|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||North Tripyramid, Middle Tripyramid, South Tripyramid, West Sleeper, East Sleeper, Mt. Whiteface, NH|
||Livermore Trail, Scaur Ridge Trail, Pine Bend Brook Trail, Mt. Tripyramid Trail, Kate Sleeper Trail, East Sleeper Spur, Rollins Trail, McCrillis Trail, Flat Mountain Pond Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Monday, December 23, 2019|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||The parking area for Flat Mtn Pond Trail is on the left. Looked large enough to hold a dozen plus vehicles but we were the only ones at 6am and 7:30pm. Keep an eye out for Livermore Trail on the Kanc. The shoulder becomes very wide opposite the trailhead here so parking was no problem :) Only car there at 7:30am and 8:15pm. Roads were all in good shape. |
||Dry Trail, Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Wet Trail, Ice - Blue, Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Ice - Breakable Crust, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow - Wet/Sticky, Leaves - Significant/Slippery, Snow/Ice - Postholes, Slush, Snow/Ice - Small Patches |
||Snowshoes, Light Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||One or two of the small brooks before the long, steep sidehill on the Livermore Trail were a bit awkward as ice would break beneath you and there wasn’t enough snow to smooth things out so we tried going along the side which was steep and angled. Totally doable though. The crossing of Flume Brook further up was open and not bridge with deep(ish) water at a point or two but there was a rock in the middle we used; just awkward hoisting yourself up on the other side of the bank. The small brook on Scaur Ridge Trail was nothing. Nothing again to the only significant crossing of the day which was on Flat Mtn Pond Trail just after we got into it from the end of McCrillis Trail. Water seemed deep enough that we would have had to wade if it weren’t for some ice bridges that we used. Perhaps they just covered up rocks to hop on though. The ice bridges didn’t seem that stable but I weighed 200+lbs with my pack and managed. Went just a few yards upstream. Spots on the lower portion of McCrillis Trail and on Livermore Trail near the pass with water underneath a thin layer of ice you’ll break through. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Livermore Trail is unblazed from the Kanc until you turn left off of the logging road at 0.6mi (marked by an arrow that will remain visible unless we quickly get 3ft of snow). From there until the trail begins it’s ascent up the gorge it’s blazed in yellow. The blazes are faded but more frequent than I would have imagined on that trail. No blazing on the difficult ascent on the sidehill up the gorge unfortunately which is perhaps why many go directly up the gorge but I didn’t have any trouble following it. Once at the top of the gorge and near the pass the blaze reappears and is often fresher looking. No blaze again from where it becomes a road again (jct with Old Skidder Trail) down to Scaur Ridge but very easy to follow as it’s a road. Scaur Ridge Trail is unblazed as it lies within the Sandwich Range Wilderness. Mostly follows an old logging road so is easy to follow in that part. Once it crosses a small brook, it can be hard to miss a turn left off the road a little ways after as the trail ascends to Pine Bend Brook Trail a bit more steeply but I found it easy to see today in minimal snow. The sign here had broken off and was set down making the snow depth look much deeper than it was. I don’t recall blaze along the ridge. Not hard to follow today as there was a packed trail. I’ve broken some of it out before and didn’t find it too difficult to follow though. Kate Sleeper Trail was blazed in blue and we had no trouble following it. The spur to East Sleeper isn’t marked per se but has a sign for Kate Sleeper Trail and Whiteface so that if you were returning from the spur you’d know which way to go. The spur diverges sharply left if heading east as we were. It is blazed in blue just as Kate Sleeper is and I recall it going in he same direction Kate Sleeper goes if heading west so it would be easy to just continue onto this thinking you’re still on Kate Sleeper. Large blowdown area here and we got off trail in both directions we believe. My friend also missed the summit sign but I think that’s because we came from behind it. If ascending the correct way (which we descended but quickly lost it) the sign would be much more obvious. I totally missed the sign for Downes Brook Trail but I hiking buddy didn’t so that’s probably just me. Once at the jct with Rollins Trail, make sure to turn right. You’ll ascend a bit to the south summit of Whiteface. As you come into the open, the trail sign for McCrillis Trail is on your right. It follows along ledges for a few dozen yards maybe then bears left steeply downhill into the woods. Look for an opening in the woods and a GPS should help. McCrillis Trail has absolutely no blazing. Once in the woods it was mostly easy to follow though. A spot or two after the steep section down low where you have to search for the trail corridor. We followed animal tracks too :) One medium sized cairn maybe around the halfway point of the trail. I believe once we were out of the wilderness area and on Flat Mtn Pond Trail some faded yellow blaze reappeared in regular intervals. Flat Mtn Pond Trail was mostly easy to follow; one slight left turn once on the old logging road that was a little hard to see. McCrillis Trail was King of the blowdowns. Lots of little stepovers down low and more obnoxious crawl unders and straddlers up high on the steep section. Kate Sleeper has a few as well but not as many and it’s more expected as it’s a ridge trail. Sure there were a few others on the other trails but they were likely less significant as I don’t remember them. |
||Didn’t see any but a very fit and experienced hiking dog could probably handle it. Nothing too steep; just a long, long day. |
|Lost and Found:
||I’ve had my eye on this hike for a long time and I was absolutely thrilled to do it Monday :) A huge shout out to Phoebe for accompanying me so we could get some new redlines, do some gridding, have a car spot, etc. The only difference in our hikes was she did an out and back to Whiteface and I did not. Her hike was 16.4mi with 4300ft of elevation gain and mine was about 15.8mi with 4200ft of elevation gain. The hike took us about 11hr15min starting at 7:45am and ending just after 7pm. We started hiking off the Kanc in a balmy 21F. When we returned to our car at Flat Mtn Pond trailhead it was able 39F and the same at Livermore trailhead an hour later. Can’t believe it was so warm!! Spent most of the day in just a base layer or fleece and then a rain jacket overtop. |
The beginning of Livermore Trail had seen a pair of snowshoes or two and some boots with only a couple inches of snow so we barefooted it until the left turn off of it marked by an arrow. The snowshoe track and bareboots continued ahead here and snow depth had already increased a bit so we threw on the snowshoes. Easy trailbreaking conditions with only a few inches of powder. The trail ascends at an easy grade until a rockier section with less snow where our snowshoes got beat up a bit. Here the grade is more moderate. Then, when you ascend the sidehill next to the gorge, the trail becomes steep and is difficult in snowshoes. The snow depth also increased drastically. This was the only part of the day where we really truly felt that we needed snowshoes. Snow depth decreased again as we neared the pass and things flattened out. Snowshoes got beat up in here again and we often broke through a thin crust of ice. I left my snowshoes on but my partner took theirs off. I enjoyed this section shortly before and after the Flume Brook Camp. There were bareboot tracks on the ski trail here. Perhaps someone bushwhacked up to Flume Peak?
We then descenddd towards Scaur Ridge Trail. Snow depth got less and less and a smarter man would have taken off his snowshoes but I didn’t until partway up Scaur Ridge. Scaur Ridge is a nice steady, moderate ascent, and I recommend it particularly for winter. Once near the jct with Pine Bend Brook we could have used snowshoes again but knew we’d be hitting packed trail again in a quarter mile so opted to just sink in powder 3-5inches. We reached Pine Bend Brook Trail and enjoyed a nice easy grade for a bit before the trail became steep and ice showed up. We eventually threw spikes on which were definitely useful. There were some bypasses around the ice. Finally made it to North Peak. Middle Peak was also a bit grueling but South Peak was a bit easier although it was less packed and snowshoes may have been better than bareboots until you start down the slide. The slide took some care but you really aren’t on it that long and wasn’t that bad. Make sure you don’t miss the left turn onto Kate Sleeper Trail! I walked right by it when doing the Tripyramid slides loop this summer.
No tracks on Kate Sleeper Trail. Too little snow for snowshoes at first. Tricky steep stuff at first anyway. Once in the woods, there’s an awkward angled section before the trail becomes nicer. Should have probably switched to snowshoes there but continued barebooting and sunk in a few inches of powder. A few inches eventually gave way to several inches and I finally put on snowshoes at the top of East Sleeper although I wished I’d done so sooner. West Sleeper was just off trail. We noticed a herd path to it on our left once we passed it. The grades along here are nice and I’d love to do this trail again in summer. We saw very recent moose activity but no moose other than a bull we saw on our drive on the Kanc. The most significant climb along Kate Sleeper is from Downes Brook to Rollins Trail but this was still moderate.
Once at Rollins Trail, my friend did an out-and-back to Whiteface while I waited. Packed trail here. Great views and sunset from South Whiteface. McCrillis Trail was untouched beyond the ledges. Descended mostly in the dark with headlamps/flashlights but didn’t have much trouble following the trail once we found where it entered the woods. I took my snowshoes off shortly after we entered the woods and put on my microspikes. I had a microspike break that would quickly come loose and made descent along the steep section very difficult with ice underneath an inch or two of powder so I wouldn’t do this without at least microspikes. Smooth sailing once down the steep section.
See my notes in the trail maintenance section about where the trail was hard to follow, lack of blazing, etc. if you need any of these trails, now is the time to do it! Minimal snow means easy snowshoeing or bareboots.
||Liam Cooney |
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.