View Full Version : E Sleeper via Downes Brook question

06-23-2015, 08:17 AM
Iím thinking about doing E Sleeper within a week (one of 3 NH NEHH I need) and am considering coming in from the Kanc on Downs Brook Trail. It looks like this approach is 1.4 miles longer than coming in from Blueberry but is almost 1200í less elevation gain. I hurt a knee a month ago coming down baldpate and itís still bothering me some so the reduced el gain looks attractive. However, it also looks like there are as many as 10 brook crossings. Does anyone know or have a guess about how difficult the crossings would be this time of year or any other info on this approach? Thanks

06-23-2015, 08:35 AM
Downes Brook is pretty goshdarn rocky, which is not going to be fun with a bum knee, and there's still a fair bit of water sloshing around the Whites (although I have not been up Downes Brook specifically this year.) Blueberry Ledge is steep and at points scrambly, but the footing's fairly good; the worst part would probably be the Sleeper trail between the Rollins Trail and Downes Brook. Downclimbing the scrambles on the way back could also be interesting.

Depending on your preference for balancing elevation and mileage, coming in from Waterville and the South Slide of Tripyramid could be an option, since a good chunk of that is on the Livermore Road. The exit from the slide's a bit tricky to find.

06-23-2015, 09:21 AM
Downes Brook is pretty goshdarn rocky, . Glad I asked! I don't think my knee is ready for "goshdarn rocky" yet. Think I'll shift my aim to Peak above the Nubble (PAN). I think its a fairley easy bushwhack and is short (~4 mi)with no rocky trails. Or, maybe Doesett VT, though I did want to do it and the Jays on a 2-3 day. Thanks

06-23-2015, 10:17 AM
I have a completely different opinion of Downes Brook Trail. It is an old logging grade from start to finish and is one of the steadiest grades to the ridgecrest in the whites. There are several stream crossings but barring major rains, they are all not that difficult. Yes there are rocks but unlike the southerly approaches no cliffs or steep sections. The most annoying part is that its part of the Sandwich Range wilderness and the occasional blowdowns across the trail are annoying. It also cuts out having to go up and over whiteface and back down again to access the Kate Sleeper trail. The approach from Ferncroft is almost the same distance via Blueberry ledge with a set of ledges and a extra 580 feet of vertical to gain and lose. At this time of year with the trees leafed out, streams are not running high unless it has rained in 24 hours. Take a look at stream flow gauges and you will see the rapid drop off http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nh/nwis/uv?site_no=01074520. As long as you wait 24 hours after a major rain event you should be good to go.

06-23-2015, 10:20 AM
Maybe you could just blow up all the rocks with an eludium Q36 explosive space modulator to make the walking easier? :)

On a serious note, jniehof is spot on with his description. I did Downes Brook last October and the grades are indeed comfortable but there are 10+ true river crossings (the first 4-6 of which are significant) and the upper sections do have a lot of mossy rocks and slick river crossings. I don't specifically recall it being brutally rocky but it was definitely slippery. The sleeper trail is also pretty awkward and rugged as it approaches the South Slide. Also, when I went in OCT there were still numerous awkward blowdowns to negotiate despite the massive effort of the past few years clearing that microburst area out. On a wet day it could be big trouble with knee issues. While the good grades and reduced elevation gains are tempting I'd agree that it is not "bad knee" territory.

06-23-2015, 10:20 AM
You will definitely want to wait 24 hours after today's heavy rain!

06-23-2015, 11:35 AM
Maybe you could just blow up all the rocks with an eludium Q36 explosive space modulator to make the walking easier? :).
LMAO! Took me a few seconds to catch what you were talking about. :)