Trip report

Carter Dome and Mt. Hight Winter Hike

Hiking/Walk DATE: 12/27/2014 - 12/27/2014

Trip/Event Location: Pinkham Notch, NH

Trip Leader(s): Gandalf , JDNnh

Max # People: 15

Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money

Difficulty Level: Strenuous

Experience winter hiking on a White Mountain 4,000 footer! Presidential views from the top of Mt. Hight.

Hike up beautiful Nineteen Mile Brook trail, take the Carter Dome Trail to Zeta Pass

Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:

Follow New Hampshire Route 16 north through Pinkham Notch. The trailhead parking area is on the right [east] side of the highway exactly 1.0 mile north of the entrance to the Mount Washington auto road.

Trip Report/Photos
Featured Photo

We took our first official winter climb this past Saturday up Mt Hight and Carter Dome, two 4,000 footers in the Carter Range. Both of these peaks are located just across Pinkham Notch from Mt Washington and we were treated to clear skis, unseasonably warm temperatures and stunning views all day!

Technically speaking, Mt Hight is not on the 4,000 footer list but is very worth climbing because it has some of the best views in the Whites. It is one of our favorite peaks, and we don’t go there often enough. Carter Dome which is on the 4,000 footer list, is virtually viewless, so the pair make a good combination.

The hike up to Mt Hight and Carter Dome was fairly long, with 10 miles of hiking and about 3,300 feet of elevation gain, requiring micro-spikes in both directions. We carried our snowshoes but never needed them. With so many blowdowns and sections of bare ground with running water, snowshoes would be on/off. The temperature was unseasonably warm, reaching 30 degrees in bright sunshine, causing soft snow. This trek had just enough spice to make it more than just a plain-vanilla hike.

We hiked up the 19 mile brook trail and the Carter Dome Trail to reach Zeta Pass before heading up Hight and Carter Dome on the Carter Moriah Trail. This latter section coincides with the Appalachian Trail. It was interesting to see the brook flowing due to the recent stretch of warm temperatures and rain providing beautiful cascades!

It’s a steep 0.6 miles to the summit of Hight from Zeta Pass. We popped above treeline and saw the 360 degree views that Hight is known for. There are just so many awesome views from Mt. Hight, check out our photos! I love the way that the Presidential Range and the summit of Mt. Hight seem to blend together into continuous unbroken landscape. I also love the view of the Carter Range from Mt. Hight. From here, you can actually see definite peaks along the ridge; whereas, from many locations, this part of the range has the appearance of an uninteresting ridge that is a more or less flat. The eastward view toward the Baldfaces and Pleasant Mountain in Maine is also a nice vista. Looking through binoculars, you could even see the faint cityscape of Portland, ME way off in the distance.

After lunch we snowshoed over to Carter Dome, just below treeline most of the way. At 4,832 ft of elevation, this is one of the highest peaks in the Whites, but its summit is flat and very boring. It was still exciting to climb it in winter.

By 2 pm, we continued on the Carter-Moriah trail for the steep descent down into Carter Notch, which after the viewpoint, we did a long butt slide down to the lake! We then followed the 19 mile brook trail back to our truck.

Snow melt is not normal this time of year but winter will return…surely. There is a lot of winter left and we are looking forward to more 4,000 footer hikes and people to hike them with, but one step at a time. One step at a time.

In summary . . . this was an excellent hike and a wonderful way start this winter season!

  There are 63 photos in Album (Note: Move mouse pointer over larger pic and click on NEXT for better viewing)

Members That Participated


Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Thornton, NH

United States

Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Thornton, NH

United States
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