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'
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
Gary On Ridge
Gary Along Ridge
Photo Page 2