Tripping in the sense that I took quite a few tumbles (more than normal, if you can believe that) while going up, over and down the Tripyramids on this frigid January day. (Sorry people, my creativity is nowhere to be found right now!) ***Side note: I just found out that I was chosen as a finalist to be an ambassador to Vasque and a few other outdoor companies while on the AT this year, so I am having just a wee bit of a tough time concentrating on anything at the moment. Thanks for you understanding [insert smiley face]***
After being washed out by heavy rain on Monday, I headed up north Tuesday morning to meet up with Kyle to hike the Tripyramids. I had asked Kyle the night before if he minded delaying our start time by an hour seeing how the roads may be a little slippery that morning due to a sudden freeze after the warm rain the day before. He had no problem with this so we decided on a 9 a.m. start time leaving from the Pine Bend Brook trail head on the south side of the Kancamagus Highway. Of course the roads turned out to be fine with the exception of the Kanc which had large stretches of ice and snow between many frost heaves and pot holes. This is all part of the Kanc's charm and I wouldn't expect anything less!
Kyle arrived right around 8:30 and after a few gear mishaps (Mother Nature blowing gloves and other articles across the Kanc and down into drainages) we started on our way right around 9:00. The trail is very easy for the first couple of miles as it is mostly flat with easy stream crossings. The snow packed trail was solid from the freezing temperatures but very choppy due to bare-booters who had passed through when the snow was softer most likely the day before (in the rain!?) or over the weekend. The Sandwich Range Wilderness boundary is reached shortly after 2 miles and it is shortly after that the the climb starts to become moderate. As we climbed this portion of the trail I was mentally battling with myself about my choice of clothing. I usually drop a layer of clothing with in the first 20 minutes of any hike, regardless of the weather (I am incredibly lucky in that my body warms up very quickly with very little exertion). Today though, it took my core a bit longer to warm up and by the time I actually started to sweat we were facing into the wind. I had a feeling that if I stopped to delayer I would regret my choice pretty quickly, that and it was starting to snow, so I left my layers on and pressed up the mountain. The trail conditions gradually became worse with more and more deep and frozen post-holes that we had to tip-toe around.
Upon reaching the junction with Scaur Ridge trail at 3.2 miles there is 0.8 miles left to the summit of North Tripyramid. I had already added another layer, balaclava and goggles before we got here as the blasts of arctic wind were becoming a bit much to take. The last 0.8 miles leading up to the summit is very steep and consists of mostly rocky ledges which were covered in thick ice with a dusting of powdery snow on top. We were fine in microspikes for the most part as we took our time and used whatever we could grab onto for leverage. I did, of course, take a couple of awkward spills here once landing on my knee and once landing on my hand. Ouchie. After what seemed like a couple of miles not eight-tenths of a mile, we reached the summit of North Tripyramid.
Once back at the trail junction we continued our descent down Pine Brook Bend Trail. It was a tedious climb down first because of the icy steep section then because of the heavily post-holed trail which we had to be careful not to step in and twist our ankles. The sun was starting to set behind the mountains which made the now clear sky turn a shade of pale pink and yellow. Looking back, we could see through the trees the mountains we had just traversed; quite a difference from that morning. Despite the plethora of bruises I received from my trips and tumbles it was another wonderful and memorable day out in the woods. Thanks Kyle for accompanying me on a brutally cold day and congrats on your winter check marks!