PDA

View Full Version : Mt. Carrigain winter hike (camp?)



corey.mcentyre
02-26-2009, 07:16 PM
I have a long window of opportunity to select a good day(s) to do some hikes in the Whites. I've read that Carrigain has some spectacular views, but getting there is difficult. I even found one old TR that said the trail was very poorly marked. Can someone give me some feedback on whether a winter hike up Carrigain is currently well marked and if it would be a good idea to cut it into a 2 day trip?

Pictures, advice, ideas on alternatives all welcome. Thanks!

JimS
02-26-2009, 07:23 PM
Not Been...but Kevin is hiking it this weekend...

There is a tower at the top that you can sleep on...

KD Talbot
02-26-2009, 07:51 PM
Corey, I don't know where you read that, but to my recollection the trail is well marked. In winter it's a 14 mile hike. The first 2 miles along the Sawyer River Rd. are easy. On the way out it's easier because it's downhill.

Remember this: if the first brook crossing is questionable on the Signal Ridge Trail, retrace your steps to the road, cross the brook on the bridge, then bushwhack the 1/4 mile or so along the west bank of the brook until you reach the trail again.

The snow is deep now, but hopefully the whole trip will be packed out by this weekend, though more snow is predicted for Sunday. When are you planning this trip?

Camping on the tower is an option, but I'm sure the wind would make it extremely noisy. I wouldn't think of attempting this without a winter tent and a minus 20 bag and a stove. There are excellent places to camp just west of the trail about a 1/4 mile below the summit.

The summit views are spectacular. One of my favorites in the Whites. Better than many because you can stand on the tower and take in all 360 unobstructed without moving around much. The view across Carrigain Notch to Mount Lowell's cliffs is worth the trip in itself.

KDT

corey.mcentyre
02-26-2009, 10:03 PM
Not Been...but Kevin is hiking it this weekend...

There is a tower at the top that you can sleep on...

I would be interested in hearing about the trip. As well as any tips on an overnight if that is what he is doing. I will be going based on weather reports where I can be fairly certain to get one out of two days in the clear.

corey.mcentyre
02-26-2009, 10:28 PM
Corey, I don't know where you read that, but to my recollection the trail is well marked. In winter it's a 14 mile hike. When are you planning this trip?

I wouldn't think of attempting this without a winter tent and a minus 20 bag and a stove. There are excellent places to camp just west of the trail about a 1/4 mile below the summit.


KDT .. Thank you.

It was an old report. I did a search for "carrigain winter summit" and read a lot of reports. One spoke about confusion over an old logging trail. I think it was dated 2004 so its probably been resolved.

The 14 is why I was asking about an overnight. I'd rather do 7 & 7, espcially if I have to go through snow. ;-) I do have snowshoes, double boots, and hope to own some crampons soon.

The plan is to wait until I have a great day or two very good ones. I have about a 3 week timeframe where I will be up north (this weekend thru near EOM). So, I'll be watching the weather.

I really appreciate the tip on the bag as I was thinking of using a Phantom which is only a 0 (could I still do that if I kept a layer or two on?). I don't own a winter tent - but may rent one from EMS or IME. If I did buy, does anyone have experience or opinions on the Sierra Designs Assailant 1?

I would probably try to camp at your suggested location below summit. Could a 3-season work there if dug down into the snow and was located in the trees? Is the primary tent concern wind?

mtruman
02-26-2009, 10:42 PM
Not sure about all of the outer trails but everything surrounding the lodge to the summits of both Cardigan and Firescrew are very well marked. We avoided going over the top when we were there in January due to lack of appropriate traction but the views from the ledges below both summits are awesome. I'm sure it would have been even better from the top. My TR from the January trip is here: http://www.mountwashington.org/forums/showthread.php?t=4500

However you decide to hike it I'm sure you'll have a great time.

Brad
02-27-2009, 04:30 AM
If you have not noticed

1. Corey is going north again

2. Corey is hitching a ride again with Brad

3. Corey has a "3 week opportunity" to go play in the snow.

KD Talbot
02-27-2009, 04:08 PM
1) Hey Mark! Check your reading glasses. He wants to do Carrigain, not Cardigan! :D

2) I want to add to my last post. Finding one's way in winter can always be troublesome on an unbroken trail. The snow covered trees can hide blazes and sometimes the snow is so deep the blazes are at ankle level or below the snow. When the snow is that deep you are walking through tree branches which are normally overhead. It may seem like you are off trail, which you could easily be.

3) One of the best things to do is watch the trail conditions at VFTT so that you know if the trail is broken or not.

4) What is essential in a winter tent is ventilation. Humidity needs to escape or it will soak the tent and everything in it. Then, when the humidity maker, you, gets out, it will flash freeze making it impossible to re-pack. I wouldn't camp in anything but a winter tent. I also wouldn't take equipment I wasn't familiar with on a winter overnight. I would purchase one, (or rent one) and set it up in Brad's back yard and sleep in it so I was familiar with it's set up and breakdown and what to expect from it in general. 7 miles from my car in sub zero temps is no place to be getting familiar with new equipment.

5) I would not go with anything less than a -20 bag. Others may have more insight than me.

KDT

Toots
02-27-2009, 04:16 PM
The Sierra Designs Assailant 1 is one person assault style tent. Personally I was not impressed. It is highly breathable but bulky, weighs 3 1/2 pounds and you cant sit up. At that price point and style I prefer a winter bivy or a tent like the One Shot by Black Diamond. It's tech a 3+ season tent but will handle anything short of a lot of wet snow. As for a zero Phantom, you should be fine with a layer on. Everyone is different, but zero bags are the norm for even Himal treks as long as you are in a tent or bivy

mtruman
02-27-2009, 05:41 PM
1) Hey Mark! Check your reading glasses. He wants to do Carrigain, not Cardigan! :D
KDT

Wow, my eyes are worse than I thought.:o

Seemed strange that there would have been comments about poorly marked trails. I think the discussion of the tower is what kept me off track. Now why did they have to go putting those on two mountains with such similar names...

At any rate, I'm jealous of Corey's potential exploits during his extended (according to Brad) northern stay...

BlueDog
02-27-2009, 07:52 PM
If you have not noticed

1. Corey is going north again

2. Corey is hitching a ride again with Brad

3. Corey has a "3 week opportunity" to go play in the snow.

4. We're gonna blow right through VA hope BlueDog doesn't catch us.

Brad's 'original' post ^^^^

:p

Bill O
02-27-2009, 08:13 PM
Cardigan? No, it's a pullover, but thanks for noticing.

JimS
02-27-2009, 08:43 PM
Wow, my eyes are worse than I thought.:o

Now why did they have to go putting those on two mountains with such similar names...



While these two mountains are close in name, think about all the duplicate mountains we have in this state. Whitefaces, owls heads, kearsarges, and a whole range of Wildcats. A Black Cap, a Black Snout, a Black Snoot, and a few Black Mountains. A Big Ball Mountain, a Little Ball Mountain. A Ragged you can ski and hike, another you can only hike, and another you can shop at!

Really, there just need to be more names in this world!

mrohssler
02-27-2009, 08:48 PM
I have the Assailant 1 which I have used for many overnights high in the Whites. I have been very happy with it. It is heavier than a bivy but is excellent protection and affords a little more room than a Bivy. I also have two footprints. One for under and one I put mirrored to act as a porch and pack cover Works great. As for the sleeping bag. I would go with at least a -20 synthetic. The Whites are humid even in the cold and it will stay insulated even with moisture. The extra -20 degres will make it feel like down but will be more reliable.

Brad
02-28-2009, 08:35 AM
One can not believe everything they read on the Internet - especially in this thread from BlueDog. My words seems to have been altered - as we raced by northern VA. Our timing got us to Hartford for Friday evening rush hour with rain starting. I-84 was stopped as was I-91 north. So, not knowing what I-495 would be like, we headed north and went east across NH on route 4. Roads were fine but it was a long day even without a stop to put BlueDog on the roof.

KD Talbot
03-01-2009, 08:51 PM
After yesterday's hike I've been thinking about this more. I don't know what your backpacking experience is. I know you're young and strong. I've done 7 mile backpacks. They hurt. We did Isolation a few years ago. No where near as much elevation gain. Carrigain is 3800', most of it coming in the last 2 miles. I know I wouldn't enjoy packing up this. Maybe camping below would be a better option, then summit in the morning? Whatever you do, good luck and enjoy!

KDT

corey.mcentyre
03-02-2009, 08:10 AM
As of now, its on hold. I needed my tax refund to arrive so I could purchase a good bag, tent, and crampons and it has been delayed (I think the Fed's are receiving a larger then normal early electronic filing season due to our current economic woes - and they can't keep up). I may do a day hike up Madison (Valley Way to hut to Osgood) in the meantime.

I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I'm not sure I qualify as young or strong. ;-) I know I can do a 5 mile hike with a big pack .. I'm pretty sure I can add the 2 miles of flat. But, I'm positive I cannot do 14 with the big pack. It looks like a great adventure (I enjoyed the pics and TR)- I may have to miss out if I can't buy the proper gear. But, I suppose she'll still be there next winter .. they usually stick around don't they?

Thanks again to everyone for all the input on gear and the mountain. I promise to put it to good use ASAP.