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 1/27 Tripyramids, Sleepers, Whiteface & Passaconaway 
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Leg Burner
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 1/27 Tripyramids, Sleepers, Whiteface & Passaconaway
Jeff had been away on vacation (in Florida :shock: ) and said he needed to get back and hike a "good one" to make up for lost time. We decided on a traverse that had a very short car spot would fit his "order".

The first car was left in the Downes Brook trailhead parking area, for the end of the hike, then we drove back West on the Kanc, just a few miles, to the Pine Bend Brook trailhead to start our journey. We strapped our crampons & snowshoes on our packs, as the approx 15.8 mile traverse might warrant their use along the way.

The Pine Bend Brook trail had been completely smooth on my visit just the day before, with Jonatha & Devon, but today, the winds had picked up which moved a lot of snow back into the trail up on the shoulder of Scaur Peak & the upper reaches of the mass of the North peak. The wind gusts were quite strong, but the trail is in the trees, so we were mostly protected from it's threatening wrath. The drifting continued just after North peak, so we strapped on our snowshoes which made the going much easier then pushing through the snow. The sun was shining & despite the cold wind, we could feel it's warmth when we traveled directly in it's path. We pulled our hoods up as we headed up to the summit of Middle, the wind seemed to have an extra bite to it here. Despite, we enjoyed the views to the West & East, as everything was crisp & clear on this day. On to South summit, which seemed to be sitting higher up in the sky than I remembered, but soon, we crossed the summit & headed towards the slide. As the trail starts to funnel down to the slide, the ice in the treadway increased, and we stopped to swap shoes for crampons. Once out on the slide, the sun's power had softened the surface snow to the point of forming snowballs between our crampon points. Not enough to be hazardous. The sun felt really good, enough to loose our shells once we reached the Kate Sleeper junction. The wind was blowing & pushing snow elsewhere on the mountain, unable to reach this area. We swapped crampons back to snowshoes for most of the remainder of the day.

The Kate Sleeper trail can be tricky to follow in places, but Jeff wasn't having a problem keeping us on course. The snow isn't that deep through the woods, but the snowshoes kept us from breaking through the ever present wet areas. Jeff had recently been asking about peaks that are included on the NH 100 Highest list, so we visited the 2 "Sleepers" as we traveled across this section. The West peak used to have a canister on it, (not sure if it was a 3000'er or something else) so we made a huge snowshoe circle around the 3 main spruce in the summit area. The East peak still has a sign on top (the canister was removed about 10 years ago) so we did a quick out & back on the spur trail. Just before the Downes Brook junction we stopped to eat, as we could hear the wind passing through that area, seemingly trying to find us again.

When we reached the junction of the Rollins trail, we encountered the only hiker we would see all day. A lone gentleman had come up the Blueberry Ledge Trail to access Whiteface summit, and he was starting his return trip. He told us it was his first time ever wearing crampons, and was very glad he had them for his ascent over the icy ledges. Across the Rollins trail we went, making our way to the last 2 summits of the day. Once across and to the junction of Dicey's Mill, we were surprised to see that no one had made their way to Passaconaway on this gorgeous Friday. Again, freshly smoothed out snow lay ahead of us. There were a few tricky / icy spots on the upper switch backs, but the trees were in the perfect locations to allow us to pull ourselves up & over these. On the upper shoulder, the wind found us once again. We made our quick visit to the summit spur, pulled out our shells & stashed our headlamps in a pocket, as we got ready to descend on the abandoned Passaconaway Slide trail. This is an incredibly S T E E P trail, but being a veteran skier, Jeff was willing to give it a try 8) Down to the view point, .3 miles from the summit trails, and this trail literally - drops - down the fall line. We made our way down - down - down & down some more, and when we came to a spot just before the ledges, we found a secure place to switch back to our crampons. We stashed our snowshoes on our packs, and turned our headlamps on. The trail winds it ways most beside the ledges, but down here, lower on the mountain side, the snow wasn't very deep, and the ice was lying just beneath it. We picked our way along the ledge, mostly off to the edges. Where the trail did cross, the pitch & ice didn't seem to be too bad. Then suddenly, we were on the Downes Brook trail.

The most exciting moments of the entire hike came when we went to make the brook crossings :shock: The brook, was like a river on this evening. The water was up slightly, and the ice was forming around anything that slowed its flow. It wasn't reliable ice, but brittle & unsupportive. We kept our crampons on, as at this hour of the day, getting wet didn't seem appealing. The trail recrosses several times, and I believe I remember about 5. Soon after the last one, we found the x-country ski route sign (tho it is facing the wrong direction............not orientiered to the terrain) which varified that we were just minutes away from the parking area.

All in all it was a really good hike. A truly beautiful day to be out in the forest.

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Sat Jan 28, 2006 9:25 pm
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Holy mountaineering! Your group descending the extremely steep Passaconaway Slide to rejoin the Downes Trail, 7 mountains, changing crampons to snowshoes and vice versa several times, icy water crossings at night, must have been a blast. I had to re-read this fantastic report several times to mentally experience what you physically did. Sounds like an amazing adventure somewhere between a trek and a journey. Love to read them. And love to hike 'em.

P.S. GH, oh yes, the one in Lincoln.

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Sun Jan 29, 2006 8:00 am
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Flatfoot
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nice walk--are you taking a day off??


Sun Jan 29, 2006 11:50 am
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Wow Cath, what weight motor oil do you have for blood!? :lol:

Machine.....MACHINE........MACHINE :wink:

Brian


Sun Jan 29, 2006 2:41 pm
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Brian ~ I'll level with you

It's the fuel............

Stoneyfield Farm Yogurt Smoothies and Chef Greg's Road Trip Cookies.
Trust me. That'll do it. Most of the Brutus Brigade has been converted.

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Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:18 pm
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Flatfoot
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 cookies
haven't seen or tried those cookies yet.are they as good as grandmas


Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:33 pm
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Flatfoot
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New Hampshire wrote:
Wow Cath, what weight motor oil do you have for blood!? :lol:

Machine.....MACHINE........MACHINE :wink:

Brian


I do believe she's runnin' Castrol "High Mileage" blend 5W-40 synthetic. :wink:


Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:45 pm
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Leg Burner
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"I do believe she's runnin' Castrol "High Mileage" blend 5W-40 synthetic. :wink:"

If this is true.............what would be in your viens my friend :lol:

Drew ~ yes you have :!: Remember those "banana" cookies :?:

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Sun Jan 29, 2006 10:19 pm
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Simply amazing. It takes me months to do what you do in a day
Please keep the trip reports coming, I love reading them, they're incredible and fun, and really sounds like a great group of seasoned climbers.
For those that don't know, I believe that Brutus is still the only dog recognized by the AMC for completing the winter 48.
(even a puppy beats me on these hills!)

Thanks Cath....and welcome aboard Tim!!!!!
Bill

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Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:35 pm
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Quote:
Brutus is still the only dog recognized by the AMC for completing the winter 48.


I believe that is the winter 48 in one season. Cath, please correct me if otherwise.

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Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:35 pm
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Id like to say hello as well, Tim!

Cath is one full throttle hiker (pun intended :lol: )

Brian


Mon Jan 30, 2006 9:20 pm
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Brutie (aka Brutus Rooney, former of Vermont)
finished the NH 4000'ers in Winter in January 2004
on the summit of Pierce. It took him a couple of Winter
seasons to get to #48

THEN.........
For calendar Winter 2004 / 05
he and Kevin tackled the NH 4's all in one calendar Winter.
They started on Cabot on the first day of Winter,
and finished on Cannon on March 6,2005.

They have since moved to California :cry:

But, they were just here for little over a week, for what we hope to be a annual Winter vacation. They hiked to: Camel's Hump, Moosilauke, Washington, Cabot, Kinsman's, Lincoln & Lafayette, Garfield and Carter Dome.

Brutie is such a special dog. Some of us like to call him the
"Chick Magnet", as the gals always fawn all over him, and he
just grins in his Newfie way.

This coming week is going to be a tough one, getting back into
hiking without them.

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Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:30 pm
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They finished the 48 in one winter. Then it seems they moved to CA. Miss you Kevin & Bruthasoras. Hope I am very wrong, in some ways but not in all ways!

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Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:26 pm
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Whoooa. you mean Brutus is a dog?! I thought he was a black grizzly bear :lol: :wink: .
Brian


Tue Jan 31, 2006 7:07 am
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