Trekking through Powder to Earl Peak 11-25-2012
I attempted this trip the day before with the dogs but 2 miles in I noticed their paws were bleeding from the sharp icy crust covering the snow. The N. Fork Teanaway river road is currently passable by low clearance vehicles at least to Beverly creek, where a few inches of snow have been rutted down to dry gravel. The road to Beverly Creek trailhead however is covered in snow and my tires are nearly bald, so I parked and walked from the junction.
My thanks to the folks with the snowshoes who broke trail up to Bean Creek, from there on the deep snow was mostly fresh powder that had me constantly sinking to my thighs, bot not consistently enough to get used to it. The naturally snow-trenched trail was relatively easy to follow but i left it after a sketchy re-crossing of Bean Creek, opting instead to ascend to the saddle between Earl Peak and Bean Peak before continuing to Earl's summit.
|Alpenglow on Mary and Judy|
|Icy rock in Bean Creek|
Clear skies the night before meant lower temperatures today despite the ever-present sun. It took me nearly 5 hours of hard work to finally reach the summit, but the cold prevented me from lingering too long. Stuart and the Enchantments looked as impressive as ever covered in a fresh blanket of white. Bean, Mary and Judy looked tempting as I hoped to have time to make a loop of them on the way back, but the deep powder had me set on a smoother return along my own tracks.
|Just below Summit|
Mt Stuart and the Enchantments behind me
I enjoyed a few short glissades on the way down (video here) and then settled in for a long slushy return. Just past Bean Creek a lone pair of ski tracks appeared over my trail. I met the owner as he passed me on his way out about a mile from my car, the only soul I encountered all day.