|Mount Chocorua 3500 Trip 1 8/18/97
11 miles (all mileage is round trip)
2250 Elevation gain
Kevin & Judy
OK, Chocorua is not a 4000 footer, but after climbing smaller hills like Mt. Major and long distance hiking in the Pawtuckaways several times we felt we were ready to try something a little higher. Camping at Jigger Johnson Campground on the Kancamagus we felt the trailhead at Champney Falls was close enough to our campsite to walk to so we did. This added about 3 1/2 miles to the 7.6 mile (round trip) Champney Falls Trail to Piper Trail route to the summit. When we got off the mountain we sure wished we didnt have the 1 3/4 miles hike back to the campsite, but we made it. The climb itself we found strenuous as we were new to climbing anything this high. This is a good mountain to gauge your skill level when considering climbing the 4000 footers. The summit is bare and offers great views, but can be dangerous in bad weather. Some rock scrambling is necessary to reach the summit. On a clear day like we had, seeing the surrounding mountains may inspire you to climb the rest of them, like we have done.
Mistake #1.) Adding unnecessary miles to the trip. On our first real climb this was not wise. Being able to hike 11-12 miles with no real elevation is a lot different than going up and down thousands of feet over several miles.
Mistake #2.) This mountain top is not a picnic spot even though you may meet many dozens of people using it for that. Be prepared with bad weather gear, lots of food and water. In bad weather there is little cover, and storms can come up with little warning in the mountains.
Mistake #3.) Not reading trail descriptions and becoming completely familiar with as many trails on the mountain as possible by studying maps. If I had done this I would have known that there was shelter in the form of the Jim Liberty Cabin below the summit, in case of lightning or other bad weather.