Forum Index > Trip Reports > Miller Peak, Iron Bear loop, 5.17.2014
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3652 | TRs | Pics
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
Wannabe
PostSat May 17, 2014 10:32 pm 
We eyed this peak a few weeks ago from Iron Bear and Jester but didn't continue on with Elle and Carla. So it was time for a return. We were able to easily drive to the end of the Stafford Creek road, all the way to the Miller / Iron Bear trailhead. No snow at all here.

The first creek crossing was almost knee deep in places and no easy rocks to hop so we went barefoot through the ice cold water. The second crossing had a nice log. The third was an easy hop. The trail was snow free until somewhere around 4000 ft. First patchy snow, no problem, then more continuous snow. Still we were able to follow it to the ridge crest without difficulty.

On the ridge the snow was more continuous. We had to drop off the ridge to traverse around some rocks but overall we were able to stay high the whole way up. The summit rocks are bare of snow. We enjoyed the sun and surprisingly calm winds before another group, with a few NWHikers along, came up from the Blewett side. We all stayed on top for a bit before descending.

We opted to make a loop by running the ridge down to the County Line trail, then up to Jester and out via the Iron Bear trail. We'd hoped to avoid some of the creek crossings and tedious snow traverses. Well, we avoided traversing but there was a surprising amount of snow in the valley. There were also plenty of small creek crossings. The crossing at Bear Creek was significantly higher with no easy rocks to hop so we just walked straight through and put up with soggy feet the remaining mile or so. And happily we finally found a bridge - right at the end next to our car.

Great trip. Awesome views at the top. Snow is melting fast but there were enough blow-downs and snow patches along the Miller Peak trail that I'd probably go in from the Blewett side.  Carried snowshoes, did not use them.

First creek crossing, boots off
First creek crossing, boots off
Trillium
Trillium
Glacier lillies
Glacier lillies
Tree knot
Tree knot
Miller Peak finally sighted
Miller Peak finally sighted
Nice view
1 label
Nice view
Ridge descent
Ridge descent
Miller from Jester
Miller from Jester
Balsamroot
Balsamroot
Paintbrush
Paintbrush
Typical trail conditions
Typical trail conditions
Sky Pilot
Sky Pilot
Miller
Miller

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Joey
verrry senior member



Joined: 05 Jun 2005
Posts: 2425 | TRs | Pics
Location: Redmond
Joey
verrry senior member
PostSun May 18, 2014 7:10 am 
That loop is great hike.  Now if you just carried "stream defenders" you could keep your boots on and tootsies dry.
www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7967824

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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3652 | TRs | Pics
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
Wannabe
PostSun May 18, 2014 7:32 am 
Hah!  I mentioned trying that out as we stomped through the creek.  I knew I'd seen this idea somewhere before.  Next time.

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Snowdog
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Joined: 21 Jul 2006
Posts: 996 | TRs | Pics
Location: on (& off) the beaten path
Snowdog
Member
PostSun May 18, 2014 9:05 am 
nice Loop Opus!   up.gif

and you even commented on Joey's TR- but it was 5 years ago, so you are forgiven for forgetting.  biggrin.gif
I will throw some of these in my pack right now- it is (high) stream crossing season.

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'we don't have time for a shortcut'
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Foist
Sultan of Sweat



Joined: 08 May 2006
Posts: 3825 | TRs | Pics
Location: Back!
Foist
Sultan of Sweat
PostSun May 18, 2014 11:17 am 
Seems to me like Stream Defenders would be less useful in knee-deep water...
Pretty awesome job for a dayhike there Opus.  How many miles is that? Thanks for the report!

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boot up
Old Not Bold Hiker



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 4745 | TRs | Pics
Location: Bend Oregon
boot up
Old Not Bold Hiker
PostSun May 18, 2014 11:35 am 
John and I came in through 9714 into that area on the same day.

Found one group that seemed to be just about to head towards Old Blewett pass thinking they were headed back to FR9714.

I was very strongly corrected that your Balsamroot photos are actually pictures of Sunflowers and Balsamroot is a pink flower.  She would have gotten into a heated argument over that, but I shrugged and walked away.  rolleyes.gif

Interesting day.  Unfortunately a lot more snow than we expected on the "back" side of every ridge, and trails seemed to like to go that way.

Us old geezers get slowed down and worn down by snow travel.

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friluftsliv
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Gabigabs
Trail Breaker



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Posts: 841 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle
Gabigabs
Trail Breaker
PostMon May 19, 2014 8:07 am 
Great day to play in the Teanaway. It was good to meet you on the summit.

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Life is simple... Eat, Sleep, Hike!
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tigermn
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Joined: 10 Jul 2007
Posts: 9242 | TRs | Pics
Location: There...
tigermn
Member
PostMon May 19, 2014 8:31 am 
boot up wrote:
Interesting day.  Unfortunately a lot more snow than we expected on the "back" side of every ridge, and trails seemed to like to go that way.

Us old geezers get slowed down and worn down by snow travel.

I was in a LOT better shape when I was unemployed a couple of years ago...  lol.gif  The distance/duration/effort was probably about right considering how out of shape I'm in (could blame age, but it's really more being out of shape and overweight).

Ok I can't figure out either what the below flower is....

Yellow flowers...your call. Iron-Bear to County line, E WA 05/17/14
Yellow flowers...your call. Iron-Bear to County line, E WA 05/17/14

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My flickr photo site.
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n16ht5
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Joined: 21 Jun 2010
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n16ht5
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PostMon May 19, 2014 10:38 am 
nice work, that is a long loop in those conditions on foot.  up.gif

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Spotly
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Joined: 06 Jan 2004
Posts: 3722 | TRs | Pics
Location: Spokane Valley
Spotly
Member
PostWed May 21, 2014 9:55 pm 
Is that road doable in a low-clearance Yaris? I seem to recall some pretty nasty rocky sections last time I drove it...several years ago? Nice pictures. My feet are numb just thinking about the creek crossing.

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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3652 | TRs | Pics
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
Wannabe
PostThu May 22, 2014 7:27 am 
I think so, driven carefully.  It's more potholed and lumpy than rocky.

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Spotly
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Joined: 06 Jan 2004
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Location: Spokane Valley
Spotly
Member
PostTue May 27, 2014 6:50 pm 
Thanks Opus. I'm definitely looking to do something this weekend. After weeks of staying home and building the garden, I'm the one feeling like a vegetable.

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