Bean Peak

Rain most everywhere. Seven trips to the Teanaway already this year. How about another trip east to the Teanaway? Kim wanted to go to Bean Creek Basin and I joined her and Sara. The flower show is usually in June and July but this year is way behind normal. We were not even sure that snow was gone from the basin. No early start this day as it was 10:40 when we left the Beverly Creek trailhead. Flowers began early. We saw penstemon, a few Indian paintbrush, and even yellow monkey flower before Bean Creek. Thimbleberries are still at the flowering stage. At Bean Creek there were many roses in bloom. Some were very large flowers. It was overcast and I even broke out the umbrella on and off as some drizzle fell. Not even the Teanaway was immune this day. Most Julys I would not be there as the mid summer heat makes it less than enjoyable.

The trail along the creek was a little damp from web brush but not as overgrown as in some years. I put on rain pants and solved that problem. The crossing of Bean Creek was interesting. Not yet a rock hop as the creek was too deep and wide. A narrow log worked okay to get across with dry feet. I could not have walked it without poles for balance. Once across the creek the flower show really took off. Lots of scarlet gilia and a variety of other desert flowers. Red, white, and yellow were the predominant colors. Progress dropped to a crawl and we enjoyed the color show.

It was warm and dry enough to drop the rain pants as the brush ended. The rest of the way to the lower basin was a mix of open meadows and forest. Flowers were in the meadows but not much in the forest. I went ahead reaching the first of two creek crossing choices ahead of the others. A party of three was passed here. The usual gilia and paintbrush show was non existent. It will be another week or two before the flowers begin to bloom here. Along the creek I did see a lot of shooting stars. At he second crossing place there were many shooting stars. Much photography ensued. Kim and Sara caught up and we crossed over. The creek is still higher than normal for this time of year but it is in two channels here making the crossing easier.

The clouds were low enough to block out Earl Peak above then a minute later it would be back in the open. I had thought about going out ahead and climbing Bean Peak but the clouds had me unsure. I've been up it many times on clear days and didn't know if I wanted to go up and be in damp clouds with no views. Still it might be clear by the time I made it up there. I chose to give it a try. I headed up into the upper basin at a good pace. In the upper basin was the biggest field of shooting stars I have ever seen. Virtually the whole basin was purple with them. Acres of shooting stars. Quite a site. Enough to keep Kim and Sara busy while I went for a scramble.

Instead of my usual route directly up to Bean and then up the face I chose to head for the ridge to the right and follow the ridge to the top. It had been at least a half dozen years since I had been up that route. The hillside is pretty easy to climb until near the ridge top. The last 100' feet was on loose scree than slid down with every step. Not pleasant but not long enough to be too awful. At the ridge top there was a little wind but I kept going in shorts and a short sleeve shirt. It felt like typical April conditions in mid July. Well, April days are probably sunnier.

The ridge scramble is a lot of fun. Easy walking until near the summit block. As I approached the steeper section I saw a group in climbing helmets a little below me and heading down. I also heard some loud yelling from over in the direction of Volcanic Neck. I never did see those folks. Back alone again I tackled the final climb. A little steeper than I remembered it but just as much fun as ever. I topped out on the summit at 2:20. I took just under an hour from the basin. It was chilly on top but the clouds had raised a little. I could see all of Earl Peak but just the bottoms of most other peaks. Not the best view from this summit but not lost in a cloud either.

I had some lunch and enjoyed the views such as they were for 10 minutes before heading back down. I did take a look at the County Line Trail route from Volcanic Neck to Fourth Creek Pass and much of the way is still snow covered. That was a little surprising. All the way through Bean Creek Basin and up to the summit was snow free. There was some snow below Bean Peak but my ridge route avoided it all. I started down the ridge but chose to drop off and attempt a more direct route down to the basin. It worked pretty well although the wide gully I spotted led to much more standing scree glissading than I wanted.

In 30 minutes I was back in the basin and found Kim and Sara still enjoying the bounty of the shooting stars. Kim mentioned seeing two all white shooting stars. She couldn't find the first but then did find a nice white one. I don't think I have ever seen a white variety. Very nice. We spent another half hour in the upper basin before we started down.  A little sunshine opened up and I saw a gleam off to the side. Inspections showed it to be a whole patch of the white shooting stars. Much more photography ensued. After that we really did head down to the lower basin.

We saw one group far to the side that was camping and had a smoky fire going. The way down was easy enough. We also had some sunshine to change the lighting. The creek crossings were accomplished with no problem. Kim and I walked the log and Sara forded it. As often happens we saw a few groups closer to the bottom. It was 5:30 when we reached the car. It was a pretty good day. We headed far east but did not escape all the rain though it was light and only for a short time. The Bean Creek flower crowds were conspicuously missing. Only half a dozen groups of hikers, backpackers, and climbers. The lower flowers were pretty good, the middle flowers were not yet in bloom, and the upper basin was the biggest display of shooting stars I have ever seen. All that made for a great day on an old favorite trail and summit.

Beverly Creek
Blooming Lupine
Indian Paintbrush
Colorful Hillside
Lone Scarlet Gilia
Flowers & Falls
Kim & Scarlet Gilia
Old Growth Gilia
Lupine Ferns
Dark Scarlet Gilia
Cascading Bean Creek
Creek In Lower Basin
Shooting Stars & Creek
Bunch Of Shooting Stars
Rushing Cascade
Shooting Stars Take Over
Stars & Bean Peak
On Ridge Near Summit
Summit Block
Mary & Iron Peaks
Volcanic Neck
Bean Creek Basin
Earl Peak
Heading Down
White Shooting Stars
Yellow Bell
Sun Finally Shines
Little Falls
Shooting Star Carpet
Big Clump Of White
Kim At Work
Close Up of White Stars
Vibrant Close Up
Bean Peak Over Basin
Wood Pattern
Colorful Boquet
Bean Creek Crossing
Paintbrush & Lupine
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2011