Please read the entire event description before you RSVP. It is important, not only for your safety, but that of the entire group. RSVP questions are not optional, please answer them or you will be removed from the "attending" list. These questions help to ensure the safety of the group.
If you RSVP from a mobile device, the questions do not always appear. Simply edit your RSVP from a computer as soon as you can (just click to edit your RSVP and hit "yes" again, you won't lose your spot that way even if there is a waiting list) and answer the questions.
We start as a group, hike as a group, and finish as a group. Our pace will be that of the slowest hiker. This trip isn't for you if you are faster than the group and don't want to stay with us, if you want to head off on your own, or if you are slower than the group and expect us to constantly wait for you.
Let's end the official winter hiking season with a bang! Wildcat Mountain, home of the Wildcat Ski Resort, is a 3-mile long range with 5 main summits. 2 of them (Wildcat A at 4422', and Wildcat D at 4050') are on the New Hampshire 4000-Footer List, and a third (Wildcat C at 4298') is on the Trailwright's 72 List for those of you pursuing either of those lists. While mostly-wooded, this range offers some fine views from several spots on a nice day, including the summits of both "A" and "D" peaks.
There are 3 route options for these peaks, and the exact route is not yet decided, but all of them will traverse some portion of the range and end at the trailhead for the 19-Mile Brook Trail.
• Route 1: An out-and back to Wildcat D via the 19-Mile Brook Trail and the Wildcat Ridge Trail. The 3/4-mile section between Carter Notch Hut and the summit of Wildcat A is very steep (1100 feet of elevation gain!). This route is 12.8 miles in length and climbs an estimated 4500 feet. This route will take an estimated 9 hours to complete.
• Route 2: This option ascends from the Wildcat Ski area on a series of ski trails (mostly the Polecat Ski Trail) and exits via the 19-Mile Brook Trail. This route is roughly 9 miles in length and climbs an estimated 3100 feet. The estimated time to complete this route is 6.5 hours. The one catch with this route is that we must pay a hiker access fee of $10/person to hike on the ski trails.
• Route 3: This is the most fun and offers tremendous views, but also the least-traveled route and likely will not be the one we take unless I find good news on trail conditions. It starts from the Pinkham Notch Visitor's Center, takes the Lost Pond Trail to the Wildcat Ridge Trail, and climbs up some steep pitches to Wildcat E. From there, it is the same traverse out to 19-Mile Brook like the previous options. The stats on this route are 8.5 miles, 3150 feet of elevation gain, and an estimated hike time of 6.5 hours.
The final route decision will be made later in the week, but for now I wanted to get this event posted so those interested can sign up. At this point, options 1 or 2 are the most likely, but if I get good news on trail conditions, option 3 is the preference.
I did my research using the AMC's White Mountain Guide and prior experience hiking these peaks/trails. You are responsible for knowing and being comfortable with the route as well.
This hike is rated as Intermediate/Advanced due to the mileage and elevation gain involved.
We will leave the meeting location for the starting trailhead NO LATER THAN 8:00, so please be at the meeting location (19-Mile Brook Trailhead) by 7:45 (or even earlier if you need more time) to put boots on/gear up. I will email all participants with my phone number in advance. I may or may not have cell phone coverage at the trailhead, so please let me know by 7:00AM on hike day if you anticipate that you will be late. Otherwise, we will not wait more than a couple minutes for anyone that arrives after the start time.
Mountain weather is subject to rapid changes and extreme conditions. Dangerous weather conditions will cancel - I will post an update and/or send an email to all confirmed participants a day or two ahead of time. We will assess travel and weather conditions during the hike and make changes to our planned trip as necessary.
Current conditions and forecast for near the summits (3100ft elevation): NOAA Weather Forecast
Below is a list describing the minimum required items to participate in this event. Hiking safely is about being prepared so that you can respond to an emergency situation or spend a night in the woods if you have to.
Do not rely on others to have extra items to share with you at the meeting spot or on the trail. You should know how to use all of your equipment - test and adjust it prior to this trip. Please ask me if you have any questions regarding gear, I am happy to help answer your questions.
Click here to view a winter day hiking gear list. Note especially the information on layers and water system for winter (please do not bring hydration bladders, they freeze too easily in cold weather).
Mountaineering snowshoes (which have traction on the frame as well as the toe crampon, and often have heel lifts to ease calf strain on long ascents) and light traction (Kahtoola Microspikes or Hillsound's equivalent) are REQUIRED for this hike. Snowshoes without traction on the side frames will NOT be sufficient on this hike due to the steep grades (MSR Lightning Ascent or Tubbs Flex Alp are examples of the proper snowshoe). I will update participants a couple days out if I anticipate a change in gear to be necessary.
The Meeting location is at the 19-Mile Brook Trailhead in Gorham, NH (off of Route 16). This location is approximately 3 hours from Boston, MA and 2.5 hours from Salem, MA. Use this location for customizable driving directions (enter your starting address). Note that this is a USFS fee lot ($3/car/day or you can purchase a yearly pass for $20), though earlier this winter the fee tube was taped over.
Any carpooling is each person’s responsibility to arrange. Use the comments section below to inquire.
As a condition of your voluntary participation in this activity you acknowledge and agree to the following: this activity involves inherent risks that can cause property damage, injury, illness, disability, and/or death to participants and/or others; You agree not to hold the Organizer, Assistant Organizers, or any other members responsible for any injuries, mishaps, or any other situation that may happen at a planned event. You are responsible to research the event, know the area, and bring the proper gear and agree to know and follow the Hiker Responsibility Code described at www.hikesafe.com