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Trip Plan: Scaur Peak, North and Middle Tripyramid, and The Fool Killer

Scaur Peak, North and Middle Tripyramid, and The Fool Killer- Route Plan
Scaur Peak, North and Middle Tripyramid, and The Fool Killer- Route Plan

I’m leading a challenging day hike in the White Mountains on Wednesday May 2, 2012 (you can still sign up) and thought I’d publish my trip plan to show you what goes into planning a hike like this as an Appalachian Mountain Club hiking and backpacking leader. I have two very experienced co-leaders on this trip, Alex Nezdel and David Vogel, but I’m still responsible for the upfront planning and logistics.

This is a difficult route because it includes two separate New Hampshire Hundred Highest bushwhacks and two White Mountain 4,000 footers, further complicated by the fact that it’s early May. While the trails we’ll be hiking are either packed down ice or clear, we’re likely to encounter snow in the trees and may still need to carry snowshoes, a stove, and emergency insulation/shelter in case of injury or we get lost. There are also several stream crossings on this hike and our feet are likely to get wet early and stay wet all day.

The  Trip Plan: Scaur Peak, North and Middle Tripyramid, and The Fool Killer

Total Distance: 12 miles, with 5000 ft of elevation gain.

  • Scaur Peak (3605 ft)
  • North Tripyramid (4180 ft)
  • Middle Tripyramid (4140 ft)
  • The Fool Killer (3548 ft)
Sunset: 7:46 pm.

Meet at Pine Bend Trail head parking lot on the Kancamagus Highway (Rt 112) at 8am. Please be on time. Leader’s cell phone is <not-shown>: be advised that cell phone reception is poor on the Kancamagus Highway leaving Lincoln, NH. Rain will cancel – look for an email before 9pm the evening before the trip.

Trail conditions are likely to be wet this time of year, so please bring footware that will keep your feet warm, even if they get wet. It is also recommended that you bring high gaiters,  several extra pairs of gloves, socks, and bread bags or vapor barrier socks to keep your feet warm, especially if your shoes get wet. Bring a headlamp or even two in case we need to hike out in the dark, extra food, and layers.

Microspikes are mandatory and we will likely need snowshoes to avoid postholing on the bushwhacks to Scaur Peak and The Fool Killer. Bring them and we’ll decide if they’re needed at the trail head.

Please prehydrate by drinking 1-2 liters of water before getting to the trail head and eat a big breakfast. Bring 3 liters of water  on this hike and 3,000 calories worth of food, including some high carbohydrate snacks. The leader will bring a water filter to resupply water later in the trip if you run short.

Route: Hike up Pine Bend Brook Tr 2.4 miles to 3300′, shortly before the Scaur Ridge Tr junction. Bushwhack 0.3 miles to Scaur Peak (3605 ft) on a bearing of 320 degrees. This route will dip 50′ before climbing back up to the summit. There is a reported herd path but no canister. Reverse route and hike back down to Pine Bend Brook Tr. Continue 0.8 miles to North Tripyramid summit and then 0.6 miles Middle Tripyramid summit on Tripyramid Tr, passing Sabbaday Brook Tr junction. Backtrack 0.25 miles to Sabbaday Brook Tr junction and descend steeply to 3,050 feet. This is a very steep and slippery descent with few handholds and is likely to require microspikes. Bushwhack northeast for about 3/8 mile on a bearing of 82 degrees to The Fool Killer. This is likely to be the hardest climb of the day, steep and through spruce. There is a canister. Reverse route and hike back the way we came. Climb back up to the Tripyramid trail on the steep section that we descended. This goes fast because it’s so steep. Then hike back the way we came out on the Pine Brook Tr to avoid all of the stream crossings on the Sabbaday Brook Trail.

Please bring a map and compass. I prepared our route using the Wonalancet Out Door Club map of the Sandwich Range Wilderness. 

Please make every effort to carpool with other people on the roster for this hike. And yes, I do need a ride.



  1. Thanks for posting this. In planning, how do you decide upon a pace for the group? Do you have benchmarks for when you need to hit certain spots on the route? Did you include some extra time as a buffer, or do you know ahead of time that most people can keep the pace that is set?

    • Great question. I screen all participants before they come on the trip so I know what they’re capable of. This trip is also rated very strenuous so only crazy people signed up! I do have a turnaround time in my head which is 3pm. I want us to be headed back before then, although we have plenty of daylight and the trail back could be walked with headlamps after we get down from North Tripyramid.

      Bushwhacks can be difficult to estimate in terms of time: a mile per hour is a fairly swift pace, but it all depends on the density of the vegetation and slope angle. I did a lot of research on the routes beforehand and one of my co-leaders has already climbed Scaur Peak before, so I have a good idea about what to expect. All of us have also climbed Middle and North Tripyramid multiple times. Still, we will need to do real time condition assessment.

      We have a natural decision/turnaround point after Middle Tripyramid where we will decide whether to descend and do the final bushwhack or skip it and hike out. This route (there are multiple options) appealed to me the most because we don’t have to commit to completing the final peak until we’re much father into the hike

      Hope that provides some insight!

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