Sunday, December 11, 2011

Carter Doom?

Considering that for this, our third attempt on Carter Dome, we hadn't hiked a peak in over 6 months and the weather forecast was borderline blizzard/ice storm, there was a good chance we might not be reaching the summit  of our 44th 4000fter.  But we were prepared with microspikes, snowshoes, down and synthetic jackets, I had a new pair of Garmont Momentum Mid GTX Winter Boots, and a free weekend.

We were at the 19 Mile Brook Trailhead at 7am Saturday morning. There was a light snow, the temps were in the mid 30s, and all the mountains were covered in thick clouds. But at least they weren't predicting a blizzard like the were April 1, 2011when we made our last attempt on Carter Dome. Nor was it 2 pm and 85 degrees, as it was when we attempted it in May 2010, after SD's pack broke.  We had to make an emergency pack purchase and change the itinerary.

I was a bit apprehensive. Not so much about the hike, I realized, as about the possibility of not making it on the 3rd attempt.  How do you keep trying to do the same thing over and over again without succeeding?

We broke trail through the snow until about half a mile from Zeta Pass when we passed by a guy doing both North Carter and Carter Dome.  It was about this time that the snow became heavier and started to build up so it was good to have someone in front. At Zeta Pass however, he went North, and we went South plowing through 6 inches of powder. Just not deep enough for the snowshoes. The wind picked up and the temperature was dropping, but that was offset by occasional glimpses of blue sky. Maybe it would clear up by the time we reached Carter Dome? Because at this point, one thing was clear, we were less that 1/2 mile from the summit, and this time we were going to make it!

And we did! Guess you can just keep trying until you get it right. You could tell the view would have been nice if we weren't in the low clouds. You could also tell that within half an hour it would be. But the wind was blowing, and with the temperature dropping it was too cold to hang around. We decided to head back via Mt. Height which by the time we were there had some awesome views along Carter Ridge to the North. Mt. Washington was still in the clouds Pinkham Notch spread out below.