Ad Carter: The High School Foreign Language Teacher who Climbed Mountains

539w[1]Often talented educators earn recognition for achievements outside the realm of teaching. Such is the case with Hubert Adams Carter, a high school foreign language teacher, mountain climber, and journalist from Massachusetts.

Hubert, who was most often called “Ad,” was born on June 6, 1914, in Newton, Massachusetts. He graduated from Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts, in 1932, and from Harvard University in 1936.

Ad was very young when he began his career as a mountain climber. He made his first notable ascent at the age of five when he climbed Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Ten years later he  climbed the Matterhorn, and he also began making ascents near  Kandersteg in the Swiss Alps. In 1936, during his senior year at Harvard, Ad was a member of the British-American Himalayan expedition that climbed India’s Mount Nandevi for the first time. In 1937, this amazing athlete was named to the US Ski Team, competing in the Alpine World Skiing Championships. The following year he participated in the Pan American Championships.

In 1938, Ad married fellow teacher Ann Brooks, pictured with him above. The union produced three sons and a daughter and lasted 53 years.

During World War II, Ad assisted with the establishment and training of the 10th Mountain Division. A talented linguist, he translated material in German, Italian, French, and Spanish for use in writing the first army manuals on mountain warfare. He also interrogated Japanese and German prisoners of war. For these valuable services, Ad was given a Commendation for Meritorious Civilian Service in 1945.

After the war, Ad returned to school. He earned his master’s degree from Middlebury College in 1947, and then accepted a position as a teacher of foreign languages at his alma mater, Milton Academy. He taught German, French, and Spanish. He also founded the school’s Ski and Mountaineering Club, which today is known as the H. Adams Carter Outdoor Program. The dedicated teacher often used his vacation home in Jefferson, New Hampshire, as a base camp for school field trips to the White Mountains.

In addition to teaching, from 1954 to 1958, Ad contributed his expertise as an officer of the American Alpine Club, and from 1960 to 1995, he served as the editor for the American Alpine Journal, a position he held for 35 years. Under his leadership, the Journal became one of the most prominent  journals of record for mountaineering in the world.

Ad retired from the teaching profession in 1970 after 23 years as an educator. This chalkboard champion, journalist, and talented athlete passed away on April 2, 1995, at the age of 80, from an embolism.