New Hampshire’s Tripyramids consist of three mountain named North Tripyramid (4,140 ft), Middle Tripyramid (4,110 ft) and South Tripyramid (4,090 ft). These mountains are not the tallest or grandest that New Hampshire has to offer. However, they do offer some of the steepest slide trails that you can climb without ropes. We set out to bag all three one cold November morning.
Our usual hiking crew consists of 2 or 3 folks. However this trip was designed to introduce some new people to hiking and we somehow assembled a crew of 14. We met at the Livermore trail head with the intent of taking it easy and avoiding any slide trails. Therefore we set off down the Livermore trail thinking we were headed for nothing but mild ascents.
The first 3.6 miles of this trip, on Livermore trail, are essentially a dirt road with no elevation gain. The bridges on this trail even have weight limit signs for trucks. This “well groomed” trail let us start at a fast pace that built our confidence up. We then reached a trial junction where we could bypass the famous Tripyramid slide or climb it. This was a defining moment in the hike; do we take it easy and bypass the slide or take it on? Without hesitation we headed for the North slide, via the Mount Tripyramid Trail.
This trail starts at 2400’ and climbs to 4180’ within 1.2 miles which means it is as steep a climb as you will find in the whites. “Trail” is really a subjective term here. The North Slide is essentially a granite face that you climb by utilizing hand holds, sturdy tree branches, roots or anything to pull yourself up. This climb gives you a great rush and a fantastic view of the Waterville Valley ski area. All 14 of us made the climb safely and took a well deserved break at the top. Make sure to take in the view here, if you do this hike, as they are the best of the trip.
From this point, the trail reaches Middle Tripyramid in about 0.8 uneventful and leisurely miles. The summit is semi wooded with some opportunity for views. 0.4 miles alter we found ourselves at South Tripyramid where things start getting interesting again. A light snow had begun to fall and the next 2.5 miles head down the South Slide which is a dramatically steep collection of loose sand gravel and rocks. We made sure to check our footing and take in the breathtaking on the way down. We met up with the Livermore Trail almost immediately after out descent and hiked the flat 2.6 miles back to the parking lot.
The total distance is about 11 miles so it is a very doable day hike for any experience level. Our group made it out safely and hopefully hungry for more. The real highlight of these mountains is the slide trails. If you do this trip, I recommend taking on the North Slide first as it is much easier to go up it then down it. I should also add that you might want to consider avoiding the slides in wet conditions as they can be very dangerous. Oh yeah, if you are keeping track of your New Hampshire 48 4000 footers, Middle and North Tripyramid count.