View Full Version : The skinny on Flume Slides

06-22-2005, 11:23 AM
I am doing the Fliberty (aka Flume Liberty) this weekend. Considering the Flume Slides loop or a Liberty out and back. My son wants to do Flume slide trail for bragging rights. My wife will be with us and she has just a little hiking experience and is in good shape. Besides the usual admonitions about the slides when wet, how is this approach as an ascent? How does it compare to the Owl's Head slide?

06-22-2005, 11:28 AM
Flume has more ledges -similar to North Trypyramid- and less loose scree like Owl's Head.

My 4 year old brother did it back in the 70's without an issue, so I don't think it's anything too terrible.

06-22-2005, 11:35 AM
If the Flume Slide is wet, then it can be very difficult requireing you to venture into the trees to get around dagerous sections. I would not take take a novice there at this time of year.

Bob Kittredge
06-22-2005, 11:36 AM
Flume Slide isn't too bad. There's some scree at the bottom, but most of it is just ledgey. There is some hand-over-hand scrambling, but nothing too scary. I did it one dry September, and I remember one woman saying "this is a close to vertical as I want to get". Your son may very well enjoy it more than your wife. If you encounter wet, steep ledge, you can generally just stay to the side and use the trees for security. I've never done Owl's Head, but I'd say this has less exposure than either Huntington Ravine or North Slide on Tripyramid.

06-22-2005, 01:01 PM
Everyone, thanks for the info. You have been most helpfull.


Sherpa John
06-22-2005, 03:19 PM
Hey Puck,

I had a discussion with Frodo coming DOWN the Flume Slide this past winter about how we both feel it is the most overatted trail in the Whites.

It is a mostly slab slide with various instances of scree which allow you to hold on to. I did it in '93 with 5 VERY inexperienced hikers and we all did just fine.

Just don't look down :eek:

Compared to other slides... Owls head slide is wha I call a loose Slide and they have nothing in common.

Tri Slide - Slab slide as is Flume... but steeper and less to hold on to.

Either way... In Summer... Flume is for Ascent.. not descent.


06-22-2005, 03:40 PM
I had a discussion with Frodo coming DOWN the Flume Slide this past winter about how we both feel it is the most overatted trail in the Whites.

I absolutely agree with this comment. Not that the Flume Slide is a cakewalk, but I don't put it in the same category with Owl's Head or the Tri's. This trail is not to be taken lightly, as in its not good for people who don't like to scramble, but there are a lot more difficult trails out there.

The first time I climbed it, I got to the summit thinking that I much have missed it, because I never felt like I was on a slide.

06-22-2005, 04:13 PM
My experiences with Flume slide have been coming down. I'd would not recommend it for anyone coming down. Going up is different.

06-22-2005, 04:35 PM
Puck, if your wife enjoys hiking with a bit of scrambling then she'll probably enjoy it. If she likes just hiking with her feet and not using the hands than she may not like it. Personally, I thought it quite fun.

Jim lombard
06-22-2005, 04:46 PM
I loved it, especially on a nice dry (http://www.seekingthepeakforkenya.com/flumeslidejpg.html) day. I'd like to try it in winter someday :)

06-22-2005, 05:01 PM
My quads sure were burnin' when I got to the top! :D

06-22-2005, 10:15 PM
I wouldn't want to do the slide going down, but going up isn't bad. It is a bit scrambly, but doesn't have a whole lot of exposure. If you must, you can force your way through the trees on either side of the slide.

06-23-2005, 07:55 AM
It appears I may be a lone dissenter here but after climbing up Flume slide last weekend in very wet conditions, it is certainly not a cake walk. Yes, there are numerous places along the route where you can detour off into the woods but then you would not be on the slide at that point, would you? Personally I would rate Owl’s Head the easiest of the three slides mentioned and I would rate them in this order; OHS, North Tri and Flume. I’ve done North Tri in the rain and because the slide is in the open, there is less growth of moss and lichen on the rocks. Thus the footing is rock solid even when wet. Owl’s Head is practically all loose scree and the only one of the three slides you can cruise down without using hands. Flume Slide is covered with a forest canopy and there is slimy growth over a significant part of the ledges and there are places where I could have slid 30 feet down the slabs. There are no places on Owl’s Head where this is remotely possible and North Tri’s rock is just too dry and knobby for this to happen.

Overrated? Ratings are subjective as is this opinion.


06-23-2005, 09:07 AM
here is my perspective of why i don't think its that bad and you guys will be fine.

Way back years ago when I first started hiking my wife, and I and 2 freinds (who at the time had only done white dot/cross on monadnock - we were all very green back then!!) did this and while challenging - was not that big of a deal for all of us.

We choose flume for no other resason than I visited the flume when i was a kid - didn't research it at all. didn't know about a AMC guidebook, etc...

It was dry when we did it (relativley dry as I think there is always a bit of water running down it). I have done it once or twice since then - all dry.

just like anywhere else - you have to watch what your doing in certain spots. There is not much exposure (if any)

but - there are spots where if you fall - your not going die - but you could get get hurt. (like any other trail) I know of at least one person who broke an ankle climbing down this trail due to weather. but hell you could do that anywhere.

basically - if its nice out, you go up and not down and your reasonble confomfortable on scrambles - you guys will do fine and have fun. Sounds like you guys have been out a bit and my guess is you will love this trail.

I agree - with the folks that say its bark (reputation) is much worse than its bite (how it really is)

The Sikes
06-23-2005, 09:11 AM
We did it when my kids were 5 and 7 with my Corgie! I had to carry him because he was slipping all over the place. We did it in the spring. It was wet but the kids loved it. I would have enjoyed it too if I didn't have to lift and carry the dog all the way up it.

As far as comparing it to Owl's Head, it's not as much loose rock as Ow'ls Head and I thought it was a little steeper but my memory may be faulty.

06-23-2005, 09:14 AM
I've only gone down it and didn't think it was as bad as the warnings we heard before hand.

06-23-2005, 09:38 AM
Thanks everyone. With the accurate descriptions I feel I have already hiked it.

Mike P.
06-23-2005, 04:15 PM
I think up North was easiest of the three discussed - never been down

While Up Owl's Head was easier, going down it is harder than up North Tri, I'd have to think just the length of North Tri would make it worse descending

Up Flume on a wet day can be a bit unsettling, I prefer loose over slick so that's why I'd put it over Owl's head.

Personally I'd consider myself to have cheated if I went into the trees but then never thought life & limb were in jeopardy. Kids should be fine, plenty of handholds, I've seen kids fly up it, it's adult who place a higher value on their skin & have fallen before that think more about where they are.

06-23-2005, 07:33 PM
Over the years I've brought a couple of mid-size dogs up Flume Slide with no troubles. I'd recommend that the dog have some experience and be comfortable with scrambling prior to trying it. I think North Tri is physically easier, but due to the exposure, mentally more challenging if you have someone worried about heights.

06-24-2005, 09:11 AM
I am extremly out of shape and I got up the flume slide with no real problems. It is a fun trail and it is easy to not only use the very side of the trail and trees to help one get up but it is possible ibn many places to simply go off into the woods and advance upwards of 50 vertical feet or so.

I also did it in sandals - not a problem.