View Full Version : Help with route planning in Sandwich Range please

08-26-2008, 02:27 PM
Hello -
Planning to do a 3day/2night backpacking trip in the White Mountains next weekend and I'm looking for comments on our intended route. I, personally, have never been to the WM. My trip partner has been there but not in a while.
Here is what we've mapped out:

start at oliverian brook trailhead
to passaconoway cutoff
to square ledge trail
to walden trail to mount passaconoway
to dicey's mill trail
to rollins trail
to whiteface summit
to kate sleeper trail
summit east sleeper, and back to the downes brook trail back to the road walk the road back to our car at the oliverian trailhead

A few specific questions:

which points make the best overnight stops (I realize below the treeline)
given that we are in moderate physical shape and have decent experience, is the route too aggressive or too easy? Anything we should add/subtract?
We thought of adding the Tripyramids, but we're not sure if that would be overkill - comments?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to help us out.

KD Talbot
08-26-2008, 09:23 PM
For most experienced hikers this would be a moderate day trip. Adding overnight packs will make the trip somewhat harder, but still quite doable. If you plan on being out for three days definitely include the Tripyramids. Short easy hike from East Sleeper to the summit of South Tripyramid. If you parked at Downe's Brook Trailhead you could return via the Sabbaday Brook Trail and have a short road walk to return to your car. This would mean a roadwalk at the beginning and the end of the hike, which you may or may not want to do.

This route over the Tripyramids will avoid the difficult North and South Slides by simply traversing the ridge between South and North Tripyramid summits. Most of this hike will be in the Sandwich Range Wilderness Area and specific camping rules will apply, check here:


Good luck, and I always charge a full trip report and pictures for my knowledge and experience.:D


08-26-2008, 09:29 PM
Yeah, I have to agree with KD. We did that trip a little while ago and managed to finish the hike and get back home (in southern NH, maybe two hours away) by three o'clock or so. Unless you're in horrible shape, I'd say no harm in adding a little something else to the trip. :)

08-27-2008, 10:46 AM
Thanks for your great replies!

Your suggestions confirmed our doubts and we've added all three tripyramids via the south side and we are gonna hike out Sabbaday.

Can anyone suggest locations for camp sites (tent - we don't want shelters or huts). We are thinking about hiking in early Friday night to get a jump start on the weekend - what do you guys think? That being said, we'll camp Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night - hike out on Monday.

All suggestions greatly appreciated.


KD Talbot
08-27-2008, 05:36 PM
You'll be able to find good spots off of Oliverian Brook Trail, then on East Sleeper and then off of Sabbaday Brook Trail. Just keep your eyes open for them. Keep in mind you need to be 200' off the trail and no campfires. Peruse the site I linked earlier as there may be specific rules for this wilderness area.


08-27-2008, 08:58 PM
Thanks again KD - good to know.
We have reviewed the rules and regs of the area, and maybe I misunderstood, but I thought that some areas allowed campfires. Can you please link me to that page - I guess I missed it!
Thanks for the info - I'd hate to break an important rule like that.


KD Talbot
08-28-2008, 06:59 AM
I guess it depends where you are. Most backpackers carry a lightweight BP stove, like a Jetboil:


THe idea is to hike and camp and "Leave No Trace".


Backcountry rules here:



08-28-2008, 07:41 AM
Ok thanks - that's what I was hoping.
We do have a stove, which we will use for sure - but we were planning on having the option of using a fire as a backup (so we don't have to carry both stoves).

We certainly respect and cooperate with the LNT philosophies - we would like our kids to see what we saw someday!

Thanks again for all your help - we're really looking forward to next weekend.
Stay tuned for trip report.

08-30-2008, 04:14 AM
Well forums with any site is always supported to make more people aware of the things they dont know. Well i think here we can get more what we expected.The White Mountains are bounded on the west (and north) by the Connecticut River basin, and on the south by the Lakes Region of central New Hampshire. (NH route 25 is a decent southern boundary.) To the east they cross the border into Maine, and subside gradually toward the coast. To the northeast, the boundary is drawn somewhat arbitrarily at Grafton Notch, where the main line of the Appalachians assumes the name of Blue Mountains.


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09-17-2008, 02:03 PM
We are finally heading up this Friday to do the trip above. I am concerned that there is a lack of visible water sources on the trail map past east sleeper. Can anyone comment on this? We were planning to carry 2 quarts each, filtering along the way from available sources - but may need to carry more by the looks of it.



KD Talbot
09-17-2008, 09:30 PM
You're right. You won't find any water after you start gaining elevation until you are well on your way back down. From Passaconaway to North Tri there is nothing. Carry plenty.


09-18-2008, 11:51 AM
Hmm. I thought I could get a little farther than that! It looks like there may be a water source at the junction of the Downes Brook and Kate Sleeper trails, no? I'll take your word for it since I have not been there. We plan to have 4-6 quarts between two of us - do you think that will be sifficient?

KD Talbot
09-18-2008, 02:38 PM
Sorry, missed this:

"The only sure water on or near the Kate Sleeper Trail is on the Downes Brook Trail just north of the junction between the two trails in the sag between Whiteface and the Sleepers."


Be sure to filter it! 4 to 6 qts. should be enough, you can get more as you descend Sabbaday.


10-06-2008, 09:37 PM
As promised, here's our trip report - Sandwich Range 9/20-22

It looks like we picked the perfect weekend for the hike! We started on Oliverian Brook and ascended Passaconaway and Whiteface. We got a little turned around at one point on the OB trail where the blue markers went to the right and the trail continued along a logging road on the left. There was a marker on the tree where someone scratched “OT” and pointed to the left, but we ignored it. Don’t ignore that. It only set us back about a ½ hour, but 30 minutes nonetheless. We also lost about an hour along the Passaconaway Cutoff, since we were not expecting the ascent to start so early, and I complain a lot when I have to go “up.” :)

We left in the morning with 6 quarts of water and 2 pairs of stiff legs between the both of us and headed up the South Slide and over to the Middle Tripyramid. We dropped our packs at the junction of Sabbaday Brook Trail to ascend the North and it was such a relief! A fellow hiker told us to enjoy our “walk” and we had to laugh at how funny we must have looked coming down the North Tripyramid with only a camera and an empty Nalgene bottle.

After picking up our packs of lead, we headed down the Sabbaday Brook to our second night’s campsite. That Sabbaday Brook trail is very tricky to descend with full packs - we did not anticipate the steepness of that trail either, and we had to really take our time. Just as our knees were about to buckle after the past 2 days, we finally found the perfect campsite right past the 2nd brook crossing. It felt like heaven.

The weekend couldn’t have been more awesome and it’s inspired us to plan a one-nighter for next weekend. We’ll probably ask for some advice on that trip, since we found so much help for this one.

Thanks for everyone’s advice on the water and the addition of the Tripyramids - you really made our weekend.
Pics here if you’re interested:

KD Talbot
10-06-2008, 10:28 PM
Glad you had good weather and a good time! You'll always remember these trips.


10-07-2008, 08:18 AM
Wonderful photos! It was like being on the hike with you. Thanks for taking us along.

10-07-2008, 09:14 AM
Great pictures it looks like you guys had perfect weather for a great hike. I really like the waterfall photos. Thank you for sharing.

10-07-2008, 09:40 AM
Looks like a great hike! I didn't think open fires were permitted? Thanks for sharing.

10-07-2008, 09:47 AM
Nice TR and pictures! I'm glad you had such clear views and nice weather. I especially like the picture of the cairns by the brook/river.

KD Talbot
10-07-2008, 11:29 AM
Well, yeah, fires are permitted under certain restrictions and outside of certain areas, but the general philosophy nowadays is LNT.



10-07-2008, 02:51 PM
Thanks everyone - glad you enjoyed them. It was the perfect weekend!

Fires are permitted in the Sandwich Wilderness area, and we're expected, of course, to leave no trace. I think that the allowance of fires in this area is fairly recent.

In one site we used an established fire pit, and in the other we had a small fire with only downed wood. We made sure to scatter the ashes and replace ground cover before we left in the morning. We left it as we found it so that YOU can enjoy it! :)