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Earl/Bean/Judy/Mary Ridge Traverse


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Took advantage of the great weather last Saturday to do this four peak scramble traverse in Teanaway. My partner had done pieces of it before but had never linked all four. I hadn't done any of them, so it was a new adventure for both of us. It's an amazing ridge, probably 2-3 miles of moderate scrambling all above 6,000 feet. Earl is the tallest peak, around 7,050 feet and the others are in the mid to high 6s, I believe. Throughout the scramble you're looking directly at the south side of the Stuart Range, so the views are incredible. Stuart, Colchuck, McClellan's, Dragontail, etc. All were covered in a coating of pristine white snow. We didn't see a single person the entire day, and only a few footprints on the summit of Judy, for that matter.

Parked at the Beverly Turnpike trailhead and walked up the trail until just before the intersection with the Bean Creek trail where we turned right and headed straight up the ridge off trail. It was steep and we gained elevation quickly. About 1,000 feet up we hit the snowline and we broke trail from then on. Initially it was a foot or so deep, but the higher we got, the deeper it got. Some parts were complete wading, with 2+ ft. of snow. Sometimes snowshoes would have been handy, but most of the time just dead weight since there is a lot of scrambling involved.

Topped out on the summit of Earl and the ridge fun began. Over 1 mile separates Earl from Bean and all of it follows the ridge. Easy going and beautiful, with newly forming cornices and all the signs that winter is coming. The views of Stuart et. al. were inspiring. We climbed a mixed gully with some 4th class moves to get to the summit of Bean.

On the summit of Bean, we looked at the crux of the route: the 1/2 mile traverse from Bean to Judy. It's a fairly rugged ridge, with a handful of gendarmes and a good chunk of 3rd class rock, much of it covered with snow. Our goal was to stay on the ridge as much as possible. What followed was an exciting experience. We scrambled over a lot of wet, 3rd class rock, wallowed up and down snow filled couloirs where we fell waist deep into plenty of hidden moats, scrambled along the icy, exposed ridge crest, and just generally felt way French. smile.gif" border="0 It was an amazing environment, and we were laughing with glee and the ridiculousness of our goal. 1/2 way along the ridge the climbing eased and we were able to walk to the summit of Judy.

From Judy, the traverse to Mary is short and without technical difficulty. About the same difficulty as the section from Earl to Bean and equally scenic. Rainier and Adams to the South to guide you, the peaks of Snoqualmie Pass to the West. Fantastic.

From the summit of Mary, it was an easy (but deep snow) descent east into the basin, followed by a southwards walk along the contour to pick up the Bean Creek Trail and back to the trailhead. We arrived 10 minutes before dusk, making it a full day. Approx. 8.5 hours and over 4,500 ft., much of it breaking trail.

This is one awesome traverse, and not very technically hard. I definitely recommend it for those looking for adventure, solitude, and incredible views. Enjoy!

[ 11-07-2001: Message edited by: summitseeker ]

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