Salty's Carter Dome Trip Reports


Hiking Dates


Date Climbed: 01/11/2011

Distance: 10.2 miles

Low Elevation: 1487 feet
High Elevation: 4832 feet
Elevation Gain: 3722 feet
Elevation Loss: 3722 feet

Start Location: Nineteen Mile Brook TH
Finish Location: Nineteen Mile Brook TH
Route: Nineteen Mile Brook Trail, Carter Dome Trail, Carter-Moriah Trail to Carter Dome, Carter Moriah Trail (over Hight), Carter Dome Trail, Nineteen Mile Brook Trail

Weather: Sunny, cold, little wind
Companions: (none)


Hikes put off due to weather or injury, passing on the Bonds. Must hike. Bluebird day forecasted. Must hike. Plan made for the Carters plus Hight. Must hike. Must stop speaking in incomplete sentences.

So I hiked and found things like pronouns and verbs. Got to the 19 Mile Brook trailhead at 8 AM after noting it was 3 degrees in Gorham, and despite that, quickly delayered, as the grades made for an quick trip. That and I felt pretty good. I made the junction with the Carter Dome Trail in 50 minutes, and started up that. Both trails were all hard-pack with a little ice, and spikes made for easy traveling with zero postholing. The Carter Dome Trail, while a little steeper, still made for fast travel. A glimpse of the Dome way above me was demoralizing. Stupid 4k peaks. By the time I neared the ridge, the elevation gain was hitting me, with still a thousand feet to go. Yay.

Here the Carter-Moriah Trail was drifted in a number of places, so I broke out the shoes, packing it down nicely, useless for no one but me given the copious snow today. Didn't see another soul all day.

Again, the grades were good, so I couldn't complain much, but the elevation ticked off slowly. Glimpses of the Presis teased me, and finally the summit came into view not too far ahead. Some nice views here and there, including what I thought was an interesting view of the Osceolas, and a nice shot up to the Moriahs and the AT peaks into Maine, all lined up.

I could see Hight with it's lovely looking summit rocks and knew this would be the gem of the day, as I had heard. So after enjoying the warm sun (and de-icing my camera) and what views I could, off I went. No trip is complete without a near-catastrophe, so the front of my shoe got stuck in a hidden hole in the trail, down I went, feeling like I almost twisted my ankle. A long ways from anything to be doing that. I went up the trail to Hight, pleased to see the AT hikers are sent up here. The trail hadn't been used for a while, but the breaking was minimal. I got to the summit just before noon, pleased that I still had so much time left. I lounged for about half an hour here, with gorgeous 360 degree views, and only a very light breeze. This peak rocks and is well-placed for some great views, which of course included the obligatory Presis shot as well as a nice little view of Tuckerman's.

Chocorua, peaks in the Great North Woods, Kilkenny Ridge, and lots of Maine peaks of course, including Saddleback all stood right out.

Finally, it was time to descend, which was frighteningly icy and steep. I went very carefully, thankful for the abundant firs to cling too and made my way back to Zeta Pass. Looking at the map and seeing another 700 feet just to get up to S. Carter, I knew my day was done. I could've done it, but I'd really be pushing myself, and after the trip and the ice, I didn't want to push my luck any further. I was down in about an hour, basically turning off the brakes, but, as with Most Things Salty, this turned out to be dumb. My toes were slamming into my boots, and my final injury was two blue toenails. Oh well, wouldn't be the first time they fell off...

So I'd have to rank Hight as one of the best peaks in the Whites, and overall, I loved the trails leading to it for easy traveling. I look forward to revisiting this one. Carter Dome marked #100 in my NH3k quest, so was happy to reach another milestone. Off to go shovel some more about 18 so far and still coming down hard. :(