Tripyramids: August 11, 2006

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  1. #1
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Cool Tripyramids: August 11, 2006

    Date(s) Hiked: August 11, 2006

    Trails(s) Hiked: Livermore Road (Trail) to North Peak Slide. Bailed and took Scaur Ridge to Pine Bend and Summit. Tripyramid Loop over three summits and then down South Slide to Livermore.

    Total Distance: 14 miles or so.

    Difficulty: VERY difficult. LONG day. The North Slide was not marked at all and was very, very difficult and dangerous (since there were no blazes or cairns).

    Conditions: Weather: Partly Cloudy, Cool and Dry. Visibility from Summit was about 100 miles. Some sprinkles on descent.



    Special Required Equipment: Rope for North Slide, or hikers who know route.

    Trip Report: Most of the trip reports that I and others write are usually similar...hiked up, had a nice day, came out. No problems. But this one is different...because there were some hairy and scary times, but good judgment and the guts to turn around made the difference.

    This was forecast to be a long day...but it ended up being a sore, 9.5 hour trek, as opposed to the forecast 7 hour stint. Let me get to it.

    Made it to Livermore Parking Lot at 9am sharp...great time from the Upper Valley. Route 25 to Plymouth is an outstanding road. Took my time getting ready...only a couple other cars in the lot.

    Got onto Livermore Road and was greeted by cool temps, a nice breeze and good views of the Osceolas. Took a nice break at Norway Rapids and then pressed onward. Made it to North Slide Trail in great time. The trail was sparsely marked at this point and slabbed across the mountain much longer than I thought it would. It finally angled upwards...the opening salvo was a bit damp, but not bad, and I managed to get up the first stretch. I had read that it got better as you climbed. So I pushed upwards. I came to one stretch where the trail angled up and to the right--across the fall line--and I slipped on the smooth rock. It shook me a up a bit and I reacted by driving hard up into a small corner on the left side of this section. I took a break and got some water. The only hiker I saw all day passed me at this point and disappeared around the corner.

    I failed to mention that I don't like steep, open rock that lacks handholds and soon I found myself on a section of the slide that was just that. There were no blazes or cairns anywhere. I spent much energy driving up the left side--there was water on the right. I found myself stuck again with the next handhold too far for me to reach. With wobbly knees, I took another break and contemplated what to do. I opened my AMC Book and read that I should be on the right side...whatever that meant. I peered up and could not see any further than 25 yards and even then it appeared that this was not what I had seen online. I took a time check--11:40am. And I tried to talk myself into going further, but my body and brain said no. I was torn--I had come so far and did not want to turn back. But I was by myself, on a dangerous slide, with no blazes or cairns in sight and no rope or climbing gear. So I begrudingly slowed slid down. I did look up once more and made a half-hearted attempt at ascending, but I knew that the best thing for me was to get the he&* off that ledge.

    As I went down, I had the same problem...finding blazes. They were NOWHERE to be seen Maybe I got sidetracked or something...

    I made it down and had lunch at 12:30 at the base of the Scaur Ridge Trail. I knew that I had lost some time and made an honest assessment of strength/feet/water. After a rest, I pressed on. The Scaur Ridge Trail was MUCH easier and even scenic at times. It was a nice, gradual ascent up the ridge though this trail was also not well blazed. I made the ridge and ascended North Tripyramid, a steeper climb with some tricky sections, which is the norm for me. I summited and took a quick break to look for views. I did not go to the top of the slide because I did not have time and did not want to waste too much energy going downhill. The views from the summit outlooks--including the newly created one on the eastern side--were great.

    I pressed on to Middle Tripyramid and was rewarded with some stellar views...the Eastern Outlook was great and I could see well into Maine and even down to the Ocean it appeared. The air was dry and visibility extended to 100 miles or so. I could see Camel's Hump, Killington, little bit of Pico, Stratton, little bit of Ascutney, Gunstock, Major, Monadnock, and the local Whites. Impressive! But it was now about 3:15pm and I needed to get down.

    South Tripyramid was not as impressive..only one view of Middle and North Peaks. The slide was INSANE dropping A LOT in a short distance. The views were great. Loose gravel was good for going down and it was like skiing, but there were ledges that needed to be slid down or carefully descended. It was very time consuming. I finally got down off it and picked up the logging roads, which slabbed across the mountain for quite a ways before finally coming to the Livermore Road.

    I was pretty sore and made decent time getting out...I was passed by one mountain biker and I was so tempted to hitch-hike I got to the car and called Ms. Trailboss, "pretty hairy, but I'm coming home." Despite getting home at 8:15, she had dinner ready for me and had waited. What a great woman!

    So hairy day...hairiest since my August 2000 failed attempt at King Ravine (similar circumstances....solo hiking, no blazes, difficult terrain). Like then, I took my time, took the detour, and got the hike done.

    The biggest lesson is that sometimes you have to know when to get out before trouble happens...
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  2. #2
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Best part: NO bugs at all!!!!!
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  3. #3
    ga2ski's Avatar
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    TB - Sorry you didn't make it up the north slide. That trail is great, but hiking it alone could be scary. Sometime you should try it again. I'd be willing to go after I finish the rest of my 4's

  4. #4
    You made a good decision. If your not confortable with doing something, it's better to back away than risk injury. I did the North Slide in June and there were faint yellow blazes, mostly on smooth slabs and several cairns higher up. They were mostly found on the left hand side of the trail. If you have a fear of heights, in can be a little daunting and I would agree that it's much better to go up with someone that has done it before. If your a real nut, try that trail in the rain, it's really exciting then!

  5. #5
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Still got them....they were tough ones. I thought that the slide might have the pitch of North Hancock and it did to a point...
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  6. #6
    TB - glad you made it down in one piece. That sounds like a tough spot you were in. Next time, bring a partner..........!!

  7. #7
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChileMass
    TB - glad you made it down in one piece. That sounds like a tough spot you were in. Next time, bring a partner..........!!
    When Ms. TB heard that this was a hike over 9 miles, she wanted no part in it. I used to and do on occasion hike solo. Just means a little more planning and being careful...
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  8. #8
    Glad you made it safely regardless of route choices.

    I've got winter (not by slide) & a SPring trip to do in order to do the Tri's in all four seasons. Might be this May or early June (2007) I'll keep you posted if you are interested.
    Happy Trails, be safe & Good Luck
    Mike P.

  9. #9
    Good call. I love the South Slide and you're right - going down that gravel is just like skiing! I effectively boot-skied it the last time I was up there (from bagging the Sleepers) and was down that slide in an insanely small amount of time.
    Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face. - Dave Barry
    Waterville 11/30; Loon 12/7; Cannon 12/13, 1/17, 2/23; Sugarloaf 12/20, 21-22; Bretton Woods 1/3; Jay Peak 1/24-25; Heavenly 2/9; Squaw Valley 2/10-2/11; Wachusett 3/3; Sunday River 3/7-8

  10. #10
    I hiked Tripyramid on 8-13. Great day. I biked to the sign directing hikers to the south Tripyramid and hiked the 6 mile loop then biked teh 3.5 back to my car!

    Pictures:
    http://hoosac.franklinsites.com/nonh...yramids060813/


    Hiking up the north slide is a blast. Really unstable but it had some fantastic views! Some of those rocks were a nightmare to climb over!

    Boy was it nice to bike down that hill after 2 days and 10,100 Vertical

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