Eastking, Zephyr and I planned to do a couple peaks on the west side this last Sunday 8/22/2010. As the weekend drew near, Sunday started to look kind of nasty. Good for the grass, but not good for some potential bushwhacking and slick rock.
Eastking threw out the idea to nourish our hunger for adventure in the Teanaway area. I know, another Teanaway Trip. The weather forecast in CleElum was calling for mid 60's and some clouds. This sounded better than the upper 90's we have had and much better than some nasty rain. It was a no brainer for us to head east. We talked about doing Mary’s, Judi’s and possible Bill's or Bean Peaks. The exact peaks would be confirmed as the day unfolded.
Our Loop Route Topo
Mary's and Judi's Peaks were named after Mountaineers of
the 1970s and '80s. Mary Sutliff and Judi Maxwell were woman who frequently led snow and ice axe arrest practices in the Bean basin.
I was glad we made the choice when I looked outside to pouring rain. I headed south at 5:30 am to pick up Eastking and Zephyr, both fellow dudes on nwhikers. I had never met either, but have had some conversations back and forth with Eastking on summitpost.org.
I got to the central meeting location at 6:30 am on the dot. Well more central for them, more south for me. They were gentlemen and took care of gas. I was excited to meet some new guys that shared the same passion I have for the outdoors. They loaded there gear in my truck and we were off. The truck was filled with great conversations of mountains, rivers, lakes, wildlife and just the epics of life... and also the aroma of Eastking's pizza pie in the back seat. Just three guys stoked for adventure.
We headed over the pass on I-90 and it was raining like crazy with poor visibility. Good day for a Bandera Hike… Right?
We rolled into CleElum and all Zephyr could talk about was this great little cafe in town. I wasn't extremely hungry, but after the wonderful stories of biscuits and gravy I felt like I hadn’t eaten for weeks. I told Zephyr, “let’s just get in and out; we aren't sitting down and drinking a whole pot of coffee... We have mountains to see...” Eastking didn’t have a lot to say, because he had just downed a whole freakin pepperoni in the back seat. I nosed my truck into a parking stall and we quickly grinded some great food. I'm not sure on the name of the place, those guys would know. Thanks for the heads up Zephyr; I will be back there again!!!
On full stomachs we took a left on the Teanaway Road and headed toward patchy clouds, blue skies and streams of sun beaming into the valley. The weather was complete opposite compared to the west side of the mountains. The road was a lot better than when I was there in June. A LOT BETTER!!! That road was terrible before. We stayed on the gravel road until it forked. We took the road to the right, which is 9737. Stayed on this road for a couple miles then we took a right on Road 112. This is right before you cross a bridge. Road 112 is a little more rugged, with some brush hanging into the road. Soon we were to the Beverly Turnpike Trail #1391.
We got on our gear and it was time to have some fun. I reminded the guys how I rolled my ankle earlier that week and it was still sore. They knew ahead of time that I might be slow because of the injury, but they were fine with going slow. Zephyr said he was slow, and offered to lead the way up. Um, he wasn't very slow. We got to the first junction in the trail in like 2 minutes... Our first objective was Judi's Peak. We read reports that people cross the creek and head up the ridge right after the junction. That section looked pretty steep, so we headed up the trail to the right for about a quarter mile. We then crossed the creek at its normal crossing spot. It was about 100 yards after we crossed the creek we went off trail to the left. It looked like we could connect to the ridge at a gentler traverse. We went cross country up the ridge over blow downs, loose rock and followed game trails here and there. Zephyr kept the same line and direction to reach the main hogback of Judi's Peak.
Judi's Peak (6,600')
Soon we got to the gully that separated us from that main ridge. We followed our ridge up further until the gully came to a gentle headwall connecting it to the main ridge. We traversed the headwall and started to climb up the ridge to gain its vantage point. Zephyr and I chose to go up some rock that looked solid, but turned out pretty loose.
Eastking chose to go up an avalanche chute full of loose scree and such. We yelled over at him and asked how it was goin, as he was climbing up the steep crap on his hands and knees. He said it was great and that he found a good way. We stuck to our large chunks of loose red rock. We finally got to the ridge. Eastking actually came out in a better spot than we did, just looked like a lot of work. We made our way up the ridge and caught up with him.
Soon all three of us were close together ascending the main ridge to Judi's Peak. The views from the ridge are great looking to the left at Iron, Gene's and Bill's.
We went up and down a bit in elevations. One highpoint looked like it could be Judi's, but when we got closer we knew it was still a bit further. We still had to make some extra effort to climb up so we could enjoy the views. The highpoint had a great view of the nice ridge walk ahead to Judi's Peak. We continued the easy to follow ridge to our first summit. The views were great and we could see Mary's Peak ahead and also the famous class 4 that separates Mary's and Bean Peaks.
Mary's Peak (6,700')
We had a snack on the windy summit and then continued along the ridge. The Teanaway ridges are so sweet. There were a couple spots of simple scrambling along the ridge, but nothing challenging. The wind started to really pick up and the sky to the west started to become dim. Of course the Teanaway continued to strong arm off the bad weather that was trying to push itself in. Throughout most of the day the Stuart Range was in and out of heavy clouds. The views were still really good despite the nervous skies all around. We started to feel like the only good weather around was on the ground we stood upon.
After a pretty easy effort we made it to Mary’s Peak. We put our jackets on because of how windy it was starting to become.
Zephyr And I On Mary's Peak
So far nothing more than a couple drops of rain out of the sky though. Not even enough yet to keep down the dust. At this point we decided to go for Bean Peak instead of Bill’s Peak. Bill’s just looked really far from where we stood. We also looked at how easy it would be to drop down off of Bean Peak back into the Bean Creek Basin below. It looked like a cupcake. It still looked like a jaunt over to Bean, but my ankle was feeling solid and only sore. Instead of staying on the ridge and scrambling the technical rock from Mary’s Peak to Bean Peak, we decided to drop down and skirt below the summit block and up its Southeast Ridge.
Bean Peak (6,743')
From just below Mary’s Peak we could see the trail ascending up the Southeast Ridge from the basin below. This is what we set our sights on. It went smooth as we skirted the long traverse and intercepted the main trail. I know that staying on the ridge would have made a perfect loop, but the class 4 didn’t look very charming to us.
We headed up the loose switchbacks and made it to the Southeast Ridge. We went a couple hundred yards until we were below the summit block.
We put our helmets on here for potential rock fall protection. The rock on Bean is solid, but there are still loose chunks that can come down. As you get closer it looks like a solid exposed class 3 scramble, but once you start going up it is barely class 3. I led the way just because I had done Bean before and was familiar with a good route. The last time I found a tight gully/chimney that makes you feel a bit more protected. We found the same gully and headed up. There are a couple physical, low class 3 moves that could be bad with one slip. The rock is sticky and hand holds are solid; so you would really have to mess up for a fall.
Once you climb out of the gully/chimney you pull yourself up a couple tall boulders. Then there is a short knife edge for about 5 feet with a couple hundred feet drop on the left side. Eastking was so stoked that he didn’t notice the knife edge on the way up. I told him to check it out on the way down and he did.
We had some food and a break on the summit. We all agreed that Bean Peak was a lot of fun. It was a good peak to end on. The route we took was a blast and a good combination. It’s amazing at how many different route combinations you can take, to summit multiple peaks.
Earl Peak From Bean Peak
Heading Out Bean Creek Basin
We felt some light sprinkles again and knew it was time to get off the summit. It was almost like the drops evaporated before they hit the ground. It must be the magic of the Teanaway.
We headed down the trail we came up and dropped into the Bean Creek Basin. The flowers were out everywhere in the large meadow. The colors are spectacular right now.
At this point my ankle became really sore from a long day in the mountains. It was time to say goodbye and head home. We made our way back down the Bean Creek Trail and eventually to the Trailhead. I made my way down to the creek and stepped barefoot into the cool, revitalizing water for a bit. I could almost feel the healing take place.
It was a classic Teanaway Trifecta my friends…It was also an I-90 classic as it took over 3 hours to get back to Kirkland because of traffic. It reminds me why I love the mountains.