Hiking/Trekking Jeanne & Peter



Posted on September 14th, 2013
by PeterD in Hikes

Weather always plays a key role in a hike – amazing in good weather, turns sour in bad – this was one of those amazing hikes.

The Tripyramids are a challenge – we’d planned the “lollipop loop” to capture all three of the Tripyramid peaks. You can view the route via GPS Trax on google. It starts/ends at Tripoli road, and follows the Mt. Tripyramid trail (loop: 11.0 miles, 3,000 feet, 7:00); as recommended, we opted to go up the North Slide and down the South Slide, heeding the net’s wisdom:

GPS Trax – Tripyramids

Many will find the North Slide, with its steep rock slabs and exposure, unappealing at all times. All should avoid it when wet or icy.


generally done north to south since it’s easier to ascend the North Slide and descend the loose gravel on the South Slide.

We drove up late friday afternoon, opting to stay at the Wilderness Inn – what’s becoming our “base camp” for multi-day hikes in the Whites. The rooms are cozy, the price is right, and the breakfasts on the enclosed porch are just awesome!

Tripoli Rd – trailhead

Saturday turned out to be another one of those miraculous weather days.  After an amazing breakfast (can I say that again?), we headed off to the trailhead, opting to drive over Tripoli Rd (closed in the winter) rather than heading further south on 93, only to turn north and backtrack up the Waterville Valley road.   We probably didn’t save too much time, due to the poor road quality – regardless, we were excited to get going.

Donning our gear and a last bio break, we headed out. The first 3 miles or so of the trail – the entire lollipop stick – was nearly level, alternating on some wide trails, and woods roads and periodically intersected by some of the Waterville valley x-country ski trails.  We made rapid headway through most of this section, even getting the rare opportunity to periodically hold hands (awe!).

As we got on to the loop itself, the grade gradually increased. As our heading turned toward the SE at about 4 miles, we gradually entered the based of the North Slide.  Because of what we’d read ahead of time (such as the quote above), we were a bit apprehensive about the slide (still some memories of the “Flume Slide”). From it’s base, it looked daunting (below right) – but since there were no trees on the slide, we were also rewarded with some great views (below left):

First Views from the base of the North Slide

Looking up from the base of the North Slide

Because of the grade, we did have to periodically stop, catch our breath, plan our next set of steps – all the same, there were some really great views along the way.

Jeanne scrambles up the North Slide

To get a real sense of how steep, check out Jeanne as she scrambles up the north slide. The horizon in the distance gives you a sense of what’s “level” and how steep it really was. And if you look just left of center on the horizon, you can just make out Mt. Washington in the distance. As the crow flies (those damn crows!), it’s about 20 miles – did I say the weather was amazing?!

As often happens with hiking in the Whites, the best views aren’t always at the summits – rather along the way. The Tripyramids are like that – no views on any of the summits. Sometimes, it’s even difficult to tell exactly where the summit it is, though on North Tripyramid, we ran into a group of about a hikers, taking a food break and lounging around the bit of open space at the summit.

We didn’t linger long (though long enough for our ceremonial kiss to mark peak 38 in our quest for the 48 4000′s!), and onward toward Middle and South Tripyramid. This part of the trail was easy ridge walking, some gradual ups and downs, certainly a welcome break from the scrambling up the North Slide.

Not far beyond the South Tripyramid, sadly not one of the 48 4000′s because of the 200′ rise above the restriction between two summits, we came to the upper portion of the South Slide. Just as the net-info says, the South slide is more loose gravel, which I can attest to honestly, having lost my footing twice, unexpectedly finding myself on my bum! But easy enough, and not quite as relentless on the quads as some of the other steep descents (can you say Ammonoosac Ravine trail?!).

But quick enough, we were down the slide and headed back toward the lollipop junction and the wide open trail back to the trailhead, adding peaks 38 and 39 to our list of 48.

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