pass essentially needed to be broken out yet again, as there was a good half a foot or so of fresh powder. The Nineteen Mile Brook Trail, however, was thankfully packed.


Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Easy
Destination: South Carter Mountain
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Moderate
Views: Minimal
Crowds: Minimal
Destination: Middle Carter Mountain
Length: Difficult
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Moderate
Views: Minimal (due to weather)
Crowds: Minimal
Destination: Carter Dome
Length: Difficult
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Easy
Views: Minimal (due to weather)
Crowds: Minimal


Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Sunday, January 18, 2009
Hike Commenced: 8:09 AM
Parking Elevation: 1,485'
Destination: South Carter Mountain
Ascent Commenced: 8:09 AM
Summit Reached: 10:36 AM
Time Elapsed: 02:27
Trailhead Elevation: 1,485'
Summit Elevation: 4,430'
Vertical Gain: 3,015'
Destination: Middle Carter Mountain
Ascent Commenced: 10:38 AM
Summit Reached: 11:33 AM
Time Elapsed: 00:55
Trailhead Elevation: 4,430'
Summit Elevation: 4,610'
Vertical Gain: 595'
Destination: Carter Dome
Ascent Commenced: 11:33 AM
Summit Reached: 2:51 PM
Time Elapsed: 03:18
Trailhead Elevation: 4,675'
Summit Elevation: 4,832'
Vertical Gain: 1,347'
Hike Ended: 5:03 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 08:54
Hike Vertical Gain: 5,002'


The Nineteen Mile Brook Trail trailhead on Route 16
The Nineteen Mile Brook Trail trailhead on Route 16

Usually not much to see from South Carter - especially the case in a snow storm! - Click to enlarge
Usually not much to see from South Carter - especially the case in a snow storm!

The windblown Carter-Moriah Trail between South and Middle Carter
The windblown Carter-Moriah Trail between South and Middle Carter

Looking into the clouds from near the Middle Carter summit - Click to enlarge
Looking into the clouds from near the Middle Carter summit

The unbroken Carter Dome Trail
The unbroken Carter Dome Trail

Looking into the clouds from near the Carter Dome summit - Click to enlarge
Looking into the clouds from near the Carter Dome summit

Topographic map of South Carter Mountain, Middle Carter Mountain, Carter Dome - Click to enlarge


Directions to trailhead: Take Route 16 North past the Mt. Washington Auto Road entrance. Shortly thereafter, the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail WMNF fee parking area and trailhead are on the right side of the road, immediately after the brook.

Back to South Carter Mountain Profile
Back to Middle Carter Mountain Profile
Back to Carter Dome Profile




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