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Mount Washington Observatory Summit Overnights

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Winter Overnight EduTrips dates and topics for the 2017-2018 season are now available for booking. Click the "Register" link above to see availability and sign up.

If you want to visit the Observatory sooner, check out our Summer Overnight EduTrips page where we have space for our Foliage Photography overnight trip this October!

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.

What’s Included

  • 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.

Trip Format

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 over 5,000 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

Weather Basics (Sold Out)

Date: January 6-7, 2018 (Backup date January 27-28)
Instructor: Marsha Rich,  former Resource Agent for the American Meteorological Society

Learn how weather is created by the interrelationships between the sun and the earth, including land, air and water in its many forms. Explore the basics of weather observations and reporting, energy flow through the atmosphere, and the peculiarities of mountain weather. This trip is geared toward anyone with a general interest in weather, and provides a great training opportunity to science teachers.



Winter Mountaineering Essentials

Date: January 13-14, 2018 (Backup date January 27-28)
Instructor: Joe Lentini, Professional Climbing Guide

Join Trip Leader Joe Lentini, Professional Climbing Guide, team leader and past Vice President of the New Hampshire Mountain Rescue Service. With over 40 years as a professional guide and rescuer Joe can help you avoid the common pitfalls inexperienced climbers make in the mountains. Learn the skills you need for travel in any of the mountain ranges of the world, and spending the night on the top of the highest mountain in the Northeast! Sessions will included crampon and ice axe use, self-arrest, navigation, as well as avalanched safety and avalanche transceiver use. Then, on the second day of the course, put your new skills to the test with an early morning hike around the summit.



Life, Work & Environment Atop Mount Washington (Sold Out)

Date: February 3-4, 2018 (Backup date February 24-25)
Instructor: Will Broussard, Outreach Coordinator, 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.



Climate Extremes (Sold Out)

Date: February 10-11, 2018 (Backup date February 24-25)
Instructor: Jeff DeRosa, Educator, former MWO Observer & Antarctic Scientist

Come join former Observer and Antarctic Researcher Jeff DeRosa, to learn about the building blocks that make the climate of Mount Washington and various locations on Planet Earth so drastically different. 



Capturing the World's Worst Weather: Introduction to Photography on Mount Washington (Sold Out)  

Date: March 10-11, 2018 (Backup date March 24-25)
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.



Life, Work and the Environment Atop Mount Washington (Sold Out) 

Date: March 17-18, 2018 (Backup date March 24-25)
Instructor: Brian Fitzgerald, Director of Education, 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.



Cost

$999 per person for supporting members of the nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory.

$1,099 per non-member. Not a member? Join now to save money and enjoy a number of valuable, exclusive benefits, including advance notice for upcoming trips and registration.

* Program rates do not include an additional administrative processing fee charged by our online booking service. This service reduces administrative time and helps Observatory educators, educate! 
 
Reservations

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.

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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.

 For the safety of all our staff and guests, Mount Washington Observatory does not permit the consumption of alcohol or controlled substances in or around our summit weather station or in any of our facilities. Alcohol is not available on the summit, nor should it be brought to the summit by staff, visitors or guests.
 
Cell Phone Use: Mount Washington Observatory cannot guarantee cell coverage during your visit. We recommend turning your cell phone to airplane mode for the duration of your adventure. A laptop computer with internet access is available at the Observatory for urgent use but unfortunately there will be no wireless network access available at the Observatory. 
 
Age Requirements

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.

Gear 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!

Directions

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.

Travel Considerations

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.

Area Lodging

For a list of area lodging options, visit our lodging partners.

Cancellations

Participant Cancellation: 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.

Observatory Cancellation: A minimum of six participants is required for a trip to run. If we do not reach that minimum by one week before the trip, the trip may be cancelled. All registrants will be offered the option of a refund or a re-booking on another available trip that same season. 

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. In the event of a cancellation, a backup date for each trip has been provided. Please plan accordingly to attend this backup date if your trip is cancelled or postponed. Due to limited resources and the associated costs of providing transportation to the summit of Mount Washington in winter, Mount Washington Observatory is unable to provide refunds or re-bookings for participants that cannot participate in the backup date provided. 

 

Winter Mountaineering Trips

Winter Mountaineering Trips

Experience winter on Mount Washington by climbing to the summit with one of our partner climbing schools and staying overnight at our legendary summit weather station.

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Winter Trips

Winter Trips

Experience winter on Mount Washington, book your summit adventure today!

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