South Tripyramid Attempt

April 4, 2015.

I had read that Mt Tripyramid Trail was somewhat broken out so why not now? South Tripyramid has alluded me since my third hike back in 2011 when I had planned a loop hike over all three Tripyramids. I only made it up North Tripyramid after climbing the sketchy north slide and was mentally exhausted to continue on. Now the forecast for today was showers and a chance of snow mixed in. Mentally prepared for the weather I took off from the Livermore Parking Lot just before 7:30.

From the parking lot a view of the dismal weather as Mt Tecumseh (home to Waterville Valley Ski Area) makes a quick appearance.

The rain was light so I wore my raincoat for the first time since my hike on Washington last August with Peaches and Cream. I took off with my snowshoes attached to my backpack as this part of Livermore Trail is groomed for cross country skiing during the winter.

It takes less than an hour to reach the split where the hiking and skiing trail separate. With the warming temps softening the snow it was time to put on the snowshoes as I sunk in taking the first few steps on the ungroomed snow.

Fifteen minutes later and I reach the trailhead for Mt Tripyramid Trail which leaves right from Livermore Trail. Across Slide Brook, which is a heck of lot easier than back in 2011, is the boundary for Sandwich Wilderness.


For the most part the trail is OK as the path is defined but not completely solid as the higher traffic trails of winter. Someone has been through without snowshoes recently and made a bit of a mess of the trail causing me to posthole here and there. As I gain elevation the trail gets oddly softer and more postholing makes it harder as I sink up to my knees more and more often. I can also hear the weather changing as the temps drop as predicted but earlier than expected. The wind picks up and the rain begins to turn to blowing snow. I trudge along and after finally having enough of the bad trail conditions mixed with the changing weather decide enough is enough. I look for a good spot to turn around, a spot I'll remember if I come in from the other direction as I estimate I am only eight tenths of a mile from the summit.

Figuring the fallen limb in the above picture will still be there when I return I call it a day. Between the rain, sweating inside my raincoat and the dropping temperatures with windy conditions being on the open exposed slide that is coming up is not a good place to be. The south slide is not as slabby as the north slide but still quite steep and exposed. The trail conditions being really sucky the higher up I got it was taking the enjoyment out of the day and with the snow being so soft and postholey it might be disastrous on the slide. Not so much going up but coming down is what concerns me. I have no regrets this time turning around as the mountain is not going anywhere and besides there was a reason to get home early today. On the way back to the parking lot the conditions continued to go downhill with the wind and temps.

Right before the parking lot I run into the only people I would see for the day as they are skiing up the trail. Back at the car and I take of my raincoat and my sleeves are soaking wet from the sweat not being able to escape the unbreathable fabric further solidifying my decision to call it a day. We just received news a few weeks ago that our favorite Chinese restaurant is being sold and tonight is the closing party. We have been going faithfully to it just about every week for a lot of years and always after I get home from a hike. It's a very somber day and not knowing what the new owners are going to do and our favorite waiter, Jess, leaves an empty spot in our weekly tradition. At least South Tripyramid is not going anywhere too soon!

Final numbers: 8.6 miles, 4 hours and 10 minutes.

Redline Miles: 1.7, Total to Date: 741.4