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Wildcats, Carter Dome, South Carter
May 19-20, 2000

Route: Lost Pond Trail, Wildcat Ridge Trail,
19-Mile Brook Trail, Carter-Moriah Trail, 
Carter Dome Trail, 19-Mile Brook Trail
Map:
 
Elevation:
Wildcat D - 4062 ft
Wildcat C - 4298 ft
Wildcat B - 4380 ft
W
ildcat A - 4422 ft
Carter Notch Hut - 3300 ft
Carter Dome - 4832 ft

Mt Hight - 4675 ft
South Carter Mtn - 4430 ft
Vertical Climb: 5750 ft
Distance: 14.1 miles
Who Went: Paul (solo)

Day 1

I left home a little later than usual Ė about 5:30 AM Ė because I overslept. I drove up to Gorham, NH to meet a guy who runs a local shuttle service. I met him at his office in town and then followed him in my car to the Carter-Moriah Trailhead in Gorham. After parking my car there, he drove me to the Pinkham Notch Visitorís Center, where I was going to begin my hike. My plans were to stay overnight Friday at Carter Notch Hut, then Saturday at the Imp Shelter, then hike down to Gorham and my car on Sunday.

After stopping briefly at the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor's Center, I left on the Lost Pond Trail, which was directly across Rt 16. The weather was mostly sunny, with temperatures in the 40s.

The Lost Pond Trail is about a mile long, and connects the Visitorís Center with the Wildcat Ridge Trail, allowing you to avoid a difficult stream crossing. The trail was a little bit wet, and much rockier than I had expected.

I got to the Wildcat Ridge Trail in a half hour. After a brief stop, I started up the trail, which quickly became very steep. Soon, I reached the first of many ledges, where I got a good look Mt Washington, the Northern Presidentials, and Pinkham Notch.

After a while, the ledges became more numerous and the trail got even steeper. The guidebook had said that this was a steep trail and that you had to be careful in wet weather, but it didnít mention the one-foot wide ledge with a several hundred foot drop where you had to hold onto the smooth face of a boulder while wearing a heavy pack to keep from plunging down the mountain. Nor did it mention the narrow wooden pinned steps on the side of an almost vertical ledge, where the only real hold you had was to lean forward into the rock face and allow gravity to keep you from pitching over backward.  

Lost Pond Trailhead. This short trail starts opposite the Pinkham Notch lodge, skirts around the pond, and connects with the Wildcat Ridge Trail not far from its start, avoiding a difficult stream crossing.

Start of Lost Pond Trail.jpg (174512 bytes)

Mt Washington from the lowest ledge on the Wildcat Ridge Trail. Although this was a tough trail to climb with a heavy pack, the views were good almost from the start.

Washington from ledge on Wildcat Ridge Trail.jpg (149933 bytes)

Pinned steps on the Wildcat Ridge Trail. These steps take you up an almost vertical ledge, and are particularly difficult with a heavy pack.

ledges.jpg (67554 bytes)

Map

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