Tripyramids via Livermore Trail

hiking Oct 21, 2018

I hiked the Tripyramids on Saturday, October 20, 2018. My route started at the parking area at Livermore Road. I took Livermore Road to the beginning of the loop, then I ascended to the North peak first via Livermore trail, then on the south peak and down via the Mount Tripyramid trail. Once the loop was finished I walked hobbled back via Livermore trail. Here's a visual.

It was definitely a challenging hike, and if you carefully read the descriptions in Stephen Smith's "The 4,000-Footers of the White Mountains"  you're aware that choosing this trail in wet conditions is not a good idea.

If you know me at all, you know I don't like to listen to good advice. Yes, Mom, I know I'm stubborn. (Gladly, she has no idea I did this hike.)

There were only three cars at the lot when I arrived at 8:15 am. That surprised me. Usually, the parking areas to any of the 4,000-footers are packed early.

I wore pretty three layers: my Smartwool 1/4-zip base layer, my EMS fleece and the LL Bean down sweater.

The weather predictions said cloudy with a chance of light rain, which promptly started about half an hour into the hike. So I put on my Marmot Precip Jacket (but took off the down sweater) to avoid getting wet. I don't mind getting wet, but if the temperature drops the higher I climb up the mountain, being wet can very quickly cause hypothermia.

After I while the rain stopped again and I got warmer as the ascent got more challenging. I stripped down to my base layer but my ears tend to get cold when it's windy, so I put my hat back on.

There were quite a few water crossings.

The trickiest part of the ascent was a long section of rock slabs which were wet, icy in spots with very limited spots to place my feet.

I ended up pulling myself up with my hands more than walking. I spent quite some time on my hands and feet. Thanks to all the small trees in convenient locations for me to grab on to. This was exhilarating. Almost like rock climbing (my humble version of it). It was quite a different physical challenge, requiring much more of my upper body and core as opposed to traditional hiking, which taxes only the lower extremities. That being said, there were quite a few spots where I had to rest with the tip of one foot on a tiny ledge while looking for the next place to move my foot, and that was quite strenuous for my legs as well. I felt it especially on what should have been an easy walk back to the car for the last 2 miles. My legs were tiiiiiiiired.

Here's the disclaimer: I do not recommend hiking this trail in wet conditions. I'm a good hiker and I put very very close attention to where I placed my foot. I didn't rush. Admittedly, there were two instances where I  honestly didn't know how to move on. I didn't see a way forward, but going back was not a great idea either once you're in the steepest trickiest section. (Descending a steep technical section is even more difficult than ascending.)

I just stopped. Paused. After my heart rate came down, I just kept looking for a solution and found one. Not finding a solution is just not an option. It's on me. There is no-one there to make the challenge go away. It makes you feel so strong, and capable afterward.

My Vasque Breeze held up phenomenally. As you can see in the video they got pretty wet, but I didn't feel wet. After a while, the toes of my right foot started to feel cold (probably due to walking on very cold rock for a while, and occasionally on a bit of snow). But they warmed up again soon. I had a spare pair of socks in my pack, so if my toes had gotten too cold due to wet socks then I could have changed into a dry pair. When I changed into my driving sneakers back at the car, my socks didn't feel wet at all.

I didn't eat my breakfast/lunch until after noon. The summits are wooded, and small and were already "taken" once I got there. So I just walked on. The cold made me want to keep my temperature up, too.

There was a bit of snow accumulation and a nice quiet atmosphere regardless of the clouds.


I ran into another hiker, much younger and faster than me who was planning on heading to Whiteface and Passaconaway, a total of 20 miles, twice as much as I had planned for the day. Ah, youth! He kept missing his trail section, and thanks to the AllTrail app on my phone, I was able to help him find the trail that would take him to Whiteface.  Hope he made it and had a fabulous day!

Later in the afternoon the clouds and fog started to lift and the sun came out. So I found a rock on the descent with a bit of a view and had my snacks: 1/2 a turkey wrap, some baked crackers, half a pumpkin scone, and some chai tea. (I gladly carry the extra weight for the luxury of hot tea on a cold day or a cooling ice tea on a hot day. Thanks, S'well.)

Funny, how something simple like the clearing of clouds can make me incredibly happy. It really doesn't take much.

I got a good view of the Waterville Valley Ski area.

Once the loop was completed, the walk back on Livermore Road was easy. At that point, the clouds had cleared and I got some nice shots of foliage.

All in all a wonderful day to be outside. Connection with nature. A great challenge, showing me that sometimes you just have to wait, calm down and think and you'll figure out where to go next.

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