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Ascent of Carr Mountain on 2013-02-23

Climber: Kevin Klasman

Others in Party:Eric Olsen
Date:Saturday, February 23, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Carr Mountain
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:3453 ft / 1052 m

Ascent Trip Report

The trailhead parking lot was empty when we arrived at 9am, other than a pickup with a dog sled on the top but neither the driver nor dogs were around.

The route begins with a half a mile on the Three Ponds Trail, a groomed snowmobile trail, which made for easy going. Given the lack of recent trail reports for Carr Mountain, we thought it was likely we'd be breaking trail once we turned onto Carr Mountain Trail and turned out to be the case. From there on we were breaking trail through soft snow the entire way. Even with snowshoes we were sinking 6-8 inches with each step. We could have used a couple more companions to share the trail breaking...it was quite tiring with just the two of us.

This was our first time on this trail so we did not know what to expect. The trail appears rather wide on its lower stretches (and old woods road according to the guide book), but seemed to have a trough down the middle, which held deeper, softer snow. We tried to stay on the edges with shallower snow and firmer footing. Lots of water bars or small brook crossings were a bit tricky to cross, trying to avoid dropping down into deep depressions with rather steep sides. We followed some animal tracks which seemed to point out the easiest path.

As we dropped down to Sucker Brook (the only water crossing on the route) Eric remarked that coming back up on the return was not going to be fun. The crossing was easy, although Eric broke through a layer of ice on his first step, but we found the rest of the crossing uneventful.

Two big blow downs blocked the trail in the next hour after crossing the brook. Care must be taken when working around them with deep snow covering a tangle of downed branches.

Higher up the trail gets steeper, and in some places following the trail became difficult due to a lack of blazes...I didn't want to climb up a steep pitch if it was off trail. But the trail was always there, thankfully. Wet snow had been falling for a while now and staying dry became a challenge.

The final climb to the summit ridge seemed to go on forever. Several times we considered turning back, but kept going because the summit seemed to be so close. But each tenth of a mile, in steep terrain and deep, unbroken snow seemed much longer than it really was. I was feeling stronger and made a strong push for the summit while Eric continued at his own pace (being less consumed by summit fever than I). I was looking for the trail sign that I hoped would be there, pointing the way to the summit side trail, and several times I was sure I saw it, only to find it was just snow on a tree that made the illusion of a trail sign when viewed from a distance with a large dose of wishful thinking.

Finally I reached the sign indicating the divide between the east and west branches of the trail. An obvious but unmarked trail led left to the summit where I found the remains of an old lookout tower, and predictably no views on this snowy day. I took a few moments to shoot some video and self-portraits then headed back down.

I met Eric a few minutes after leaving the summit. He said he'd gone as far as he wanted too, so we took a short lunch break before beginning our descent. I put on my puffy and shell to try to stay warm. We were 4 hours and 50 minutes into the outing. Eric thought we could be back at the car in 2 hours, but it took nearly 3. We took short breaks every hour on the way down. Enough snow had fallen in the interim to begin to fill in our tracks, so it was still work going down. But I'll take descending on snow instead of a rocky trail any day. Between the wet snow and my reluctance to shed any layers, I was pretty wet by the time we finished. While I stayed warm, despite our ever-slowing pace, I would have had trouble staying that way if I had been injured and unable to continue. My shell was soaked through as was the puffy shell underneath. I need to pay more attention to heat management to avoid sweating (difficult when you generate as much heat as I do when active), and possibly buy a new shell.

We arrived back at the car seven hours and forty-five minutes after we started at around 5pm. We had a half an hour left of daylight, and with the storm now changing to mixed precipitation it would be very dark very soon. The parking lot was full of cars now, but we hadn’t seen another person the entire day, other than a few snowmobilers at the very beginning. After loading our gear into the jeep, changing into dry clothes and brushing snow off of the jeep, we were happy to start the drive home.

Totals for the day: 7.28 miles, 2,522 elevation gain as recorded on my Garmin Oregon 450t GPS (with barometric altimeter).
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2522 ft / 767 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2522 ft / 767 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.3 mi / 11.7 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Snowing, Cold, Calm, Low Clouds
Snow began part way up, switched to mixed precip by end.
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2372 ft / 722 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2143 ft / 653 m; Extra: 229 ft / 69m
    Loss on way in:229 ft / 69 m
    Distance:3.6 mi / 5.9 km
    Start Trailhead:Three Ponds Trail parking lot  1310 ft / 399 m
    Time:4 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2293 ft / 698 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2143 ft / 653 m; Extra: 150 ft / 45m
    Gain on way out:150 ft / 45 m
    Distance:3.6 mi / 5.9 km
    End Trailhead:Three Ponds Trail parking lot  1310 ft / 399 m
    Time:3 Hours 10 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Kevin Klasman
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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