Mt. Tripyramid Slide - October 1, 2017
With a late start I got onto the trail around 10 am. I'm wearing sneakers instead of my Vibrams so I imagine it will be a nice cushy hike, but that feeling doesn't stay long. The first 2.5 miles are on a gated dirt road and it is an uneventful walk in. Two runners pass me and I contemplated jogging as well, but had a bunch of stuff in my pack and decide against it. After what seems like a long time, about an hour, I reach the Tripyramid trail up the north mountain. And it takes about 30 minutes to reach the slide.
Beginning of Tripyramid Slide
The slide begins as a normal and steep climb. Lots of big rocks and steps, and a lot of brush as well. I think to myself that it's not so bad, just strenuous. As you go higher the slide opens up more and more. The lower section is all a big rock slab and at points probably 50 feet wide. Route finding becomes more difficult and hand holds are pretty sparse. Even though I probably could just walk up it, I'm trying to use all my limbs. On a nice dry day like today slipping would not be fun. On a wet day you might end up in a semi-controlled slide. I mostly hang on either side of the slide instead of going right up the middle just because it feels too exposed. I also challenge myself not to use any trees and this is easily doable. It takes about an hour to get through the slabby portion.
Steep Middle Section of Tripyramid Slide
The last quarter is all loose rocks. It's fine going up, I am being careful not to knock any rocks down. As with all the other rock slides I wouldn't want anyone above me. The exposure here is mentally not nearly as bad as the slab section. I'm no longer concerned with tumbling down the whole thing. It takes maybe 30 minutes to get through here.
Last Section of Tripyramid Slide
The rest of the way to the peak is only a short and easy few minutes away. It's all in the trees and there really isn't any view. It's nice to be walking on dirt though. There is a small overlook on the north side. I go onwards to the middle and south peaks and it's not too much elevation change. Part way through I run into somebody I know and we catch up for a few minutes. It takes an hour to reach the south peak. And the south slide opens up to views once more and there are a few people hanging out on the large rocks here. This descent is somewhat treacherous because you have to take huge steps down. There's little danger of rock slide. I do slip several times but am able to catch myself. At some point this becomes mostly just sandy dirt. Although not really fun, it's kind of an unusual and cool terrain. I'm very happy to reach the bottom after about 45 minutes.
View from summit of Tripyramid North
Descending Tripyramid South Slide
The trail back to the dirt road is mostly flat. In my mind I think I'm close to done, especially since I reach the road in less than 30 minutes. From there it was another hour or so to walk out. Because the road is flat I try to move quickly, but this really aggravates my joints worse than the variable terrain on a normal trail. At this point it's all downhill and I'd do anything for a mountain bike right then. The road goes on seemingly forever, it is peaceful and I have time to reflect on the nature of pain. Even though I really want to stop and rest I also want to keep my momentum and see if I can finish in 5 hours.
I eventually make it back to the car at about 3:15, just over 5 hours. The pads of my feet and knee kills, I also discover a huge blister taking my shoes off. Someone in the parking lot asks if I had gone down the north slide, I told them I went the other direction. They apparently saw from a distance somebody going down the north slide and then shortly later heard a huge rockfall. Glad I wasn't anywhere near that. I recuperate for a bit and then head out.
Tripyramid South Trailhead
The dirt road portion was frankly very boring. If I went back I would definitely bike this portion or maybe even plan a bushwack. I did have a potential alternate route that avoided the road in the beginning and involved an abandoned trail. Even if I could follow my mapped route perfectly that would add at least 4-5 miles and probably many more hours, it is on my list of things to do.
Full loop on google earth satellite view
Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 3104'