business treats Good Friday as a holiday. One day I have off when most
folks are hard at work. This year it looked like two sunny days in a
row after a cold and wet year so far. I needed to get in my first
backpacking trip of the year. For a solo trip I wanted to stick to a
route I knew well and one that a friend also had done on snow. If I did
not report in on Saturday Gary knows the route and would call for help.
Iron Peak is a great viewpoint at 6520'. Mt. Stuart blocks views north
but every other direction is clear. Great sunsets and sunrises too.
I've camped on the summit four previous times (1,
Traffic was light as I headed east. I had been told first that the NF
Teanaway Road was clear for 2 1/2 miles but that there were several
small washouts. I also heard that the road was snow free to Beverly
Campground. That is just beyond where I would head up the Beverly Creek
Road. The washouts are not far beyond the end of pavement at 29 Pines
Campground. Water is cutting right across the road. I took it slow with
my Subaru Outback and had no trouble. A low slung sedan might not do so
well. There is a small berm at the bridge over Stafford Creek. No
problem there either. The Stafford Creek Road is still completely snow
I continued on beyond the old Guard Station and crossed one patch of
icy snow. There was more snow ahead. I chose to turn around and park
here where there is ample room. The ice ended soon and the road is
mostly snow free to Beverly Creek. What snow there is would not have
been a problem. I was on my way by 9:30 am. Walking the 8/10th of a
mile of road went fast. The road up Beverly Creek is also completely
snow covered. There are a couple bare spots and one tree down about a
third of a mile before the summer trailhead.
There are a few feet of snow in the parking lot. The bridge across
Beverly Creek is snow filled up to the railing. It was cold overnight
and the snow was firm. I kept my snowshoes on my pack. Crossing Bean
Creek is always a mystery early in the season. It might have a snow
bridge all the way across or it might be a raging torrent. I carried
dive booties just in case I would have to ford it. The creek was no
problem at all. I climbed down snow and crossed small logs for ten
feet or so. I stashed my booties and headed on.
There was a faint ski track heading up the valley. Bean Creek Basin is
usually much more popular with skiers. I was surprised to see a track
heading up Beverly. A little way beyond the creek the summer trail
traverses a steep slope. The skier went straight across leaving a
narrow touring ski track. It was completely iced over. I could have
microspikes for this one spot. Instead I headed up the slope kicking
steps in the hard snow. part way across I post holed to my crotch. Not
so easy to get back out with a winter over night pack on. Once past
that spot the going was much easier. I should have put on snowshoes
earlier for traction as the ski track was solid ice. In places it was
hard to avoid it.
Before I exited the forest I did put on snowshoes. Much better
traction. The route broke out into the open lower basin. Blue sky and a
heck of a lot of snow for late April. No rocks showing anywhere. Really
pretty hiking up the open valley. Bill and Teanaway Peaks came into
view. Farther up the track headed towards Beverly Creek. I have crossed
the creek down here but usually find better snow bridges higher up. The
skier(s) crossed on a narrow snow bridge high over the creek. I decided
to pass. Soon I heard the loud droning of snowmobiles. I did not expect
to find them in Beverly Basin on a Friday this late in the season. I
never did see them but soon came upon the tracks.
I figured that if they crossed the creek there must be a very strong
snow bridge nearby. There was. I weigh a little less than a snowmobile
and crossed easily. I immediately left the machine track and went back
to making my own. I saw the skiers track heading up the valley towards
Beverly-Turnpike Pass. I angled up towards the pass between Teanaway
and Iron Peaks. The sun had been on the slope of Iron Peak for many
hours and I did not want to tempt fate making a long climb to the
ridge. Safer to do a short climb to the pass. It's longer but I was
solo and not inclined to push my luck.
The heat was the first I have felt since last fall. Bright afternoon
sun reflecting off the snow and uphill trail breaking slowed me down.
The amazing views did too. I dragged my DSLR along on this trip. More
weight but with the great conditions it was well worth it. Volcanic
Neck, Mary, Judi, and Bean Peaks came into view behind me. Mt. Stuart
came into view between Bill and Teanaway Peaks. The last climb to the
pass was steep but short. From the ridge top all the peaks to the west
came into view. A few clouds over the crest but mostly clear.
Now I just had a half mile or so with 300' of gain to the summit. The
heat was getting to me but I made slow steady progress. There is as
much snow on Iron as I have seen on any spring visit over the last
twenty five years. No rocks showing at all. Huge cornices hanging over
the east side. I usually camp just below the summit near some scrubby
trees to the right and some rocks to the left. It is just snow now with
a little of the trees showing.
On the positive side it is flat enough that leveling a tent site was
easier than usual. I arrived at 3:15 pm, dropped my pack and went to
the summit, then set up camp. The summit has a register in a rocky
spot. The rocks are buried many feet below snow now. The wind was light
and the views spectacular. I spent lots of time with my camera. After
dinner the wind picked up and I dove into my tent. I came back out near
sunset. There were no clouds left over the crest of the Cascades so the
colors were a little muted but still very nice. Definitely one of the
best places I have viewed sunset. By 8:30 I was in for the night and
the temperature plummeted. No clouds meant a cold night at 6500'.
My Akto is a small and warm tent. I have recorded 5-10 degrees above
outside temperatures. I noticed 25 degrees inside the tent for the low.
Probably mid to high teens outside. A 2:30 am nature walk was frigid. A
pee bottle would have been a good idea. My boots were frozen solid and
just getting them on was a battle. In the morning I was up early enough
to see the sunrise. About 5:50 am. I stayed in bed until the sun hit
the tent and warmed it up.
I was a little worried about glissading off the summit. Too icy hard or
too soft. It was a little soft. I slid 400 vertical feet before soft
snow stopped me. With snowshoes back on it was a joy to drop down to
the creek. Sun on the peaks but too early for glare. Absolutely perfect
conditions. I picked up my uphill tracks and followed them down. Across
the creek a wide backcountry ski track joined in. It must have followed
my track yesterday.
The rest of the trip down was easy walking. The snow was softer on the
steep slope and I had no problem. Bean Creek was easy too. I made it
back to my car at 12:45. 3:15 minutes down cutting off two hours from
my uphill time. I did not see a soul and only heard snowmobiles for a
few minutes. Almost total solitude. A summit camp heralds the opening
of spring snow scrambling in the Teanaway area. With all this snow
there should be many more weeks of it this spring.
Click on thumbnails to get
Beverly Creek Junction
Snow At Trailhead
Bean Creek Crossing
Solid Snow Bridge
Beyond Fourth Ck Pass
Almost To Pass
On The Ridge Of Iron
Wind Blasted Patterns
Summit In Sight
No Rocks On Summit
Bean, Mary, & Earl Pks
Dug Out A Tent Site
Campsite at 6500'
Puffy Clouds & Stuart
Bill's & Stuart Range
Stuart Close Up