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10/12/97
Trip 1 Middle Tripyramid 4140’ and North Tripyramid 4180’

11 miles 3000’ Elevation gain

Kevin & Judy

We took the Livermore Trail in to the Mt. Tripyramid Trail. We went up the South Slide, (where Judy lost her long pants), in fog and heavy mist to South Peak, then down and up to Middle Tripyramid, then down and up to the North Tripyramid.
We came down the North Slide crab style in light rain, very difficult. We saw a deer standing just off trail not 15’ from us on the way out. She just stood and watched us pass. I think it gave us the strength to finish.Walking now in the twilight we reached the car just before total darkness.
This was the trip that should have never been.

Mistake #1.) “Just pick up a map, any old map. If it shows a trail across mountain tops then that means it’s OK for hiking.”
After checking a ”Trail Map” bought at a gas station, I decided we could make an easy loop over the “Tri’s”, bagging three 4000 footers in one hike. After all it was only eleven miles and we had hiked that far before.

Lesson Learned #1.) Get the AMC White Mountain Guide and read the trail descriptions. If I had done this I would have realized the difficulty of the climb, that the South Tri dosen’t count as a 4000 footer, and the south slide dosen’t have to be climbed at all, up or down!

Mistake #2.) “When we get to the summit it will be just walking across the ridge then downhill till we get out.”
It is never just walking along a ridge between mountains, some are easier than others but the betweens on this mountain are not among the easy.When we got to the trailhead for the Mount Tripyramid trail, we had already decided to climb the South Tri first, as it was the least elevation. Having no idea what we were getting into, we began to climb the south slide, and quickly became frustrated at the constant backsliding in the loose gravel. The weather was continuing to deteriorate as we climbed. By the time we were up the Southslide and on the summit of South Tripyramid we were exhausted and unknown to us there was still some hard scrambling to do between summits.

Lesson Learned #2.) Things weren’t going our way at this point and we should have turned around. Don’t be hellbent on summiting. For summits to count you have to climb down 200 ‘ then regain it. We had to do this twice, between Middle and North Tri. At the summit of North Tri, we stood looking down a steep wet rock slide which we had to descend “crab soccer” style to keep from sliding down on the wet footing. I knew there was another trail to the right of the slide, but I didn’t know if it made the trip much longer or even if it took us back to where we wanted to be. If I had read the AMC Guide and the trail descriptions I would have known all of this.

Mistake #3.) “I’ll carry my camera bag, not a daypack with bad weather gear, food and water.”
As it was it was too foggy to take any good pictures. Although it never really rained, it got very damp and cold and we had to keep moving to stay warm. Jude had taken off her long pants, having shorts underneath, but with no pack to put them in wound up losing them, so had nothing to put back on when it got damp and cold.

Lesson Learned #3.) Carry your own daypack with rain gear, some food and lots to drink. ( At least we had good sturdy footwear!)

Mistake #4.) “Since we stayed up here the night before and we don’t have to drive home after, we don’t need an early start.”

We started late and being unfamiliar with the trails and our own abilities we were lucky to get out of the woods before it was completely dark. Again, having read the trail descriptions would have given us a good idea of how long and difficult a trip it would be.

Lesson Learned #4.) When unfamiliar with a mountain and its trails start early! This is especially true when the hike is as late in the year as this one. This way you can at least pace yourself and not have to rush to get out before dark. Always carry a good light source. K(2) J(2)
Next Mountain
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