View Full Version : Carter to Madison Hut via AT - how tough?

08-10-2009, 13:44
Ok so I have looked at the maps and this is definitely a long hike. We are planning on taking it easy our first day and hiking the "typical" way in to Carter, then 2nd day carter to Madison SOBO on the AT.

We will be super light as we are staying at the huts (luxury camping ;) ) I have read this is a particularly tough sections and am trying to guage just how tough.

we are in good shape - though we do have 1 person newish to backpacking, granted she is in the best shape of the three of us being essentially a professional athlete. I just know she will be a touch slower due to footing.

experiences? thoughts?

08-10-2009, 13:45
and I have hiked this section but can't remember since it was in 98'!!! just too long ago lol

08-10-2009, 13:58
Yes, that 13.7 mile route is very difficult. The descent down Wildcat is steep and the Climb from Pinkham Notch to Madison Spring Hut is perhaps even steeper.

I would not recommend that long of a hike unless you are in top hiking shape. Even then, hope for good weather.

08-10-2009, 14:02
I guess that is what I am trying to gauge. We recently did a some succesfully long days 20 milers but in PA with WAY less elevation etc.

all three of us are runners - but again not the same thing.

08-10-2009, 14:02
man my typing is worse than normal.

should read

"We recently did a section with some succesfully long days 20 milers but in PA with WAY less elevation etc.

08-10-2009, 15:01
here is another question:

since we are trying to cover as much of the AT as possible while out on this trip. would it make more sense to do this:

***Assuming good weather!!!

Day 1 AT NOBO from Pinkham nothch to Carter Hut - Lost pond trail (AT) - I know this trail is difficult and the climb up wildcat and then down to the hut is steep! but it allows us to cover this section of AT with out doing it all in one day SOBO to Madison

Day 2, Carter to Madison Hut, via the 19 mile trail - and I don't have my map on me but probably the great gulf and osgood trails. or maybe walk down Rt 16 and pick up the AT (old jackson rd/madison gulf/osgood)

08-10-2009, 16:59
Well, on my thru-hike, I did Madison to Carter via the AT in one very long day. I was whipped! (And I was fully loaded with food, tent, etc.). So, it's doable if you are in shape, but not necessarily enjoyable. And, another thing, if you are staying in the huts, you will not be able to get the early start that I did. I was on the trail before 6:30. If you are staying in the huts, you probably will not get started until about 8:30.

As you have seen on the maps, 19 mile brook trail to Great Gulf Trail to AT at Osgood Junction is certainly much more doable.

Madison Hut closes for the season in mid September. Better get there soon if you are planning on doing the hike this year.

High Life
08-10-2009, 17:43
I've done this hike a few times nobo from madision to carter
i think its easier to climb wildcat and down to carter than sobo
the hike can be broken into 2 days really easy , there are camp sites at osgood and some nice spots at the peabody river as well . The 19 mile brook trail is awesome and really easy with a nice spot to swim or down your feet at the dam.

Jack Tarlin
08-10-2009, 18:36
Regardless of your pack size or conditioning, Carter to Madison is a VERY solid day, especially for someone new to backpacking, or for someone who just got on the Trail. To put this in perspective, it'd be a pretty solid day for someone who'd been out hiking every day for a couple of months, never mind someone who just left town a day or two before. You might want to plan an easier day.

08-10-2009, 19:28
i think its easier to climb wildcat and down to carter than sobo

I agree.

Ditto what Jack also said.

08-10-2009, 19:49
Carter to Madison SOBO would be really tough even slackpacking. I'd stay at Pinkham Notch and have some fun.

08-11-2009, 14:01
thanks everyone you basically just confirmed for me what I was worried about. I have no doubt that we could probably push thru - BUT I don't want to destroy our bodies on our first "full" day.

our reservations have been made (a long time ago) so we can't change our hut stays (there isn't room at the huts for when we are going anyway. and we also aren't stopping at Madison, so the itenerary needs to stand. AKA breaking it in to two days isn't an option.

I think I will make the final decision on how to get in to carter that morning (AKA 19 mile brook or Lost pnd) and then go to madison via 19mile/gulf/osgood.

I want to this to be enjoyable :)