Member Trip report

West Sleeper Slide Bushwhack

11/04/2017

Trip Report/Photos from shep5

Featured Photo

On Saturday, November 4th, it was going to be a nice day up in the White Mountains, so I decided to head up and tackle the West Sleeper Slide...along with the Tripyramids.  After the devastating storms, which the area had had the previous week, I wasn't sure what to expect.  Anyway, I arrived at the Sabbaday Brook Trailhead at about 7AM.  As the parking lot and the trail are closed up to the falls, I parked along Route 112 just about 0.1 mile to the west of the trailhead.  I had called the Saco District Ranger during the week to make sure the trail itself was not closed and it wasn't, but since the first 0.2 miles were closed, this required bushwhacking around the construction area around the falls.

At roughly 7:15, I started bushwhacking through the woods from Rt 112.  This was relatively easy and in no time I was up on a small ridgeline, where I could see the paved path for the falls below.  I dropped down to the trail at about 7:30 and proceeded to follow the Sabbaday Brook Trail.  This had a gentle grade as it followed the brook and I ended up crossing the brook five time (two crossings were not needed, as the obscured portion of the trail stayed on the western bank).  With all the rain during the previous week, the crossings were tricky, but not terrible.  After the last of these major water crossings, the trail climbed the eastern bank and paralleled the brook from above.  For the most part, the trail was fairly straight and easy to follow.  After the trail descened off of the bank, it crossed the brook again.  It was 8:30 and in just another 10 minutes, I reached the junction with the southern branch of the Sabbaday Brook.  I crossed the brook and staying on the western side of the brook, I began bushwhacking up the valley.  The woods were very open and I may have been on an old tote road (I had read reports of an old logging camp in the area, but never saw signs of it).  I proceeded through the woods just above the brook until I saw the the collected debris from the slide.  At this point I dropped back into the slide itself.  It was 8:55 and this portion of the slide was wider, but still somewhat flat.  Continuing along, I reached the dogleg in the slide about 5 minutes later.  This slide reportly came down during Hurricane Irene and so it was still somewhat fresh.  By comparison to other slides, it didn't look particularly steep or difficult to climb.  As I started up the footing was generally good with some occasional loose rock.  As I began to ascend the slide there were good views of Mt. Potash and towards the upper part of it, there were views of the top of Mount Passaconaway.  At the top, the slide significantly narrowed and by 9:30, I had reached the treeline.  I took a short snack break here and then headed into the woods.  Again the bushwhack here was relatively easy as the woods were mostly open and as I climbed I encountered moose paths (there was plenty of evidence that moose had bedded down in woods here), which made it even easier.  At 10:20 I popped out into a clearing with a path on the opposite side of it.  This was obviously the top of West Sleeper Mountain (3881')!  As there was nothing to see there, I followed the short herd path and joined the Kate Sleeper Trail.  

Heading west the trail descended quite a bit and in 20 minutes I emerged from the woods out on a portion of the South Tripyramid Slide (this wasn't the main slide, since I hadn't yet reached the Tripyramid Loop Trail).  There were great views to the south with Sandwich Dome and Jennings Peak in sight.  After heading through a small section of woods, I emerged out onto the main slide near the top.  This was relatively steep even after leaving the slide and continuing to the summit of South Tripyramid (4100'), which I reached before 11:15.  I met a couple of hikers at the summit, who thought they were only on the middle peak.  We chatted abit, before I continued along the ridge.  After descending the peak, there were a couple of major blowdowns, which blocked the trail in the col.  It wasn't difficult to walk around these though.  Climbing again out of the col, I reached the summit of Middle Tripyramid (4140') at 11:30.  I was initially there by myself, but after a few moments about 8 hikers showed up.  In chatting with a number of them, it seemed like everyone was on a major push to finish their 48 (almost everyone had only a couple of more peaks to do)!  I hung out for awhile and took in the views.  There were good views of the Waterville Ski Area and the Osceolas to the west and of Mt. Chocorua and Mt. Passaconaway to the east.  It was getting cold up on the summit, so I continued on by descending into the col.  I passed the Sabbaday Brook Trail junction and headed to North Tripyramid (4180)', which I reached by 12:15PM.  Again, I was alone for a brief time, before others starting arriving.  It seemed like most of the people I was encoutering used the Pine Bend Brook Trail rather than the slide.  The view off of east side of the peak provided a nice view of Mt. Washington, as it was out of the clouds.  I sat down for a brief snack and then backtracked along the trail to the Sabbaday Brook Trail.

It was 12:40 when I reached the Sabbaday Brook Trail again and I immediately started down.  It wasn't long before I encountered a couple of areas of serious blowdowns blocking the trail...one I could get around and the other I had to carefully climb over.  The trail descended steeply with an area of exposed granite in the first 15 minutes.  Afterwards, the trail moderated significantly as it headed toward the Fool Killer wound around the valley to the western branch of the Sabbaday Brook, which I reached at 1:15.  From here the trail paralleled the brook.  The trail was very wet in spots and there were a couple of tricky water crossings along the way.  By about 2PM, I had passed the area, where I began my bushwhack earlier in the day.  The rest of the my return was via the same path I had already used.  After another four brook crossings, I was back to the point on the trail, where I had to bushwhack from the trail back to the road.  I emerged out onto Route 112 at 3:20PM.

It was a great fall day to explore the Sabbaday Brook and the West Sleeper Slide.  It turned out to be a relatively easy bushwhack and it provided a great alternative loop around the Tripyramids.

Mileage and elevation gain:  Approximately 11.5 miles with about 3620 feet in cumulative elevation gain.

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