Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks North Tripyramid, Middle Tripyramid, South Tripyramid, West Sleeper, East Sleeper, Mt. Whiteface, Mt. Passaconaway, NH
Trails: Pine Bend Brook Trail, Mt. Tripyramid Trail, Kate Sleeper Trail, Rollins Trail, Walden Trail, Passaconaway Cutoff, Oliverian Brook Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Monday, March 1, 2021
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Oliverian lot is nicely plowed. No real shoulder parking options for Pine Bend Brook Trail, but there's a plowed(ish) turnout halfway between the trailhead and Sabbaday Brook parking with parking for 5-6 vehicles 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Ice - Breakable Crust, Snow/Ice - Postholes 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes, Light Traction, Traction, Ice Axe 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: All bridged or hoppable 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Few blowdowns here and there, mostly walkarounds or limbos, and it's a carwash anyhow 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Nobody else was dense enough to go up there yesterday 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: We travelled widdershins, from Pine Bend to Oliverian. For reasons I'll get to, we recommend the opposite direction, i.e. up Oliverian and down Pine Bend. TL;DR the south slide of the Tripyramids is a real problem and you're better off going UP that stretch even in crampons or perhaps not attempting it altogether.

Pine Bend and Scaur Ridge over to Middle Tripyrimid is pretty solidly packed down. We spiked up to just above the Sandwich Wilderness sign and then put shoes on for traction and to avoid postholing if we slipped off the edge of the path. Kept them on for the rest of the trip. Middle to South Tripyramid was not packed out (slackers!), but there's a mostly well-defined path which was solid enough to keep us from sinking thigh deep in crusty snow except when we wandered off it.

Descending South to the Kate Sleeper trail was a misadventure from the start. Somehow we (what "we" I can hear Eric and Nora say) lost the path and ended up west of the slide. We bushwhacked back to were the slide began in earnest. As of yesterday it was very very crusty and treacherous, as we discovered once we were partway down. We did bring real crampons for this part and they would have made all the difference, hence why I checked them and an ice axe for equipment above. We faced the hill and kicked the toe crampons in to break through the crust. That got us down but it was extraordinarily slow going and we were lucky nobody lost their footing. That would have been bad. Descending even in crampons would be sketch, you're better off going up. AND PLUS ALSO it occurred to me in retrospect that the conditions on the slide might be a classic avalanche hazard on any given day. If one of those slabs you're on or one above you lets loose, you're going for a long ride. The crust is razor sharp (there was plenty winging by my head from my partners above me) so merely being buried alive might be the least of your worries. Brrr! So I guess check the avie condition reports for the area before considering this route.

The western terminus of Kate Sleeper has a baby version of South slide as a parting gift. The baby's got a bad attitude too and took us a long time to descend.

This was all gnarly enough in snowshoes with aggressive traction. Spikes would bounce right out and you'd die.

I've heard tell of a whack from South directly down to Kate Sleeper. That might be an option. There's 5+ feet of base and spruce traps to contend with, but they aren't going to kill you.

Kate Sleeper itself has been tracked out a little and if you follow the path where others have gone before (not always the trail proper) it's pretty solid. I might have brought the snowshoes with a little more float, but the 22" were mostly ok. Ascending to Whiteface was uneventful.

Rollins is moderately trafficked, but the bare booters have made a mess of some sections. With today's hard freeze those postholes of shame will be enshrined until June.

There's currently one way up Passaconaway, being Dicey's Mill Trail. The very steep Walden Trail is not worth the risk. At the current time, even the trail to the viewpoints is not packed out.

Oliverian was just like Kate Sleeper, lightly packed out (and a little more so now that we clomped down it) but totally navigable with snowshoes for all of its interminable boringness. Another reason to go up that way; it's no so bad when you're fresh and not just longing for a warm car and some hot coffee.  
Name: Muench, Nora, Eric 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2021-03-02 
Link: http:// 
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