Forum Index > Trip Reports > Gimp On Iron Peak - 4/26 - 27/08
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JimK
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Joined: 07 Feb 2002
Posts: 5381 | TRs
Location: Ballard
JimK
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PostSun Apr 27, 2008 3:45 pm 
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The Teanaway area is officially open for business. The last few years I've started my backpacking season with a late winter or early spring camp on top of a Teanaway Peak. Two solo trips to Iron Peak, A group camp below Earl Peak's summit, and one to Navaho Peak's saddle with summits of Navaho and Little Navaho. This year I convinced Bob, Kolleen, and David to accompany me back to Iron Peak. We met in Bellevue at 6:30 and headed off to the Teanaway. We all crammed into David's Outback. I was surprised we were able to drive half a mile beyond 29 Pines campground. There was snow and bare spots on the road.

Parking Spot
Parking Spot

By 8:35 we were packed up and on the road. There were a few more bare spots but the road is still mostly snow covered. It was just over 32 degrees and the road was groomed all winter for snowmobiles. It is very hard packed. It would have been possible to drive a ways farther on top of the snow. The problem is that afternoon melting would likely have stranded a car up the road. It will be at least another few weeks before the road is bare to Stafford Creek. After Stafford we saw a bobcat! It was the first sighting in the wild for all of us.

Stafford Creek
Stafford Creek
A Small Bare Spot
A Small Bare Spot

It was sunny and warming rapidly. We made good time on the nearly flat road. At Beverly Creek we turned right and began to ascend the Beverly Road. We reached the Beverly trailhead at 10:20. Four and a half miles in 1:45, almost all on snow. The parking lot has about 3 feet of snow. The hiker bridge is half snow and half bare. We crawled down to the bridge deck easily enough. Getting back up the other side was much more difficult. The snow was rock hard. With great difficulty we scrambled up the other side.

Beverly Trailhead
Beverly Trailhead
Scrambling Off Bridge
Scrambling Off Bridge

Half a mile up the road we came to Bean Creek. In the early spring the creek can be totally covered by a snow bridge or a raging torrent. This time it wasn't bad. All the channels were covered by snow except a 4 foot wide stream. It was easy enough to climb down the snow bank. When it was my turn to cross. I reached my leg across to a rock on the other side. I planted both poles in the water and pushed off. At that moment my left pole collapsed and I did a slow motion spin down and into the water.

Crossing Bean Creek
Crossing Bean Creek

At first I thought the only damage was to my pride. I landed in all of 8 inches of water left knee first onto a rock. I managed to submerge my pants. I got up and climbed out. The knee stung but I thought nothing of it. A little farther ahead the route traversed above the creek on a steep slope. The summer trail was buried. We kicked steps across. It was soft enough to kick steps but hard enough to make them less than comfortable.

David On Route
David On Route
In Forest
In Forest

We followed a single set of ski tracks. They continued all the way up into the basin. Eventually we saw them on the side of Bill Peak. We crossed the boulder field that was all under many feet of snow. By now my knee was beginning to hurt more. I was down to shorts and a short sleeve shirt. It felt like spring at last. We popped out of the forest into the lower basin. The summer trail switchbacks high on the right side of the valley. With all the snow we just kept to the right of the creek.

Valley Wall
Valley Wall
First Peak View
First Peak View

By now I was lagging farther behind the group. My knee was killing me. We crossed the creek before the summer trail does. Our route was mostly straight up the slope. I took some Motrin and that helped the pain. On snow I always aim for a gap in the huge cornices just to the right of the summit of Iron. The NW Avalanche Center warned of high danger on east facing slopes from the heat and direct sun exposure. I figured we may have to go farther right to nearer the saddle below Teanaway Peak. The climb to the ridge is much shorter here.

Beyond The Creek
Beyond The Creek
Bill Peak
Bill Peak
Volcanic Neck
Volcanic Neck

Kolleen kept booting it but Bob, David, and I stopped to put on snowshoes. We were sinking in 6" with every step. Looking up at the summit ridge the cornices were as big as I have seen. There were a number of snowmobile "high marking" tracks right up to the base of the cornices. Talk about putting your life on the line for a thrill... We had no interest in being below those cornices.

Corniced Ridge
Corniced Ridge
Usual Route Up & Down
Usual Route Up & Down

We stopped below my usual ascent spot and talked it over. It was soft here but I knew it would be harder higher up. With the variability of the snow and my bad knee we chose to traverse right to a short slope to the ridge top. We dropped into a snowmobile track and the going was easier. We took off snowshoes for the final climb to the ridge top. Bob and Kolleen were out in front and began to climb. The soft snow grew thinner and there was a rock hard layer beneath. While we saw numerous sloughs coming up the valley there were none on Iron Peak. Bob kicked nice steps and in short order we were on the ridge top.

View East
View East
Teanaway Peak
Teanaway Peak
Glissade Route
1 label
Glissade Route
Nearing Ridge
Nearing Ridge
Almost To Ridge Top
Almost To Ridge Top

The last .40 miles gained another 350' to the summit. As we climbed the views became better and better. Earl, Bean, Volcanic Neck, Teanaway, Bill, and Stuart were in sight. On the other side of the ridge we could see Koppen, Jolly, Hawkins, and Esmerelda. Higher up Mt. Daniel came into view. It was clear enough to see Hibox, Three Queens, Chikamin, and other peaks of the Cascade crest.

Summit From Ridge
Summit From Ridge
Mt. Daniel
Mt. Daniel
Hawkins & Esmerelda
Hawkins & Esmerelda
Last Climb
Last Climb
Summit Ahead
Summit Ahead
Nearly To Campsite
Nearly To Campsite

We heard snowmobiles below soon after summiting. One of them roared up to the ridge top and sped along it to our position. He had seen our deep footprints in the valley and just had to see who was crazy enough to get all the way up here without a motor. He turned out to be a nice guy. We did not expect to be visited by a snowmobile on the summit but he was too nice to be mad about it.

Just below the summit we selected our camp sites. This was a Hilleberg convention as we had Bob and Kolleen's red Nallo 3, David's red Akto, and my green Akto. We took the better part of an hour to dig out platforms and set up camp. There was more snow on the summit than on either of my previous camp outs. We were all about out of water and melting snow was the next item on the agenda. High clouds came in from the west. We had high hopes for sunset colors. Unfortunately, the clouds kept on coming and blotted out the setting sun.

At Campsite
At Campsite
Trail Pair Site
Trail Pair Site
Sunny Mt. Stuart
Sunny Mt. Stuart
Teanaway & Stuart
Teanaway & Stuart
Kolleen
Kolleen
Camp  From Summit
Camp  From Summit
David At Summit
David At Summit
Amidst The Mountains
Amidst The Mountains

As the sun set the temperature plummeted. From shorts we moved onto long pants, goretex pants, down coats, and gloves. It was cold as we went to bed at about 8:30. I got up at 3:15 as nature called. The wind was calm and I found my leg was really painful now. I was getting concerned with a 8 1/2 mile descent with 4000' of elevation loss. The morning had more clouds and we did not get the warmth or the lighting we had hoped for. Still, the clouds were high and we had nice views to all the peaks around us.

David & His Akto
David & His Akto
Volcanic Neck In AM
Volcanic Neck In AM
Iron Ridge
Iron Ridge
Morning View East
Morning View East
Mt. Rainier
Mt. Rainier

I could not put much weight on my left leg. I was more concerned than ever. We pooled first aid kits. I put on an ace bandage and that helped. Next was more anti inflammatory medicine. The clincher was some high powered pain killer. That stuff really worked. We broke camp and I could now walk. The plan was to glissade the first 500' off the summit. We had hoped for some sun to soften up the slope. It was well below freezing over night. All our steps were frozen solid. The untouched snow was still pretty soft.

Ready To Glissade
Ready To Glissade

I went first. I've done this glissade many times. In fact it was slower than expected. Some snow built up between my legs. I managed to get almost to the bottom but not at the exhilarating speeds often felt. The slope was some soft snow on top of a hard layer. The others had my track to follow and had a better ride. In short order we were down the first slope. I was moving slow but moving as we continued down.

David Is Down
David Is Down
Here Comes Bob!
Here Comes Bob!
Kolleen & Tracks
Kolleen & Tracks

The walk out was painful but not nearly as bad as I had feared in the morning. We continued down the valley, across Bean Creek, and back to the summer trailhead. The snow was softer than the day before but hard enough to avoid snowshoes all the way back. At 1:15 we arrived back at the car. We took 6 hours to ascend and 4 1/2 hours to come down.

Mary Peak On Descent
Mary Peak On Descent
Summer Trailhead
Summer Trailhead
In Bloom
In Bloom

The injury is the first one I have ever had on the trail. Still, it did not wreck our weekend. The sunshine on Saturday was spectacular. The views were just as good as I remember. The company was great. Even though we did not get the sunset and sunrise we expected the weekend was a success. Now I have to figure out what summit to camp on next spring.

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Hiking Northwest
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Yet
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Yet
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PostSun Apr 27, 2008 3:47 pm 
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JimK wrote:
Tune back in to find out if I made it back alive.

Gosh, I hope so! I want to read the TR.  biggrin.gif
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Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 5065 | TRs
Location: Headed west soon
Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger
PostSun Apr 27, 2008 4:15 pm 
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I hope you made it back otherwise someone else is posing/posting as JimK lol.gif  BTW Jim, your website appears to have sustained an injury too.

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GeoTom
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Joined: 19 May 2005
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GeoTom
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PostSun Apr 27, 2008 4:26 pm 
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You might have avoided this injury if you were a more experienced hiker.

Looking forward to the photos, and hope you are roaming the Teanaway again soon.  up.gif

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wildernessed
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Joined: 31 Oct 2004
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wildernessed
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PostSun Apr 27, 2008 4:32 pm 
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Jim, my advice to you, is that you take a course before wandering into the backcountry. hockeygrin.gif

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Living in the Anthropocene
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silly_traveler
~ roaming ~



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silly_traveler
~ roaming ~
PostSun Apr 27, 2008 5:03 pm 
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I thought about you guys this weekend  hmmm.gif  wondering if you guys were up on Iron  biggrin.gif

Sorry about your knee  frown.gif

Look forward to the report and pictures!  smile.gif

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♫ You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  And you're the one who will decide where you'll go.  Oh the places you'll go. - Dr. Seuss
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Middle E
no more moustache



Joined: 10 Feb 2008
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Location: Seattle, WA
Middle E
no more moustache
PostSun Apr 27, 2008 5:50 pm 
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Brewmaster and I also wondered whether you might be on Iron, but noted you likely missed the sunset and sunrise you were hoping for.

Sorry to hear about the knee - hope you're back in the saddle soon! up.gif

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pithy yet insightful signature
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Opus
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Joined: 04 Mar 2006
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Opus
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PostSun Apr 27, 2008 6:16 pm 
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Nope, no fantastic sunset or sunrise on this one.  The views and company were both great though!  As for JimK, rumors of his demise are greatly exaggerated.  We all made it out of this one more or less intact, though all slightly banged up.

Click here for the full photo gallery and some huge summit panoramas
.

Sun
Sun
Traversing
Traversing
Ridgeline
Ridgeline
Zig zag
Zig zag
Jim
Jim
Saddle view
3 labels
Saddle view
Dead tree
Dead tree
Huge cornices
Huge cornices
Curious snowmobiler
Curious snowmobiler
Bob & Kolleens palace
Bob & Kolleens palace
Stuart range
Stuart range
My tent
My tent
Ridge camp
Ridge camp
Dinner
Dinner
Back at camp
Back at camp
Pointing
Pointing
Sunset
Sunset
Sunrise
Sunrise
Morning
Morning
Bob
Bob
See the coyote?
See the coyote?
Breaking camp
Breaking camp
Glissade!
Glissade!
Tricky tricky Bean creek
Tricky tricky Bean creek
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Randy
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Randy
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PostSun Apr 27, 2008 6:36 pm 
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Sorry Jim to hear about your knee.

Can anyone one provide a road condition report?
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TrailPair
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TrailPair
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PostSun Apr 27, 2008 6:42 pm 
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Randy wrote:
Sorry Jim to hear about your knee.

Can anyone one provide a road condition report?

We were only able to drive about .5 miles beyond 29 Pines, so we had a long, long road walk of almost 5 miles! frown.gif

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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wildernessed
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Joined: 31 Oct 2004
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wildernessed
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PostSun Apr 27, 2008 6:44 pm 
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up.gif Always looks nice , I like the tent pics to !  hockeygrin.gif

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Mike Collins
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Mike Collins
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PostSun Apr 27, 2008 6:53 pm 
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JimK wrote:


I managed to sprain my knee pretty thoroughly.

Justus and I decided to pay some snowmobilers to drive us up that road several weeks ago to avoid that wear and tear. I hope you are fit for duty soon.
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TrailPair
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TrailPair
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PostSun Apr 27, 2008 7:13 pm 
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Since Jim K will provide a more detailed report, we will just give a short version.  While walking the Teanaway Road we had the fortune of seeing a bobcat! That was a first for all of us. The crossing of Bean Creek was a little tricky, and Jim has the misfortune of his pole collapsing while stepping across, causing him to cork screw waiste deep in 10 inches of water...spraining his knee. But he persevered.

The scenery was fantastic on Saturday, although high clouds appeared in the evening. But that kept the temperature moderate, and the snow stayed soft.  We did not use the crampons we had carried. The guys briefly used snowshoes in the upper basin on Saturday, but K did fine without them.
Teanaway road
Teanaway road
Trail Head.
Trail Head.
On east slope of Iron Peak
On east slope of Iron Peak
Traversine to ridge, Teanaway Peak on right.
Traversine to ridge, Teanaway Peak on right.
Opus and Jim K
Opus and Jim K
Bob, with Mary Peak beyond
Bob, with Mary Peak beyond
Bob and Bill Peak
Bob and Bill Peak
Texture
Texture
Cornices on Iron Peak
Cornices on Iron Peak
K on Iron Peak.
K on Iron Peak.
Our tent, Teanaway Peak and Stuart
Our tent, Teanaway Peak and Stuart
Busy campsite
Busy campsite
Pointing
Pointing
Jim K
Jim K
Opus and a messy kitchen
Opus and a messy kitchen
Foot shot for Silly_Traveler
Foot shot for Silly_Traveler
Opus
Opus
Jim the leading the glissade
Jim the leading the glissade
Crossing Bean Creek on way out.
Crossing Bean Creek on way out.
Opus  on bridge by trail head.
Opus  on bridge by trail head.

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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Gil
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Gil
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PostSun Apr 27, 2008 8:14 pm 
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Sounds like a great trip. Sorry about your knee, Jim. Hope it's better soon.

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Friends help the miles go easier.
My most interesting images
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EastKing
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Joined: 28 Mar 2007
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EastKing
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PostSun Apr 27, 2008 8:15 pm 
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That looked fun (except for the injury) up.gif . Don't be surprised if you get a PM from me asking for directions to this place for next week. GREAT PHOTOS! I wish the best of luck on the injury.

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I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.

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