Iron Peak

I seem to hike up Iron Peak most every year. This year I did a long loop trip with a stop atop Iron in June. That day was warm and sunny. This day the whole state was under clouds. I joined Janet and Steve on this trip. We met in North Seattle at 7:05 am. Several stops later we were beyond Cle Elum and heading for the NF Teanaway Road. The road was rougher than just a month earlier on my Ingalls Larch hike. We reached the Eldorado Creek trailhead at 10:15 am. There were four vehicles already there. All were big pickups. This was the second and last weekend of general deer hunting season. With all those trucks there was no doubt that most were hunting. I put on my orange visit and hat. By 10:30 we were on our way. A short way up we ran into the first hunter coming down. The trail sign is plastic. It will never rot. First one I have seen.

I usually head up Iron Peak via the Beverly Creek trail. This route I do very seldom. The one thing I forgot is just how gently graded the trail is. A little rocky in places but very gentle. We soon met another hunter waiting for the rest of his party. A little higher up we met them. That accounted for most of the hunters. The trailhead is at about 3920'. The pass between Teanaway and Iron Peaks is at just over 6100'. The 2200' goes by quickly. Part way up the route. While the sky was totally overcast, it was high up. All the peaks around were below the clouds. I was very surprised to be able to see the top of Mt. Stuart on the drive in. That was to change a number of times.

There is a flat section and we found a tent set up there. The owner was not seen was probably hunting down in Beverly Creek. As we neared the saddle low clouds began to blow in. Soon nearby Koppen Mountain began to fade away. Janet was the first to notice that snowflakes began to fall. Okay, a few unexpected flakes. Well those flakes kept falling. Enough that jackets went on soon after. At the pass the clear skies seen earlier were gone. Peaks to the east were nearly invisible. A very cold breeze was also now blowing. Cold enough to start freezing hands in just liner gloves. The ground began to turn white. Huh? It couldn't be that cold? Well yes it could. We had considered scrambling up Teanaway Peak but with minimal visibility and a subfreezing breeze Iron seemed to be a better choice.

The conditions were not what we expected but the early snow and hazy clouds lent a beauty all its own. Heading up the ridge we met a couple coming down. They had good views on top before the snow and clouds came in. We continued on into the cold wind. Nearing the summit I looked back and the low clouds began to break. Mt. Stuart began to come into view. From the summit of Teanaway Peak towards Longs Pass clouds were funneling through gaps in the ridge top. A really neat sight. The snowy squall was intense but short lived. It was much more comfortable when the wind died down. The base of Mt. Rainier came into view. Peaks along the Cascade Crest came into view. The sky was still white but the views were pretty good.

We arrived on top at about 12:45 am and stayed until 1:20 pm. One group arrived ass we were leaving and another was seen a few minutes later. Going down we had the views not seen on the way up. We took our time enjoying the ridge walk. Where the ridge top was white with snow on the way up it was already bare on the way down. Back at the saddle Steve was intrigued by the orange rock. We checked it out and one of the summit groups passed us by. Soon we were heading down. The gentle grade is very easy on knees. Other than a number of photo stops we made better time back to the trailhead.

We saw six or seven groups over the whole day with long breaks in between. Quite a bit of solitude overall. This hike turned out even better than I expected. We had so little snow last winter that I can't recall the last hike I did with falling snow. A bit of a treat. The snowy ridge was photogenic going up and then we had all the views on top. As good as if I ordered the weather. It was Steve's first hike in the Teanaway area and I think he had a good time. For Janet and I it was one more fun hike in the area. At the bottom the sun began to break through. Back in Cle Elum it was mostly sunny. This was likely my last visit to the Teanaway this year and it was well worth the effort.

New Trail Sign
Gentle Trail
Teanaway Peak Above
Steve At Saddle
Iron Summit In Clouds
Cloudy Teanaway Peak
Snowy October
Summit Ridge
Snags On Ridge
Steve Near Summit
Mt. Stuart?
Mt. Stuart
Stuart Close Up
Stuart Range
Earl Peak
Cloudy Bill Peak
View North
Cascade Crest Peaks
Ridge Down To Saddle
Beverly Creek Basin
Volcanic Neck
Nearing Saddle
Summit Is Now Clear
Mt. Rainier
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2015