Sandwich Range Traverse : Tripyramids / Sleepers / W&P

Date of Hike: 3/29/15

Pine Bend Brook Trail: 4.0 miles  /  Mount Tripyramid Trail: 1.6 miles  /  Kate Sleeper Trail: 3.4 miles  /  Rollins Trail: 2.4 miles  /  Dicey's Mill Trail: 0.9 miles  /  Walden Trail: 0.7 miles  /  Square Ledge Trail: 0.7 miles  /  Passaconway Cutoff Trail: 1.7 miles  /  Oliverian Brook Trail: 1.9 miles
Total Miles: 17.3 (6,170 feet elevation gained) Garmin Forerunner 910XT

Trip Report:
- On Sunday, Heather and her dog Kali invited a group of us on a Sandwich Range Traverse over the Tripyramids, Sleepers, Whiteface and Passaconaway.  I had not been on the Sleepers since before Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Sandy Pants so I was looking forward to getting back over there to see the massive blowdown patch between East Sleeper and Mount Whiteface.
- Joining in on the hike was a very strong group of hikers; Denise, Jeff, Karine, Dan, Joe, Whitney, and myself.
- We spotted a few cars at the Oliverian Brook Trail and headed over to Pine Bend and started hiking just before 8 a.m. under bluebird skies with absolutely no wind.  As we hiked over easy grades to the Sandwich Range Wilderness boundary, Kali was running back and forth playing fetch with a stick that Jeff would throw to her.
- I had just been on this trail eight days ago and could tell that spring is making a minor dent in the snow levels as the tiny water crossings were more open than last weekend.
- Once we reached the wilderness boundary we made the steep hike up to the col between North Tripyramid and Scaur Peak, where I was surprised to see someone had dug out the Scaur Ridge / Pine Bend trail junction sign.  On my previous two trips through here this year it was buried and I couldn't find it.
- From here we made the climb up to North, then over to Middle, and finally to South Peak of the Tripyramids.  There is a great downlook from North Peak of the Presidential Range and two outlooks from Middle Peak, one of Waterville Valley and one of Passaconaway and Chocorua.  South Peak has no views so we just kept on moving.
-  Our next goal for the day was a traverse of West and East Sleeper.  This is where the fun really started, we had to navigate the top of the slide below South Tripyramid and a mini slide on the Kate Sleeper Trail.  We all butt sled controllably and uncontrollably at times on both slides.  The Kate Sleeper one was a little more nerve racking than the South Slide.  We slid more than half way down and then decided to kick in steps across the slide to the edge of the woods and then descend and hook back onto the trail.  It was a challenging but fun, Heather hurt her ankle on the Sleeper slide but was able to tough out the rest of the hike.  Kali had the most fun on the slides as she just ran down the slide with her four paw traction!
- At the bottom of the slide we headed back into the woods where the trail was unbroken.  The blazes are few and far between through this section and the woods are very open so after a few minutes we ended up to the left of the trail.  Jeff took out his GPS and we then adjusted our course and intercepted the trail corridor just under a half mile from West Sleeper's summit.  Once we hit West Sleeper summit we ran into tracks from the previous day that had come in from the east so we no longer had to route find on the way over to East Sleeper and Whiteface.
- The last time I had been on the Sleepers was in July of 2011 and I just remembered how much I liked the trail and the smell of pine trees to go along with all the moose activity there was on the trail (although I didn't see a moose).  This time the trail was buried under several feet of snow and there was a huge blowdown patch near the East Sleeper Whiteface Col.  I can't wait until the snow melts to check out what it looks like with the snow not burying a lot of the destruction.
- After passing through the Sleepers we made our way up to Whiteface over the Rollins Trail along the ridge between Mount Whiteface and Mount Passaconaway.  The snow is so high that the hike between peaks beat the crap out of my arms and face as I was constantly being scratched and stabbed by branches.
- From Passaconaway we dropped steeply down the Walden Trail for a few tenths of a mile before hooking onto the Square Ledge, the Passaconway Cutoff, and the Oliverian Brook trails.  The hike back out becomes very gradual which is nice but seems to take forever at the end of a long mileage day.
- We made it back to the cars around 4:30ish all in one piece.  It was a lot of fun and a great group of knowledgeable and strong hikers to spend the day with.  A perfect hike for a beautiful spring day in the Whites!

Route for the day, click here for details

 Heading up the easy part of the Pine Bend Brook Trail

 The group makes their way up the steeps

Presidential Range from North Tripyramid downlook 

 Looking to the Pemigewasset Wilderness from a view just to the west of the Mount Tripyramid / Pine Bend Brook trail junction 

 Kali on the Tripyramids

 Waterville Valley and Mount Tecumseh (top).  Mount Whiteface and Passaconaway (bottom).

 South Tripyramid and the Sleepers from Middle Tripyramid

Descending the South Slide (Whitney's picture on right)

 Joe butt sleds in shorts to Jeff who acts as a bumper! (Whitney's pictures)

 Heather and Kali on the Kate Sleeper Slide (Whitney's pictures)

Me on the Kate Sleeper Slide (Whitney's pictures) 

 Looking back up the Kate Sleeper Slide and kicking in steps across! (Whitney's pictures)

 West Sleeper and heading to Mount Whiteface from East Sleeper

 Blowdown patch!

 Mount Whiteface Summit marker and heading over to Mount Passaconaway

 The Research Bowl and Mount Passaconaway

 Along the Rollins Trail

 The Tripyramids

 Looking towards Mount Carrigain and the Hancocks

 Tripyramids and Sleepers

 Pemigewasset Wilderness

 Mount Carrigain and Carrigain Notch

Hiking along the Walden, Square Ledge trails

 Passaconaway Cutoff Trail

 Smelly brook and bogs along Oliverian Brook

 Towards the end of the Oliverian Brook Trail new and old pines line the trail

 Signs spotted along the way!


  1. A remarkable hike! A traverse of the Sandwich Range, especially at this time of year, is far from being a run-of-the-mill trek. Love reading the reports from all of your adventures, and especially those that are out of the mainstream, such as this one.


    1. Thanks, John. I'm looking forward to get out and off the beaten path more as the snow melts away this upcoming summer :)