Iron - Bean Peaks Loop

The last few weeks had been really hectic. Nine days in Idaho including a three day traverse of the Sawtooth Mountains and a hike to the summit of 9170' Bald Mountain. I came home and the Seattle Times article on me and my web site ran Thursday. I needed a fun hike to decompress. Nothing fits the bill like a loop hike in the Teanaway area.
To top it off I saw it was Mary Sutliff's birthday so that sealed it. Mary wrote the book, "Teanaway Country", that spurred my love of the area. I was out of the house by 7:00 am and at the Beverly Creek trailhead by 9:00. There were three cars in the lot and another arriving as I got started.

I had blue sky from Seattle to Easton but clouds from there to Cle Elum They broke coming up the Teanaway Road and the sky was mostly sunny at the trailhead. Fall was in the air as I had on long sleeves and long pants to start. Bean Creek is low and an easy walk across now. The trail from there up is much more horse beaten than I have ever seen it. Looks like there was a lot of traffic this summer.

The hike through the forest went fast and I was soon out in the open basin. As is often the case this time of year, Beverly Creek was completely underground here. It was very quiet without the noise of the creek. I reached the Fourth Creek junction in 1:10. Just passed it I saw two tents. One of the hikers was out and we had a nice conversation. They were heading over towards Volcanic Neck later. I continued on towards Iron Peak. There was still plenty of water at the creek crossing for campers as the creek was back above ground.

The hike up to the saddle went smoothly. I still had a few extra red blood cells from the previous week's time spent above 8000'. The air at 6500' seemed plenty thick. All to soon I'll be back to normal. Quite a bit different than our mid May snow trip . This time I stuck to the summer trail. At the saddle I turned left and followed the ridge on up. What was a meager route a decade ago is now a regular trail all the way up. That's not all bad as it keeps people off the plants. I reached the top and put on a wind shirt. I had gone to shorts and short sleeves where I came out of the forest far below. There was enough wind to keep things cool.

I had the usual great views from the top. Rainier and Adams had clouds on top but most everything else was in the clear. I recognized many of the names in the summit register. There are only sheets of paper and they are just about full. A new register is needed. I spent about 20 minutes on top and headed down. The descent went quickly and I was back at the creek soon. Nobody was at the campsite.

At the Fourth Creek junction I turned left and began the climb to the pass. I took a quick food and water break there and turned off on the County Line Trail heading for Bean Peak. There is a little color coming in along the trail but still much green. Well along the route I could see up to Mary Peak and found larch turning golden just below the summit. Lower down they are still green.

The creeks along the way still have water even this late in the year. At the bottom of the last climb to the saddle I spotted the three hikers who were camped near Beverly Creek. They were heading down from the saddle. I had a great view from here of the Stuart Range, Ingalls Peaks, Iron Peak, and Bean Peak just above. When I passed the trio we had a nice talk. So far they were the only people I saw. At the saddle I had a good look at Earl Peak and Navaho Peak. When last I was on Earl at the end of April there were many feet of snow.

The scramble up the ridge to Bean is pretty easy. I seldom needed to use my hands. I saw folks on top as I came close. Once at the summit I was in for a surprise. There were about 10 people there. A few adults and the rest were teenagers. It was not the quiet solitude I have come to expect but they were nice enough. It was about 2:00 when I arrived. Views were very good. Any snow that fell on the Stuart Range last week was gone.

I enjoyed an hour on top. The group headed down about 15 minutes ahead of me. I was moving at 3:00. The descent was very fast. In fact my knees are still feeling it a few days later. When I reached the grass of Bean Creek Basin I had passed the whole group. The rest of the descent was just as fast. In fact I made it from the summit to my car in just less than two hours. The route is a nice loop with two summits and great views. Totals for the day were 12 miles with 4400' gained. Other than the big group on the summit of Bean I saw only the other three.


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Trips - 2006