A Reinvigorating Hike on the Tripyramid Slides
One thing I’ve learned in the past year of hiking is that trails are more fun when they’re difficult. Many of the 4,000 footers start with an easier approach, but those are not the parts that make a hike worthwhile. It’s the steep, treacherous slides and scree fields that make things more fun. I’m sure everyone likes a nice easy hike once and a while, but the hikes that force me to focus are the ones that stand out in my memory. Today’s hike of the Tripyramid slides was one of those that I’ll look back on and say, “that was a great day in the mountains.”
I’ve done the Tripyramid loop once before this past October, and I remember it being nauseatingly steep with slick patches of ice everywhere. When my friend asked me to “guide” him up it (I use quotes because I’m in no way, shape, or form qualified enough to call myself a guide), I was pretty excited to tackle it again. Then I looked back at the pictures and remember how steep it was the last time. Just one wrong step felt like it would send me down into the depths of the notch below. That being said, it still sounded like a good time to me!
We started later that we had anticipated (thanks to my alarm failing to wake me up… oops), and got on the trail around 6:20. The path into the slides is an old logging road for about the first three miles, so it was a great warm up of flat walking to get us started. We stopped to look at some beautiful cascades and swimming holes along the way, and when we reached the base of the slide the real work began.
The bottom part of the north slide was made up of mossy slabs that were surprisingly slippery. The tree cover was protecting us from the sun for most of the bottom portion of the slide where there were large slabs of rocks to scale. As we ascended there were more and more tricky areas that took some strategizing to get up. On top of all of that there was a lot of loose scree in between slabs. Once we got to the exposed top half of the slide, none of the rocks seemed stably beneath our feet. Even the larger rocks had a very precarious feeling like a wrong step could send them barreling down the steep trail.
As we reached the top of the slide, I realized looking down that it wasn’t as steep as I had remembered. Yes, it was nerve wracking and difficult, but definitely manageable. As we climbed the rest of the way to North Tripyramid, I was huffing and puffing trying to keep up with one of my friends. It when we reached the first summit we stopped for a few minutes before descending and then starting our hike up to Middle Tripyramid. Only Middle and South Tripyramid Mountains are considered 4,000 footers because of the 200ft prominence rule. This classifies North Tripyramid as a subpeak of Middle.
We stopped for a bit at each summit, but there weren’t really any views up there compared to the views from the slide. From the north slide we saw many of the other 4,000 footers including Tecumseh, the Osceolas, and even Franconia Ridge in the distance. It was really a gorgeous sight with the bluebird day. The traverse across the three peaks had a good amount of up and down but went by fairly quickly. Before we knew it we had reached the south slide where the real difficulty began.
The south slide was much looser than the north with sliding scree everywhere. I’m never a fan of the descent, but the unstable footing made things exponentially worse. That being said, it was pretty easy to find areas where there was less scree. We took it very slow and steady with very deliberate, calculated steps to avoid slipping. This slide lasted for what seemed to be miles, and when we got to the bottom we were all relieved. It was a relatively easy hike back to the logging road from there and then we cruised back to the parking lot with little effort.
It’s been a while since I did a technically challenging hike with lots of rock scrambling, so this one was really great to remind me why I love the difficult trails so much. Lately I’ve been dragging my feet when it comes to hiking, but this hike really motivated me to get back out there and explore some of the more difficult hikes in the Whites. There are so many trails that I’ve yet to experience, and a quick stop to talk to Steve at The Mountain Wanderer in Lincoln helped give me lots of ideas for my next few hikes. Being so focused on hiking the New England 67 has made it a little bit less fun for me, so I’m going to make an effort to do some of the trails that I’ve been excited about for the next few weeks. Lots to look forward to in my extended vacation this week as well!
North, Middle, and South Tripyramid (4180 ft, 4140 ft, 4080 ft) via. Livermore Rd, Livermore Tr, North Slide, Mt. Tripyramid Tr, and South Slide [11.2 mi, 2940 ft, 6:20]
Follow me on Instagram @lexi.brocoum for more pictures!