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 Wildcats & Carters 
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Flatfoot
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Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:42 pm
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Location: Portsmouth NH
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 Wildcats & Carters
Planning a trip to get both Wildcats and the 3 Carters for early August. Tentative plan right now is to take Wildcat Ridge Trail from the Glen Ellis Falls area up to the 'cats. Then down to Carter Notch Hut for a quick rest and to refill water. From there we go up Carter-Moriah Trail to Carter Dome, South Carter and finally Middle Carter. A couple mile descent down the Imp Trail rounds out our route.

Anybody have any thoughts or words of wisdom on this hike? Book time reads as about 10.5 hours, so I'm hoping the full trip is no more than 11.5 with stops and such.

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Josh
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Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:54 pm
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 Re: Wildcats & Carters
From Glen Ellis is steep but then again this was winter. I'm assuming you're doing this in one hike without an overnight stay.
It will be a long day with lots of ups and downs but doable if you're familiar with the Whites and know what the trails are like.
Totally agree about the refill at the hut. I can't think of anything except 19 mile brook

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Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:02 pm
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 Re: Wildcats & Carters
I did this in the opposite direction as a 2 day trip (staying at the hut during self-service season). We ran out of water on the descent from Carter Dome into the Notch. Mt. Hight should not be missed if you can take the extra climb... best views on the ridge.


Tue Jul 14, 2015 5:00 pm
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 Re: Wildcats & Carters
I tend to be slow, so we did this as a splurge and stayed at the hut. Up 19 Mile Brook, left on Carter Dome to the Carter-Moriah Trail. Then we back-tracked to Carter Dome and descended to the hut, where we stayed over. Next morning we went up Wildcat Ridge Trail until we got to "D", where we descended the Polecat back to our car (3 mile road walk). That's what you do when you are short and slow. If you don't mind the backtracking, it is one way of doing it (and not necessary to overnight it, like we did). I like your idea, my daughter would enjoy that Wildcat E climb and Imp is another place I'd like to check out. Have fun and keep us posted!


Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:09 pm
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Flatfoot
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 Re: Wildcats & Carters
We have a couple of slow hikers going with us on this one, and I'm not all that fast myself. I usually hike right around "book time" on most trips. We adjusted our route a little bit to help save some time and will try coming down the south leg of the Imp Trail instead of the north. It seems less steep and I think will help us move a little quicker on the descent. Right now I'm figuring it will be about a 12 hour hike so I think we'll end up getting started about 6:30 or 7 AM.

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Josh
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Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:38 am
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 Re: Wildcats & Carters
I haven't even done that section of trail from Carter Notch hut to Carter Dome, but it's supposed to be very steep. I have done Wildcat Ridge starting from Glen Ellis, and that is also very steep. My one piece of advice is that I think you can throw book time out the window on this trip. I've found it really doesn't work well for these extra-steep trails, unless you're the kind of hiker who seems to go as fast uphill as on flat land (I know a couple of people like this!).

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Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:16 pm
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 Re: Wildcats & Carters
Slow but steady hikers? They might be fine plodding along. If they're just generally slow however (without knowing everyone's abilities) I'd bet this is going to be a very tough hike for them. The ups from Glen Ellis and out of Carter notch are both very steep, rough and prolonged. The first section up to the ridge is fun with some exposed ledges but otherwise this one lacks in the motivational views other than Mount Hight and a handful of viewpoints and might well drag on and on in the summer heat for the slowpokes. Good news is they could bail out after the Cats and still get in a good hike and 2 AMC summits. Everyone likes different stuff on their hikes but if you ask me to say this range is anything more than meh (Mt. Hight excepted) is trying to make chicken salad out of chicken s**t. :D


Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:20 pm
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Flatfoot
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 Re: Wildcats & Carters
We're all trying to get the 48, so its a great opportunity to get 5 in one shot. I would definitely consider it slow but steady, even a little quicker on the flats and descent. We're generally slower than book time on the way up but quicker along the ridges. Most of the group has only tackled some of the smaller 4k's so far, so the views are secondary to checking them off the list at this point.

Bailing after the 'Cats or even after Carter Dome is definitely on the radar if it proves too difficult to make decent time or if the steep climbs take too much out of the group.

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Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:43 pm
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 Re: Wildcats & Carters
I did a similar but shorter hike a few years ago - up Wildcat Ridge Trail from Pinkham Notch, down to the hut, up Carter-Moriah Trail to Carter Dome, then down Carter Dome Trail and 19-Mile Brook Trail. In other words, the same hike you are thinking of, but bailing out (although this was our plan all along) after Carter Dome. Much to my regret, we skipped Mt Hight. That was a pretty long hike - my records say 11.4 miles with 4700' of gain. Climbing up to Carter Dome was tough after dealing with the WRT and the descent into the notch. I think your route adds about 3.3 miles and 1100 feet of gain. I'm not sure I would have wanted to add that to the end of our hike, but you might have more stamina than me. If you do bail out after Carter Dome, you still get three summits. We did South and Middle Carter and Moriah later on an overnight trip.


Tue Jul 21, 2015 8:02 pm
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Flatfoot
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Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:42 pm
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 Re: Wildcats & Carters
Most of us are pretty active (distance running, biking, other hikes), and the shortest hike I've taken this year was 11.7 miles, but no where near the elevation gain of this one. It's going to be a push for sure, and we're looking forward to the challenge. I'll keep the board updated as we get closer and afterwards I'll post my .gpx tracks if I can figure out how.

:beer: cheers and hope everybody has a safe weekend!

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Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:20 am
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 Re: Wildcats & Carters
I just saw this post, and I have done this exact hike... all mostly in the rain. I do have a couple things to offer.

This was my first backpacking trip in the Whites. I had done Washington, the Lafayette Ridge, then decided to accompany some friends section hiking the AT on this hike. I didn't know anything, so I showed up with a 65 pound pack containing 4 liters of water.

We cheated, took the ski lift to the top of the mountain where we dropped our packs, and took the ski left back down. We hiked the ridiculously steep part without the giant packs. There was one particular step on a ledge going up where I was VERY glad to not have a pack.

Going up to Carter Dome is steep, but I'm sure you've done much worse in the Whites. It's not the steepness, it's the relentlessness of it. But nothing out of the ordinary (nothing like coming off of North Carter).

LIke Kris said, DO NOT MISS MT HIGHT!
Zeta pass is pretty cool too.

Coming off of N Carter offered amazing views of Moriah. It's very steep. We had to drop pack, and leapfrog for a while. I remember be-bopping along the ridge, get to the summit of N Carter and start looking for the trail. I stepped to the edge of the ledge, and looked straight down. "Oh. There it is".

It was a great hike, but really pushed me to my limits as a total novice amateur who had only day-hiked prior to that. Were I to do it today, I'd have about half as much weight, and boots that didn't come from Wally world.

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Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:57 am
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 Re: Wildcats & Carters
A good hike plan!

One piece of advice: people often underestimate the difficulty of the constant ups and downs on the Carter-Wildcat Ridge. Plan on it being more of a workout than the equivalent mileage on the Franconia Ridge. It is.

Some good advice here already - this is not the hike for people who have issues with steep climbs (not scary, deadly steep, but standard White Mountain straight to the top hiking).

Otherwise, they are just miles. Enjoy.


Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:11 am
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Flatfoot
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 Re: Wildcats & Carters
A friend and I are considering a Wildcat-Carter-Moriah traverse with an tented overnight (i.e. full packs). I'm looking for some feedback.

We're considering ascending Wildcat D from Pinkham and heading south to north along the wildcat trail, to Carter Notch, then making our way over to the Imp campsite for overnight camping before continuing the trek out to rt. 2 along the AT.

Given the forecast, definite rain all weekend, I have concerns about the descent from Wildcat to Carter Notch, which looks pretty steep. We've considered skipping the Wildcat part of it and taking 19-Mile trail to Carter Notch to ascend Carter Dome and continue north to Imp Campsite as an alternative.

Also, the point of this trip (aside from standard greatness of any hike) is to observe the fall foliage in the range and across to Mt. Washington and Presidentials. With rainy weather, I fear the Presis wont be visible. On the other hand, I've always heard fall colors are more visible and appear better under cloudy grey skies.

Any thoughts on this trip plan?


Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:19 am
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 Re: Wildcats & Carters
Unless things have changed dramatically in the past week. There may not be any foliage to view. Save your trip for a better forecast IMO.


Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:13 am
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 Re: Wildcats & Carters
I too say don't waste your time. Foliage is way late this year so if that's the main reason I'd hold off. Check the webcams on MWOBS or this one to preview before you go if you're only getting in one trip. Foliage does seem to pop in bright grey light however. No shadows of highlights so it all shows up in pics.

http://www.hazecam.net/camsite.aspx?site=mtwash

As for the trails themselves, yes Wildcat Ridge from E peak to 16 would be highly un-reccomended in rain. Lots of steep rocks and ledges, as well as a river crossing at the very end, and if we get 3-4 inches tomorrow and more this weekend you should bring a barrel for when it sweeps you over Glen Ellis Falls! :D


Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:37 am
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