A Pleasant Day on Liberty and Flume with a descent of Flume Slide Yeeh Hah! 1/6/13


Help Support vftt.org:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Sunshine Chris

New member
Dec 21, 2008
Reaction score
Webster, NH
Hikers- Sunshine Chris, Dave Bear and Thor
Summits- Mt. Liberty and Mt. Flume- Chris's W # 6 & 7, Thor also needed these for winter, Dave Bear already had them
Trails Taken- Liberty Spring Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail and Flume Slide Trail
Started at Basin parking lot- took short bushwhack onto Liberty Spring Trail
Elevation: about 3600'
Time: Took us 8 hours even
Here are some pics:
http://s1343.photobucket.com/albums/o793/CrystalCreek7760/Mt Liberty and Flume with Dave on 1-6-13/

http://s1343.photobucket.com/albums... pics of Mt Liberty and Flume on Jan 6th 201/

I hadn't decided where to head to this weekend when Dave Bear called to see what I was up to. He suggested Liberty and Flume and I agreed. Thor and I both needed them for winter. I met Dave at the park in ride north of Concord and we headed north. We stopped at Dunks for breakfast and McDonalds in Lincoln to get our hiking boots and gaiters on and make one last run at the bathroom. We ran into folks Dave knew while we were there.We reached the Basin parking area on the north side of the highway and parked in the upper lot. After final preparations which included donning our micro-spikes and putting our snowshoes on our packs we headed off on the bike path with light snow showers, overcast skies and temps around 20 degrees.

We took the short bushwhack to the Liberty Spring Trail and began our climb. The footing was great and snowshoes were not needed. I had not been on this trail and soon wished for the switchbacks that Falling Waters had to offer. We soon were de-layering and working hard as the trail began to gain in elevation.

The brook crossing was open but easy to cross. Warren and Allison soon caught up to us and we talked awhile with them before letting them go on ahead of us. A few others came by now and again so we knew we were not going to be alone out here today. We asked them all if they were planning on going over to Flume and if they were doing an out and back or going down Flume Slide Trail. We were planning to go to Flume and were also thinking about going down on the "Flume Slide Trail, Some folks said they were going to Flume, some changed there mind and decided to go back at Liberty and one said he was going down Flume. Dave led as we continued the climb to the Liberty Spring Tent site.

I occasionally checked my altimeter to gauge our progress. I find the altimeter to be a nice tool to gauge my progress and find I get less discouraged knowing how I am doing. I made sure this weekend to drink and eat regularly so I would not bonk like last weekend. It was pretty discouraging to get within .4 miles of the summit of Mt. Cabot and turn back last weekend because I was too cold, it was too windy and I had bonked really bad on the way up. That was not going to happen today so out came the banana bread at the tent site.

Dave and I approached the Franconia Ridge Trail and turned right to complete our climb to Mt. Liberty. The trees were heavy laden with rime ice and snow and hung in our way here in there as if to say you don't really want to go up there on top! The trail was drifted in some here and there but still no real need for shoes. Before topping out we donned jackets and hats. We ran into Becky and her dog Zara ( a 10 month old Bermese Mountain Dog) just before the summit and continued together to the photo opts sight at the high point of Mt. Liberty.

It was pretty windy and cool with no views so we moved on quickly to get below treeline. On the way down into the col we ran into J & J, a guy I had met on Kinsman's I think and some others. We said hello ahd kept on moving as lunch was beckoning us. Becky took a photo of Dave and I and we took one for her...

and then she continued on with us to Flume as she was thinking about going down the Flume Slide too. Dave, Becky, Thor and I took a few minutes to have something warm to drink and a sandwich. I had brought along some beefaroni to have with my sandwich and shared some with Dave Bear. It really hit the spot. The dogs played around and socialized. Becky noticed Thor run off with my thermos lid and Dave confiscated it. I sure am glad she noticed because that thermos is my favorite cuz it keeps things so warm. Our lunch really hit the spot and we were off and running again.

Well, ok, we were off and moseying along again. We gave Becky and Zara the opportunity to move on ahead of us so we wouldn't hold her up. The trail was softer here between Liberty and Flume but still a decent path and we rarely sunk in at all. We met Warren and Allison again on their way back from Mt. Flume. We met Becky and Zara just as we were approaching the summit. She said she had tried to get Zara to go down off the other side of Flume and the dog would have none of it so she was headed back. We wished her safe travels and continued to the summit for pictures. No views and windy so we got moving quickly down off the other side. There was a narrow spot or two to pay close attention to so as not to fall off the mountain and then we were down in the trees. Thor did really well on this section of trail and Dave was really pleased with him! Good boy Thor.

With 2 winter summits behind us I was a happy camper and looking ahead to what we would find when we got to the Flume Slide Trail. We arrived shortly and found the top all blown in pretty deep but decided to head on down some and see what we would find. There was at least one set of boot prints ahead of us. We arrived at the beginning of the steeps and there the fun began. The person ahead of us had done a-lot of butt sliding. Not my thing! DID I SAY "NOT MY THING". :( We proceeded slowly with care mostly hugging one side or the other pushing through the deep drifts to slow us down and holding onto trees for dear life. This did nothing for my damaged shoulder I have been trying to get healed since the end of July but nothing else could be done. Thor seemed to be making great choices and managing well. We ran into a few icy spots, some really sketchy moments, some short hair raising sliding and the longest .8 miles of excitement I have no interest in doing ever again. Dave and Thor thought it was fun though:D. I lost my hat and my camera but noticed both and retreived them before moving on. I am hoping Dave Bear has some pics I can add later of the Flume Slide.

For anyone else considering going down this way any time soon, the snow is pretty loose, there is ice in places underneath and snowshoes are not going to be the best thing. Micro-spikes or maybe crampons and quite a bit of tree holding are the way to go along with some courage. Not for the faint of heart, for sure. If you are a butt sliding maniac you will probably love it. :cool:The trail seemed to be so much more gradual for the next 2.6 miles back to the Liberty Spring Trail. I really enjoyed this section although my legs kind of wish it was a teeny bit shorter. We crossed several brooks that were open yet negotiable. Thor thought twice on one crossing but soon came on across.

We got back to the Liberty Spring Trail and Dave took one micro-spike off that had a big ice ball on the heel that was really bothering him and when we got to the short bushwhack he put Thor back on leash so he would not bolt for the parking lot. It had started to snow again and the sun had set. When we came to the little log crossing a small muddy stream right before the bike path Dave was proud to see Thor negotiate his way right across the log instead of jumping in or over the brook. This was a first for him and on leash besides, and Thor didn't even pull Dave into the brook. He was a proud father of his young man Thor. We arrived back at the parking lot at 5 pm sharp. It was a great day to be out winter hiking and my confidence was restored after last weeks incomplete summit. I had bought a new fleece jacket at EMS that had pit zips that I thought would really help with managing my heat and was very pleased with it's performance when I wore it on the ridge-line and on the decent. Zipping and unzipping layers on my upper half,taking hats on and off or pushing them up above my ears or below and taking my gloves on and off is helping me to manage my overheating which tends to be very challenging. I am either too warm or too cold so much of the time. I feel like I'm starting to figure it out though and I am more comfortable and have less soaking wet clothing. The better weather as compared to the sub zero temps and wind of last weekend were much more comforting and not so intimidating which helped me to enjoy myself more and not be so nervous. It was another great day out with Dave Bear and Thor. Thanks guys.
Last edited:
Good description of the Flume side descent. I did it 15 years ago with a couple of AVSAR folks in the winter with a deeper snowpack and their comments near the bottom were "boy I hope we make it out without needing rescue as we would be really embarrassed to admit we went down this way .

There was enough snow that day that our approach was to take long strides with snowshoes and create mini avalanches then ride them down. I really cant suggest that method as occasionally the guy out back , me, would run out of snow cover and catch a snow shoe leading to an uncotnrolled tumble. I pulled muscles that I didnt know I had and they were still reminding me they were not happy for a few years.

Definitely one of those hikes where in retrospect the level of fun/terror may not be worth the risk.
Cool option for a descent. Last fall a group of us descended the scree slope from the Flume summit til it ended then cut across to intercept the Flume Slide Trail below the steep section. It was pretty easy open woods and allows for a ski descent option. Sounds like you guys had a good hike!
Looks like a memorable and fun day! Descending the Flume Slide in winter can be exciting, but yeah...the ice under the top snow pack can be hard to read. Good thing there are plenty of trees to hang onto :)
Good job on two more winter summits. It sounded pretty interesting coming down the Flume Slide Trail. Great snow cover on the trails and summits so far this winter. Love it!

Last edited:
Nice trip report Chris and great time out on the trail with you! Love your picture of Thor at the corner! I could not believe how much the trip to Liberty reminded me of the afternoon I stepped off the back of Franconia Ridge to whack out to Owl's Head. Just the sight of Liberty's summit looming in the socked in visibility was uncanny! The trail conditions and temps were perfect for what we did that day and had there been less snow the trip off Flume would have been a bit sketchy! It had been alot of years since I was on that descent, at least over thirty-five and not in snow back then. it reminded me of coming down South Hancock or East Osceola when others have glissaded it a whole bunch. Probably best I did not bring a sled afterall. Most trails like that could get Thor in trouble if he was trying to chase me on a sled so I will have to keep that reined in to milder grades. Don't have a photo site account right now and not happy with the results of the latest camera anyway so not much to add to waht you have! Thanks again for sharing a hike!
Grat report and pics Chris! WOW, coming "down" the Flume slide, that had to be a thrill! :eek:
Thanks all for your comments and compliments and your sharing of the memories my trip report brought to you. Glad I shared it with you. I had a blast and it felt good for me to get so much accomplished in one day in winter. My knees were talking to me a bit last week about that slide descent! I am glad I only decided to do Waumbek this past week. It will give me a little more recovery time for this Saturday's hike. I gotta go back and get Cabot since I had to turn back the week before with Dave Bear when I was only .4 out from the summit. Learned a good lesson about not drinking and eating (cuz it was too cold to stop), I bonked badly (a first). I will get Cabot though if the weather will cooperate. I am not going on another really cold windy day though. That was just plain absolutely NO FUN!