Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Starting late morning to let things warm up a bit, I snowshoed Champney Falls Trail, then climbed over snowdrifts to the top of First Sister. It was a cold and windy but spectacular day with 90-mile views.

The late winter snow and cold has closed Champney Brook back up.

Skiers had carved turns down the trail.

Snow depth at 2500 ft.

A skier had some fun in the glades.

Open glades at the top of the first switchback.

First Sister in sight ahead.

The upper pitch on Champney Falls Trail, which had a well-packed snowshoe track.

Viewpoint spur at the top of the trail.

Approaching the view ledge.

Looking west to the Sandwich Range.

The gleaming Presidentials.

Mt. Carrigain and the Nancy Range.

Looking up at First Sister. It was too cold and windy to stay out on this ledge for more than a few minutes.

Drifts ascending First Sister. The only tracks headed up this way (on some approximation of the route of the Middle Sister Trail) were from a lone skier.

The high peaks of the Sandwich Range.

Heading up more hard-packed drifts (though some were soft and deep, with spruce traps lying in wait).

Summit of Chocorua with Silver Lake and Ossipee Lake in the distance.

Approaching the summit.

Chocorua and the distant southern view, extending as far as Mt. Monadnock.

Summit of First Sister.

Western view. The Sisters, along with Mt. Chocorua itself, are among the best viewpoints in the Whites. Some 32 NH 4000-footers can be seen from First Sister.

A cold-looking Mt. Washington. Winds gusted to 75 mph there this afternoon, and my stay at the summit of First Sister was brief.

Middle Sister with its Forest Service radio repeater and old fire lookout foundation.

The horn of Chocorua.

The south side of First Sister was somewhat protected from the wind, allowing for a half-hour sit-down break in the March sun.

On the way down I made a short bushwhack out to Chocorua's broad, gentle NW shoulder, a favorite spot with its open hardwood and birch forest.

Plenty o' snow out here.

Forest and mountain scene.

Returning to an empty parking lot. After passing three downbound hikers (one of whom stayed overnight in Jim Liberty Cabin) in the first mile going up, I had the mountain to myself.

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