Iron Peak

Janet asked if I was free for a hike on Sunday. How about a trip to the NF Teanaway for my first time this year? I was on board. On Saturday I went for a morning hike on Squak Mountain with cool temperatures and mist. The coolest hike I can recall since spring. Sunday looked to be overcast on the west side but with some sunshine, cool temperatures, and high winds on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. With higher traffic on I-90 on Sunday's this year and a concert in the Gorge traffic was sure to be a problem coming home. With no smoke and a cool dry day it was worth it. We met at my home at 6:30 am and I drove us east. The NF Teanaway Road had just been graded and the potholes were gone. It was fast and easy driving up to the Beverly Creek Road. Heading up it we saw a car ahead near the first big drainage fiasco. The road had no history of drainage problems at that spot but a decade ago the Forest Service decided to put ditchs across the road in two places. They are now deeper and a real challenge for low clearance vehicles. The car ahead tried to cross and decided to back down the road. The road is narrow but we just managed to get around him. On our drive down later that car was parked on the far side of the road. With four wheel drive and 8.5" of ground clearance I had no problem crossing. The second one higher up was bad too but we had no problem with that. We arrived at the trailhead at 8:32 am. By 8:40 am we were on our way. It was 52 degrees.

The bridge at the start is damaged. Sign says only one person at a time. Some bolts holding down the wood slats are pulled up. Hopefully it can be repaired before winter snow weight breaks it in half. Janet and I did this same trip on 11-04-12 . That day was much different. It was cold and rained much of the day. This day was much cooler than normal but a comfortably cool summer day. With the wind out of the west our northern heading route should shield us from the wind until we reached the summit ridge. The first half mile on the old road went fast. In places the wide old road has narrowed to single file between high brush. Bean Creek was an easy rock hop. Just after that the trail has had some recent work. A sloping section of trail on a steep slope high above Beverly Creek now is less sloping. Not much wider but much safer hiking. Several trees have also been cut out this year. One hiker zoomed by us. The only person seen before the summit ridge. The forest section is in great shape.

We emerged from the forest into the more open meadows. The creek is often underground where the trail nears it. While not large it was running. Some recent rain provided running water in a number of places in the basin. After a very dry summer it must have rained recently here. In the good wildflower spots there were just a few scarlet gilia still blooming. Not much else. A few switchbacks and we were heading straight up the valley. Bill Peak came into view and then Teanaway Peak. There were a few small clouds blowing by the top of Teanaway Peak. The sky was still mostly overcast though it soon began to clear. We reached the Fourth Creek Trail junction  at 10:16 am. That was 2.5 miles in 1:36. There was one tent at the junction. We stopped for food, water, and to switch from long to short sleeve shirts. With some sunshine it felt a bit warmer. My thermometer still read only 53 degrees.

From the junction over to the crossing of Beverly Creek there as running water in several places. Very unexpected. The meadow was mostly done blooming though we saw some, asters and Indian paintbrush in bloom. Now we had 1.3 miles up uphill to the saddle between Teanaway Peak and Iron Peak. A meadow part way up had gentians just starting to bloom. There were several other flowers in bloom including harebells. Not bad for late August of an especially hot and dry summer. As we neared the 6100' saddle we could hear voices from up on Teanaway Peak. At the saddle I could see about four scramblers coming down the ridge. That is about the hardest way to come down. When they reached the saddle they said they were doing a loop trip and had come along the ridge from Longs Pass. That is an interesting route.

The wind began blowing steadily at the saddle. Still nothing like the 21 mph forecast gusts. I put on sunscreen and also a hooded windshirt. Partly to keep warm and partly for the hood to hold my ball cap on in the wind. I have always enjoyed the ridge walk from back in the mid 1980s when there was no trail to now with a definite switchbacking trail up the steep part then less built on to the summit. We passed a few groups coming down. The route up from the NF Road on the west side is 1.3 miles shorter and much more used. Another reason I like the Beverly Creek route. One group said the wind was not too bad until near the summit where it was howling. When we reached the summit it was a steady gentle breeze. So much the better. We arrive on top at 11:58 am. 3:18 for the 4.5 miles. Nine years earlier we took 3:02 to summit. I took more photos this time as we were not hiking in cloudy rainy weather. That accounted for some of the time difference.

We were alone on top and it stayed that way. Now it was about 75% blue sky. Mt. Stuart was in the clouds along with Mt. Daniel when we arrived They were both in the clear before we left. Mt. Rainier was never seen but we could see all nearby peaks and even to Three Queens far to the west. It had been very cloudy and lightly raining going over Snoqualmie Pass so this was an improvement. We did not want to return too late as the concert traffic along with heavy Sunday traffic could be a real mess by late afternoon. Still the view was great and the wind died down just for us. We packed up and headed down at 12:31 pm. A little over half an hour alone on top of Iron.

We made much better time along the ridge. Not far along the wind really picked up. It continued down to the saddle. Just before reaching the saddle we passed three guys. The third one was Gil Aegerter. We stopped to talk a little. The were out overnight. Always fun to run into someone I know on the trail. From the saddle to Beverly Creek went much faster than the ascent. The entire route is moderately graded though rocky in spots. Much easier to hike down. We took another break back at the Fourth Creek junction. The tent owners were packing up to head out. The hike out was very quiet as usual on this trail on a Sunday afternoon. I think we saw one more person heading up.

We reached the trailhead at 2:58 pm. Descending in 2:27 cut 51 minutes off our heading up time. For the day we hiked 9 miles with 2900' of elevation gain. On the way home I stopped in Cle Elum to fill up with gas $.70/gallon cheaper than in North Seattle but the line was long and did not move for about 10 minutes. Mission aborted. I had enough gas to make it home. The slowdown began just after merging onto I-90 at 3:40 pm. Some very slow spots where we hardly moved. Some fast sections where we drove at 60 mph for 6 or 7 minutes covering 6 or 7 miles. The last slowdown went from the bottom of the Easton Hill to the new third lane at the wildlife overpass. No problems after that. Probably added about 30 minutes to our return time. Bad but not nearly as bad as Highway 2 on most any Sunday. The great hike with cool temperatures and overcast turning into blue sky more than made up for the slow traffic. It was was a terrific hike on one of my favorite and most hiked trails. Janet and I had a great time.

Big Pine Tree
Talus Field
Scarlet Gilia
Another Flower
Bill's Peak In Sight
Teanaway & Bill's Peaks
Iron & Teanaway Peaks
Small Ferns
Fourth Creek Junction
Indian Paintbrush
Pearly Everlasting
White Flower
More Paintbrush
Bill's Peak Looms
Volcanic Neck & Bean
Bill's Peak Again
Colorful Rock
Teanaway Peak
Bill's & Little Annapurna
Iron Peak Ridge
Jolly Mountain
Janet Nears Summit
Summit Just Ahead
Stuart Range
Three Queens
Neat Pattern
Heading Down
Beverly Creek Valley
Bill's One Last Time
Colorful Paintbrush
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2021