A slide exploration with Dan Newton, avid backcountry skier, and his canine companion, Friday. We went partway up the east fork of Tripyramid's North Slide for views and a downhill run for Dan. By afternoon the snow was in full spring mode, heavy and wet.
Dan skinning on the Livermore Trail by the junction with the south end of Mt. Tripyramid Trail.
Dual tracks on a sunny morning in the hardwoods.
Dan, who is President of the Waterville Valley Athletic & Improvement Association (WVAIA), knows the Waterville backcountry better than anyone. Here he points out one of many old logging roads he has explored in the foothills of Tripyramid.
A large aspen (poplar) beside the trail. Dan is working on a list of "Big Trees" in Waterville, and this might be a candidate.
Dan pointed out the "S" tree.
Our route to the slide. Dan knows this WVAIA trail well, as he does maintenance on it every year.
Friday, a great trail companion and going strong at age 13.
Dan drops down to the crossing of Avalanche Brook.
Snowbound Avalanche Brook.
Into the Wilderness.
The snow was still powdery in the morning as we headed up the trail on this north-facing slope. There was a partial track from two snowshoers who had apparently descended (!) the North Slide a few days ago.
In the beautiful Avalanche Brook valley.
A gnarled old maple.
The trail passes by some great old yellow birches.
Let's do it!
We dropped down off the trail to Avalanche Brook and went up through this sunny glade.
Looking up at the top of the main part of the great North Slide. Dan has skied that about ten times. This would be his fourth trip to the east fork.
With warming temperatures, snow began clumping.
Dan's AT (Alpine Touring) skis are 140 cm (if I remember correctly) with skins underfoot.
A small open meadow marks the base of the east fork of the North Slide.
It was a slow climb, breaking trail through deep powder in the shade.
Dan heading up.
I stayed along the edge to preserve the middle for Dan's run, and took to the woods around the steeper sections.
By now the 3+ feet of snow was wet and heavy, making for the hardest trail-breaking I've done in many moons. Took an hour and a half to gain 450 feet of elevation, one stomped step at a time.
The Osceolas came into view behind the hardwood slope of Scaur Ridge.
Nearing a more open patch on the slide at 3250 ft. that was my primary objective.
Scaur Peak close by to the right.
Mt. Tecumseh to the left, with a hazy Mt. Moosilauke seen through Thornton Gap.
Sat on my pack in the warm sun for a while. I had hoped to make it to the next open patch, 250 ft. higher, but the breaking was too ridiculously difficult to continue up.
Descending through this heavy snow was a real thigh-burner.
Dan is all smiles partway through his run down the slide.
Coming down the next pitch.
There he goes!
Our parallel tracks.
Applying wax for better glide in the sticky snow.
That was fun - definitely worth the effort.
Descending the drainage.
There's a lot going on under the overhang.
Late afternoon on Livermore Trail. It was a long and leisurely day, with an after-dark exit. The only person we saw was a skate skier flying by with his dog on lower Livermore Trail near dusk.
The original full extent of the North Slide, which fell in 1885, is shown in this photo taken in 1910 by Edward H. Lorenz. (Courtesy of WVAIA and Waterville historian Preston Conklin)