Mount Washington Observatory Summit Overnights
All 2016 snowcat trips are sold out, 2017 trip dates will be announced during summer 2016.
The Ultimate Mount Washington Adventure
Overnight EduTrips allow you to fully experience the summit of Mount Washington by spending a night in our weather station at 6,288 feet above sea level. You’ll get to enjoy a full day of sightseeing and alpine adventure, then join our staff scientists for a hearty dinner in the comfort of our heated weather station.
The educational value of your visit will be enhanced by your choice of exciting, alpine-related subjects, like geology, landscape photography, mountaineering, and more. You’ll receive expert, one-on-one instruction with the mountain as your classroom.
You might even get the opportunity to witness sunset and sunrise over New England—a breathtaking experience known only to the most intrepid mountaineers.
If you’re looking for the ultimate alpine adventure, this is the trip for you.
- Round-trip transportation to and from the base in our deluxe snowcat
- A dedicated Observatory trip leader
- An expert instructor specializing in the field of your trip’s educational topic
- Beverages and snacks upon arrival, lunch and dinner on the first day of your trip, and a hearty breakfast and lunch the next day
- Overnight lodging in our bunk rooms
- An exclusive tour of our weather station
- The opportunity to experience Mount Washington’s famous winter extremes
Looking for something shorter? Check out our day trips.
Your adventure will begin at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road, where you’ll meet your trip leaders and load the snowcat. As you ascend the 8-mile road, you’ll take in the incredible scenery of Pinkham Notch and the Presidential Range while marveling at the power of a two-ton tracked vehicle plowing through massive snowdrifts.
When you reach the top you will have gained more than 3,500 feet of elevation, traveling from the temperate forest, through tree line, and into to the alpine zone—a rugged, otherworldly landscape of earth and sky. After unloading the snowcat you’ll head inside the weather station and warm up with a hot beverage and snack.
The rest of your visit will be planned around the mountain’s incredible weather, but will include:
- Ample opportunity to experience subarctic-like conditions, which often include winds at, or above, hurricane force, remarkable icing, freezing temperatures, blowing snow, and more
- A behind-the-scenes tour of the Mount Washington Observatory’s famous mountaintop weather station, where you’ll learn about the institution’s work and see the instruments used by Observatory scientists
- A trip to the top of the instrument tower for a birds-eye view of the summit from the highest point on the mountain
- A social hour and hearty dinner with the weather station staff
- The opportunity to experience sunset and/or sunrise from the tallest peak in the Northeast
- A night in our weather station on the summit of Mount Washington
- Expert instruction in your chosen trip’s topic
Trips meet at 8:30am and generally arrive back at the base around 3:00pm the next day. Please note that the exact timing of your ascent and return will be determined by the weather, so participants should be prepared for schedule changes. The changes could be as minor as an earlier departure to avoid an approaching storm, or as major as a second night on the summit in the event of an extremely severe, unanticipated weather event. Safety trumps all other concerns, so please bring your sense of adventure and a willingness to go with the flow.
Dates & Topics
Implications of Global Climate Change (SOLD OUT)
Date: January 9-10, 2016 (Saturday-Sunday)
Instructor: Michelle Day, University of London, Queen Mary
Join Michelle to discuss this hot-button issue and learn about her experience as a research scientist drilling ice cores in Antarctica. Explore the evidence of past alterations in our planet's climate, possible causes of climate change today, and how past changes can help us understand the implications of climate change on our future.
Weather Basics (SOLD OUT)
Date: January 23-24, 2016 (Saturday-Sunday)
Instructor: Marsha Rich, Resource Agent for the American Meteorological Society
Learn how weather is created by the interrelationships between the sun and the earth, air, land, and water in its many forms. Also enjoy a basic introduction to weather observation, with a special session on the peculiarities of mountain weather. This trip is geared toward anyone with a general interest in weather, and provides a great training opportunity for science teachers.
Winter Mountaineering Essentials (SOLD OUT)
Date: January 30-31, 2016 (Saturday-Sunday)
Instructor: Joe Lentini, Professional Climbing Guide and Vice President of the New Hampshire Mountain Rescue Service
Learn the skills you need for travel in any of the mountain ranges of the world, and spend the night on top of the highest mountain in the Northeast! Sessions will include crampon and ice axe use, self-arrest, navigation, as well as avalanche safety and avalanche transceiver use. Then, on the second day of the course, put your new skills to the test with a dawn hike around the summit.
Glacial & Post-Glacial Geology On Mount Washington (SOLD OUT)
Date: February 13-14, 2016 (Saturday-Sunday)
Instructor: Brian Fowler, Mount Washington Observatory President who has studied the surficial geology of the Presidential Range for more than 45 years.
This program will review the processes, history, and distinctive geologic features created here by the continental ice sheet during and after the Ice Age, and it will review proposals emerging from recent research for new interpretations of some of these features both on and adjacent to Mt. Washington.
Winter Photography for the Novice (SOLD OUT)
Date: February 27-28, 2016 (Saturday-Sunday)
Instructor: Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Meteorologist at Mount Washington Observatory
This course will introduce photography basics for new and budding photographers and introduce some pointers for shooting in winter environments. The course will combine indoor instruction with outdoor field experience. Participants must bring their own camera equipment. Cameras must be DSLR or have full manual control.
Global Change: The View from the Rockpile (SOLD OUT)
Date: March 19-20, 2016 (Saturday-Sunday)
Instructor: Mark Van Baalen, Geologist at Harvard University
Recent unexpected developments in the inexorable process of climate change have shown us that the Earth's response to a changing climate is far more complex than previously thought. The emerging field of Earth System Science tries to address all of these factors in a holistic manner, rather than simply as a physical or chemical question. Join geologist Mark Van Baalen in an assessment of what we know about climate, where we are likely headed, and how the Mount Washington Observatory fits into this picture.
Life, Work, and Environment atop Mount Washington (SOLD OUT)
Date: March 25-26, 2015 (Friday-Saturday)
Instructor: Will Broussard, Outreach Coordinator at Mount Washington Observatory
This trip provides a backstage pass to Mount Washington Observatory. Get a firsthand look at how and why Observatory scientists observe and record Mount Washington's weather, explore the mountain's fascinating human and natural history, learn about the ecology of the White Mountains, and experience life and work at the Observatory's legendary mountaintop station.
EARLY BIRD PRICING (through 9/30/15)
$459 for supporting members of the nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory
$525 for non-members
NORMAL PRICING (starting 10/1/15)
$559 for supporting members of the nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory
$625 for non-members
Not a member? Join now to save money and enjoy a number of valuable, exclusive benefits.
Reservations may be made through this website or by phone at (603) 356-2137, ext. 225. Trips are limited to a maximum of nine participants, and we maintain waiting lists for trips that are full.
Health & Safety Requirements
Observatory trips grant access to Mount Washington's alpine zone, but not everyone is suited for this environment. Please read our full health and safety requirements to make sure you are eligible for a Mount Washington Observatory winter trip.
The minimum age for a winter trip is 16. Minors must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or qualified adult leader, and must meet all full health and safety requirements.
For your health and safety, and for the health and safety of your fellow trip mates, you will be required to come prepared with attire and gear to protect you from Mount Washington's extreme conditions. View the full list on our required winter gear list.
If you have any questions about any of this gear, don't hesitate to contact us. We will help you find what you need to enjoy the trip of a lifetime!
This special trip departs from and returns to the employee parking lot at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road. The employee parking lot is located immediately north of the main entrance to the Auto Road. If you accidentally enter the main entrance of the Auto Road you will know you're in the wrong spot when you find yourself sitting at a locked gate. Go back to the road, take a left, drive a few hundred feet and turn left into the employee parking lot. You'll see your trip leaders and a Mount Washington Observatory vehicle.
The Mt. Washington Auto Road is located on NH Route 16 in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire – 12 miles north of Jackson, NH, and 8 miles south of Gorham, NH. It is sometimes hard to find with GPS devices. Try "1 Mount Washington Auto Road, Gorham, NH" or simply enter "Mt Washington Auto Road" or "Glen House" in your GPS Attractions or Points of Interest page. However, remember that you are going to the employee parking lot, not the main entrance.
The GPS coordinates are: 44.28850 Lat., -71.22580 Long.
Extreme weather may occur at any time, and may delay a trip's descent. For this reason, we recommend that you remain flexible with your travel plans for the day or two after your trip. Weather-related changes are an inherent part of any true alpine adventure.
Trip fees will be refunded for cancellations made at least 30 days before the trip date, less a $50 administrative fee. Cancellations less than 30 days but more than 14 days before the departure date will be credited at 50%. Cancellations made within 14 days of the trip date will result in forfeiture of the entire trip fee.
The safety of our guests and employees is of utmost importance, so trips may be cancelled due to extremely inclement weather. We will do our best to notify all participants of the cancellation in advance, but mountain weather is notoriously unpredictable, so we cannot guarantee advance notice. The decision to cancel a trip could be made on the morning of the trip, or even during the ascent. Please be prepared to have alternate overnight accommodations.