I arrived at the Livermore Road Trailhead at 7:00 am, ready for the slides! It was drizzling, but it always seems to rain when I hike! I was the only one in the lot, but I figured I would be since it was a Tuesday morning. I took the Tripyramid Loop Trail ascending the North Slide and descending South Slide looping my way back to the trailhead.
Hurricane Irene dumped a massive amount of water in the area and flooded many of the trails and took down trees. The trail to Osceola had been closed. The middle section of Livermore Trail wasn’t looking too good either as huge sections had been eroded. Thankfully, the trail was much better once I reached higher ground. During this normally boring part of the hike I also saw a coyote on the trail! It was standing next to a large field and ran off into the woods so no picture.
After about a two mile stroll through the woods, you enter the Sandwich Range Wilderness and begin the ascent up the North Slide.
Steven Smith and Mike Dickerman’s book, The 4000-Footers of the White Mountains describes the loop over the Tripyramid slides as “one of the most exciting and challenging hikes in the Whites.” I’m glad I was warned. At this point in the hike, it had stopped raining, but it was still slippery. The slide starts out fairly narrow and shaded, but some rocks have moss covering them. Traction can be a challenge so good handholds are essential and footholds have to be tested before putting full body weight onto them. The biggest problem with the hike was having less available trees and roots to grab onto. As I climbed, the slide grew wider and more exposed. I moved to the edge of the slide for more available handholds. You need to be able to pull yourself up using these handholds. During the half-mile climb up the slide you gain nearly 1200 feet!
The views were breathtaking! The clouds liked to block my view when I was able to take a picture, but I couldn’t do it justice anyway. Nothing could capture the severity of the angle and panoramic view.
I soon reached the wooded summit of North Tripyramid. It was a little confusing to find from the hurricane damage and lack of blazes after the slide.
|View from Middle Tripyramid|
|Top of South Slide|
Heading to Middle Tripyramid wasn’t a bad hike. I thought my legs would be screaming at me after going up North Slide, but they were hanging in there. The trail was relatively flat for a while and then began heading down. This part of the trail was moderate, but climbs steeply right before reaching Middle Tripyramid. It wasn’t long until I reached Soutb Tripyramid and was ready to descend down South Slide.
South Slide is mainly gravel with a few large rocks which makes for a much easier descent. The sky cleared up on my way down and the sun dried my soaked pants. The views were breathtaking! You are able to see the ski slopes for Waterville Valley, nearby Osceola, and Lake Winnipesaukee. The day ended with a 35 minute walk back to my car on Livermore Trail Road. This is a challenging hike, but highly reccommended in good weather!
Approach from: Livermore Trail Road (Waterville Valley)
North Tripyramid: 4180′
Middle Tripyramid: 4140′
Distance: 11 miles
Elevation gain: 3000 feet
Time: 7 1/2 hours (book time 7 hours)
|Map: Tripyramids via North Slide, return down South Slide|
Last modified: July 13, 2017
Great trip report. I realize you hiked this a few years ago but was wondering if you could shed some light as to how the slide on North Tripyramid compares to the Flume Slide. The Tripyramids are on my list for upcoming hikes and wanted to do some research to know how to prepare.
Tom, the conditions and your experience makes all the real difference. I finished my 48 on Flume and Liberty so I was a stronger hiker, also had better conditions for the flume slide.
Flume Slide Trail is steeper, but is more worn than North slide. North Slide is more exposed (and has terrific views) while Flume slide is more wooded and is tough because it just keeps going after each turn! For me North Slide was more difficult, but I had wetter conditions and it was earlier on in my quest to hike the 48. It’s one of those trails I’d like to get back to!
I’m tackling the Tripyramids on Friday & thinking of taking the Scaur Ridge trail to avoid the North Slide. I’m thinking that the extra mile will equal the time it will take me to tackle the North Slide. At 65 my strength isn’t what it used to be.