Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Scaur Ridge Ramble: 12/7/21

Rain and refreeze fashioned fast conditions for a long walk into the high country of Tripyramid: up Livermore Trail and Scaur Ridge Trail to the ridge, then along Pine Bend Brook Trail and a bushwhack to a vestigial open strip from an 1885 slide at the head of Avalanche Ravine, with views.

The first 2+ miles of Livermore Trail were mostly ice. This 11-mile hike was Microspikes from car to car.

Slide Brook was flowing strongly.

Sunny slopes looked like early spring.

After the hairpin turn by the north end of Mount Tripyramid Trail, the Livermore Trail rises gently through a beautiful hardwood corridor.

One of my favorite trails, "high in the mountains" as described by Waterville hiker Dan Newton.

Welcome to the Wilderness.

Opened in the mid-1950s, Scaur Ridge Trail follows the grade of an old logging road along the south slope of Scaur Peak. It is well-maintained by adopter Dennis Follensbee, Jr.

Ruffed Grouse were out and about.

North Tripyramid and its daunting North Slide are constant companions as you ascend along the slope. After the rain, the slide looked quite bony.


Old gnarled yellow birches in the shadow of Scaur Ridge.

Snow cover was sparse approaching the ridgecrest at 3400 ft.

There are views to be found from an open glade on the north side of the crest by the Scaur Ridge/Pine Bend Brook Trail junction. Here the snow was 6-8" deep!

The Presidentials were fuzzed out by wind fog.

Nice view NE to Green's Cliff, Montalban Ridge, Wildcats/Carters, Mt. Tremont/Owls Cliff and Baldfaces.


Mts. Carrigain, Willey and Lowell.

Thin cover on the narrow ridge section of Pine Bend Brook Trail.

Plenty of ice in places. I figured the steep section heading up the cone of North Tripyramid would be sketchy.

Bushwhacking to the slide patch through open fir woods.


Looking out from the top of the slide patch.

This slide was one of several that fell in Avalanche Ravine in August 1885, at the same time as the great North Slide of Tripyramid. In this 1910 photo taken by Edward H. Lorenz, it is the narrow slide on the left, with its tip just below the ridgecrest. (Photo courtesy of Town of Waterville Valley)

While we're in that era, here is an interesting geologic map of Tripyramid from a 1911 article by L.V. Pirsson and Wm. North Rice in the American Journal of Science.

Beyond nearby Scaur Peak (once known as the Fourth Pyramid) are the Franconia Range on the L and Mt. Garfield on the R.

The long ridge of Hancock.

West Bond above Bondcliff, South Twin, and North Hancock behind South Hancock.



East Osceola, displaying its Painted Cliff.

By wonderful happenstance, on the way back along Pine Bend Brook Trail I met up with Tim Muskat, mountain poet and multi-Grid finisher,. Tim, returning from the Tripyramid peaks, was the only hiker I saw all day.

The charms of Scaur Ridge Trail: open hardwoods beneath the North Tripyramid view.

Zoom on the upper North Slide. There was no one up there this day.

Homeward bound.


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