Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Carter Dome, South Carter, Middle Carter, NH
Trails: Nineteen Mile Brook Trail, Carter Dome Trail, Carter-Moriah Trail, North Carter Trail, Imp Trail, Camp Dodge Cutoff, Route 16
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, April 13, 2019
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plenty of room at Nineteen Mile Brook at 8, but full in the afternoon (in part because people decided to start parallel parking in head on spots). 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow/Ice - Monorail (Stable), Snow - Wet/Sticky, Snow/Ice - Monorail (Unstable), Snow/Ice - Postholes, Snow/Ice - Small Patches 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: In the morning, the first Carter Dome Trail crossing was open but hoppable, while the second was snow bridged. In the afternoon, the minor crossing on Imp Trail just before the logging road cutoff was high and required stepping on submerged rocks. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Blowdowns on Carter Dome, Carter Moriah, North Carter, and Imp Trail. Many trail signs on the ridge are completely buried. I cut out some blowdowns and brush. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs: A few random ones flying around. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Black mitt about halfway down North Carter Trail; I hung it on a branch. 
Comments: Shoulder season is here. With the exception of the road walks and a short stretch on lower Imp Trail, I wore snowshoes all day and needed them.

Nineteen Mile Brook this morning was soft, but folks could boot up to the junction without much issue. 1-3 feet of snowpack with a few areas of narrow monorail forming alongside the brook.

Very little traffic on Carter Dome Trail up to Zeta. Soft, unpacked snow between the water crossings, with the track going off trail. Switchbacks are turning to monorail. Zeta Pass is loaded with snow, with some of the signs buried in the snowpack.

Extremely deep snow on the way up to Carter Dome, likely the deepest I've ever encountered on this stretch. Northern junction to head up to Hight had the top of the sign just barely visible (no tracks), while the southern junction and the Black Angel junction signs are buried without a trace (and the junctions aren't at all obvious unless you know where they are). Above there, the trail is mostly a cornice, meaning it's possibly 8-10 or more feet deep. Pretty neat walking up to the summit on a snow field. The cornice makes it look like the high point is north of the actual summit.

While I barely sunk in with my snowshoes on the way up to the Dome, the snow was already softening as I backtracked to Zeta Pass. Then I encountered the parasitic postholers. I can't imagine what they did at the cornice, considering how deep and soft that snow was.

Unfortunately some parasitic postholers had also headed to Middle Carter, absolutely trashing the trail in places. When I caught up to them, they looked tired and outmatched, as there was little evidence of the trail in places, resulting in them postholing up to their guts in places, all while wearing trail runners. The track deviates from the actual trail in many places, including blowdown patches. There is a short stretch of blue ice just before South Carter, no issue for snowshoes.

Fortunately, no one had been north of Middle Carter recently, and the last folks had worn snowshoes, so it was smooth sailing (apart from branches in the face). The North Carter Trail junction sign is buried without a trace; if I didn't know the terrain at the exact junction, I would have had no idea where it was.

The North Carter Trail is extremely brushy, and the saplings crisscrossing it are spruce traps waiting to happen (I only fell into one).

One set of snowshoe tracks on the Imp Trail (looks like they did the loop). Some waterbars opening up, and areas with running water under three feet of snowpack; thank gosh for snowshoes or else it would have been postholing into running water.

There was one stretch of bare trail, where the Imp Trail descends a southern facing slope as it approaches Cowboy Brook for the first time. As soon as it turns back north, there's full snowpack and the snowshoes went back on (the other person decided to posthole the rest of the way, sinking in shin to knee deep much of the way).

Camp Dodge Cutoff was the worst stretch of the day, as the snow was rotting, thus resulting in random snowshoe postholes (to go along with the old postholes and some moose postholes). Camp Dodge proper is plowed, so it was boots from there back to the parking lot.  
Name: rocket21 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2019-04-13 
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