Right now is a very volitile time in the frame industry, carbon is becoming the norm for a lot mtn bike manufactuers( I love my carbon nomad!). I would say that waiting through the summer, if you can, would be a good idea. I know specialized and scott both had hardtail 29ers w/ carbon frames weighing around 22-23 lbs for less than $3k in 2011, they may be even better in 2012.
But how long does carbon last? I’m weary about the tradeoff’s between lighter parts and endurance. Is it easier to break a carbon frame (sorry, I might be bouncing the topic here)?