Mary & Bean Peaks Loop

     The weather looked bad on the west side so Gary and I changed plans at the last minute and headed east. Gary hadn't been up Mary Peak and neither of us had tried to run the ridge from Mary to Bean Peak. We met at 6:30 and were up the North Fork Teanaway Road to the Beverly Creek trailhead by 8:30. It was overcast but it didn't look like rain was in the offing. We made good time up into Beverly Creek Basin. At the Fourth Creek trail intersection we turned right and headed uphill to Fourth Creek Pass. At the pass we left trail for the rest of the morning. The scramble up Mary Peak was just as enjoyable as I remembered it. We stayed on or near the ridge all the way up. High on the ridge we passed a number of larch trees with their bright green needles. By the time we reached the summit of Mary the weather was starting to look better. Blue sky was to the south and it seemed to be heading our way. Mt. Stuart was now nearly snow free. It was much different than the similar but snowy view from Iron Peak back in April.

     Our next objective was Bean Peak just a short 3/4 mile to the east. The easy way to get there is to drop down into Bean Creek Basin and cross over to beneath Bean. From there it is a very straight forward scramble to the top. Instead, we decided to give the ridge a try. For a non-technical climber the ridge looks down right ugly. At first there is a boot path but it ends very quickly. We stayed nearly on the top of the ridge. Each time it looked like we would be stopped a way opened up. We went slightly right then left and often climbed right over the top. It was slow going but lots of fun. We decided to keep going as long as we were confident we could get back if we were stopped. Two or three times the way seemed to be impassible but we found a way. We made it to a high point where we could finally see both summits. We were about 3/4 of the way to Bean. I finally reached a point where it was necessary to leap across a gap with fatal consequences if I missed. It wasn't that far across but it was enough to end the ridge attempt. We down climbed to easier terrain and traversed a short distance to the base of Bean. A few more minutes of fun rock scrambling and we were on top. It was 1:00 and I hadn't had lunch yet. I was dragging on the last climb and really needed lunch. After eating I felt much better. We had not seen anyone so far but now we heard voices. I didn't expect to be sitting on top of a 6700' peak and hear people talking. We looked around but could not see anyone. Finally I spotted tiny specks down along the ridge we had just scrambled. They were still far away but strange acoustics allowed us to hear them. They followed the ridge about as far as we did and then dropped down and reaquired the ridge. It was interesting to see others doing what we did. The last thing I expected was to see another group going along the same ridge right after us. As they neared Bean we decided it was time to head for home. Earl Peak would have made a nice third summit but we needed to get back to Seattle and didn't have time to add it.

     We headed down the ridge that connects to Earl. The rock on Bean is about the best I know. Great grip and solid rock. We took an interesting if not the easiest way down. From the ridge top it was steep scree and then grass as we descended into Bean Creek Basin. In the upper basin we met a large group out for the day. I was surprised to see so many flowers still in bloom in August this far east. The snow has long been gone but springs leave lots of water in the basin. Red, white, and blue were the dominant colors. There were also some thistles that were 4 feet tall. It was quite warm by now and made for a nice hike on down. Bean Creek is low enough that we had no trouble crossing going up or coming down. This was a great trip. We spent over 3 hours completely off trail. The ridge was a real challenge for my ability. The totals for the day were 8 miles with 3400' gained.

Volcanic Neck
Bill Peak
Teanaway Peak
Iron Peak
Bean Peak
Bean Peak
Gary On Ridge
Mary Peak
Gary Climbing
Gary Along Ridge
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