Mount Chocorua 10-22-2005


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  1. #1

    Mount Chocorua 10-22-2005

    Date(s) Hiked: October 22nd

    Trails(s) Hiked: Champney Falls

    Total Distance: 7.6 miles (AMC distance)

    Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

    Conditions: Cloudy in the 40s

    Special Required Equipment: Hiking poles

    Trip Report:
    With access to a condo next to Storyland on Route 16, I made plans to squeeze in a hike before the season was over. We had a late start, with nice views of Mount Washington on our doorstep, and began hiking at 11 am.

    Traffic on the trail was low, but very busy at the summit. Some ice had begun to form but it was more of a novelty however there were alot of slick rocks to traverse over. This is where hiking poles would have come in handy. After reaching the summit we enjoyed a somewhat hazy view of the local mountains with sun lighting up Mount Washington, it was quite a view.

    The summit itself is tricky. As you can see from Chocorua's popular profile there is a rocky ledge that sticks up above the surrounding rock. It called for some careful scouting so you did not get stuck on a smaller ledge with no way to get up or back down. After a small lunch, the hike back down became hard because of the angle and the wet rocks. Foliage wasn't very noteworthy but there were some areas where you were surrounded by yellow light from the trees. This was my first major hike, before this I had just done Mount Greylock and the Blue Hills in Boston.

    A less moderate hike stops at the Champney Falls, about half way up the trail and is about 3.5 miles round trip. I imagine the falls are quite nice in the Summer. The Champney Falls trailhead is a paved parking lot on Kancamagus Highway (NH 112) off of NH 16 in Conway. It has $3 self pay passes.

    You can view my photos on Flickr.

    Now that I'm hooked on the NH hiking I was wondering what people would recommend after doing Chocorua, which I found challenging but rewarding.

  2. #2
    For starters, pick yourself up an annual parking pass at REI, EMS, or selected info centers / ranger stations. $20 for the year is a much better deal than $3 each trip. If you have multiple cars, the 2-sticker pack is $25.

    After Chocorua, I'd look to peaks like the Osceolas (from Tripoli Road), Garfield, Sandwich Dome, Tecumseh, or Moosilauke. These are all going to be comparable or only slightly more difficult than Chocorua.

    Except ... for the weather. Upper reaches are now approaching real winter conditions, requiring crampons or some kind of traction control device, and possibly full body and face wind protection. Fall is a tough time to get hooked on hiking, with winter arriving so quickly at the higher elevations!
    Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face. - Dave Barry
    Waterville 11/30; Loon 12/7; Cannon 12/13, 1/17, 2/23; Sugarloaf 12/20, 21-22; Bretton Woods 1/3; Jay Peak 1/24-25; Heavenly 2/9; Squaw Valley 2/10-2/11; Wachusett 3/3; Sunday River 3/7-8

  3. #3
    Thanks for the info. I'm not going to be doing much in NH besides some snowshoeing at ground level to keep the aerobic level up. I wanted some info for the Spring and Summer. (I can't wait..)

  4. #4
    Well, the Osceolas, Sandwich Dome, and Tecumseh are all a part of the Sandwich Range, the southernmost ridge in the Whites. Come spring, these will be some of the first peaks to be hikable without full winter gear. There will still be snow in places as late as May 1, especially on the north sides or in shade, and snowmelt may leave streams of slippery ice in spots, but overall with caution you'll be fine.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that open ledge will clear off first if it's in the sun. So trips like Welch Dickey or Osceola will have beautiful, warm rock surfaces with great views. However, you still have to be careful. Osceola is safe, while Welch-Dickey, if the ledges *do* happen to still have ice anywhere, has a lot of fall exposure.

    For ground-level snowshoeing, I recommend the Winter Trails map. I'm pretty sure Steve Smith stocks it at the Mountain Wanderer. I've gone up the Sawyer River Trail and it was a beautiful trip (I was on skis, but snowshoes are fine too). Also just an up-and-back to Lonesome Lake and the hut is easy and enjoyable.
    Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face. - Dave Barry
    Waterville 11/30; Loon 12/7; Cannon 12/13, 1/17, 2/23; Sugarloaf 12/20, 21-22; Bretton Woods 1/3; Jay Peak 1/24-25; Heavenly 2/9; Squaw Valley 2/10-2/11; Wachusett 3/3; Sunday River 3/7-8

  5. #5
    Excellent info. Thanks again!

  6. #6
    In addition to what Michael J said:

    Trails that generally go through hardwoods with southern exposure or above treeline melt out first. (Now of course the above treeline ones are also most likely the last trails to reach a temp of 32 or above but i digress)

    Heading up the Moats from the South, Chocura from the South also work. The OBP on the Miseries (guessing 300- 4200 feet) on Lafayette face generally south & the hardest terrain melts out fairly quickly for a 5000+ peak. Pierce via teh Crawford Path is not too steep so if some snow remains it should not be potentially deadly if a slip occurs.

    Places that hold snow longer are the highest wooded ridgelines as they are surrounded by thick fir & spruce. Twinway from around Zealand Mt. to South Twin, Franconia Ridge between Liberty & Little Haystack are two examples.
    Happy Trails, be safe & Good Luck
    Mike P.

  7. #7
    Skier75's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Barrington, New Hampshire
    Nice Pics. Sounds like you had a good time, glad to hear it. I've been up there, its been a while, but I thought this was a great hike!

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