Hiked into Champney Falls on 1/1 to scope out the ice climbing. The ice was crap-ola so we decided to continue up the trail to the summit of Mt. Chocoura (Chocula)
I highly recommend this hike! It was a bit of a hump with a full ice climbing pack, but well worth it. Could have ditched the pack in the woods but decided to go for the full stairmaster effect. Starting at the trailhead on the Kankamangus Hwy. about 11 miles west of RT. 16 intersecton, the trail ascends gradually for 1.5 miles to the spur off to the left for Champney Falls. The main trail continues straght towards the summit. Take the spur and check out Champney and Pitcher falls. Continue up past the falls where the spur trail rejoins the main hiking trail in less than 1/2 mile. From there it is about 2 miles to the summit. At first climbing gradually, then gets steeper and switchbacks up to the saddle between the Middle Sister and Chocoura. Once in the saddle the summit of Chocoura is visible about 1/2 mile away. It is a rather spectacular rock citadel / Dracula's (Count Chocula's) castle.
On this day the route to the summit was a bare rock scramble, but can be rime covered and require crampons/ice axe(s). Spectacular views from the summit rock in all directions. Rainbow Slabs on the Kank and Mt. Washington to the North, North Conway to the North East. Lake Chocoura to the SE. Trail was icy in spots, but we did'nt need crampons. Depending on trail conditions crampons/poles may be needed or snowshoes or skis (skis not an option when we did it). This is an advanced ski tour as the trail is steep approaching the saddle and skins would help with the ascent/descent of the steep sections.
Milage to summit: 7 Mi. roundtrip. Elevation gain: 2,200 ft. Time 5 1/2 hrs. Guide book: Back Country Skiing Adventures: Maine and New Hampshire
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