201903-Mt Chocorua






Warhammer 40k








201903-Mt Chocorua

March 2019 Mt Chocorua

Beginner-accessible winter trip in the White Mountains, overnight on Mt Chocorua (3500ft summit)

N.B.: Prounciation is "sho-CORE-oh-uh."


Above-treeline winter experience without sustained steep or technical trails

  • Most of trail is in snow-covered forest
  • Bald summit with great views on clear day
  • Frozen Champney Falls (popular ice climbing location)
  • Overnight in (unheated) primitive cabin for easy camping
  • Mostly gradual, pleasant trails


Three-day trip, March 8 to 10, 2019

  • Drive Friday, stay in hostel or hotel
  • Hike in Saturday, stay in unheated cabin
  • Hike out Sunday, drive home

8 hour drive from Philadelphia to N Conway, plus stops

20 minute drive from N Conway to trailhead


Trail Reports


March 8

  • Sunrise 6:08
  • Sunset 5:42

Weather Forecasts

  • Weather Channel for North Conway, 10 days out
    • Temperature decreases roughly 3.56 degrees per 1000ft
    • N Conway is at 525', Chocorua is 3490' tall, ~3000ft of gain -> summit is likely ~11F cooler, before accounting for wind and other effects
  • Mountain Forecast for Chocorua, 6 days out
  • Note that this defaults to Celsius
  • Mt Washington Observatory Valley Forecast, 48 hours out
  • Mt Washington Observatory Higher Summits Forecast, 48 hours out


CalTopo Map



  • Champney Falls Trailhead -> Champney Falls Tr -> Piper Tr -> Mt Chocorua -> Brook Tr -> Liberty Tr -> Jim Liberty Cabin
  • 4 miles, +2300ft/-700ft
  • All but guaranteed to be packed down, caveat fresh snow
  • If weather or trail conditions above treeline are bad, can bypass the summit via the West Side trail

Option: Three Sisters

  • Based on time available after arrival at cabin
  • 3 miles total out and back, +750ft/-356ft outbound

Option: Mt Paugus

  • Based on time available after arrival at cabin
  • Would facilitate checking trail conditions for Sunday
  • 7.3 miles total out and back, +2200ft/-2000ft outbound



  • Jim Liberty Cabin -> Liberty Tr -> Brook Tr -> Bee Line Tr -> Bolles Tr -> Champney Falls Trailhead
  • 6 miles, +1300ft/-2900ft
  • May not be packed down



Trail can have substantial ice coverage

If the cabin is full, will need shelter and to hike some distance to setup camp

  • Have to get out of the Forest Protection Area around the summit and cabin

Area around Champney Falls itself can have obscured water underfoot

There does not appear to be any meaningful avalanche risks on the route

Could backtrack quickly to cars if needed



Hike for ~4 hours at casual pace with light pack (clothes, sleeping bag, snacks, water)

  • Mostly uphill, but no sustained steepness and no vertical climbing


General gear list

  • Good amount of gear available to borrow
  • Coordinate group gear over email

Mountaineering boots, crampons, axe required

  • Good chance crampons won't be necessary, but definitely might be depending on ice
    • Snowshoes alone might not be enough, e.g., if thin layer of snow over ice
  • Rent from IME or other outfit in N Conway if necessary

Snowshoes helpful, definitely some in group should have to break trail

  • Not likely inbound caveat fresh snowfall, but likely outbound



~$35 in lodging per person for Friday night

  • Assuming one hotel room split ~four ways, or hostel for similar price

Rental gear if necessary

  • Mountaineering boots and crampons $55 for 2 days
  • Mountaineering axe $25 for 2 days (but talk to Joe first)
  • IME is probably leading rental option

Shared gas + tolls

Personal food


White Mountains Hostel

  • 36 Washington Street, Conway, New Hampshire, 03818
  • 1-866-902-2521
  • $34 dorm, ~$50--70 private

Jim Liberty Cabin

  • Free, first-come/first-served
  • Half mile from summit of Mt Chocorua
  • Three triple bunks, sleeping nine
  • Toilet 300ft down Liberty Trail
  • Unheated
Recent Changes (All) | Edit SideBar Page last modified on March 08, 2019, at 02:55 PM Edit Page | Page History
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