Teanaway Ridge (May 21, 2017)

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teanaway_ridge_coverConditions: Day Hike
Gear: Nothing Special
Map: USGS Red Top Mountain
Area: Cle Elum, WA
Reference: Day Hiking Snoqualmie Region
Stats: 9.58mi, 1994' gain (round trip)


Dani had the idea to head out to Teanaway Ridge. Yes, this year is very different than last year and that is primarily due to snow. One year ago last week I headed out to Teanaway Ridge and we couldn't get t the trailhead because of snow. We stopped about 1/2 mile (4540') shy of the trailhead (OK...so not so much a trailhead as a spot to park and start hiking) and walked the last stretch of road to the gate. There was still enough snow to get the Jetta stuck. This year I figured we could make it most of the way in the 4Runner even if there was more snow than last year. I couldn't find any recent trip reports so I had no idea of the road conditions.

We started up FS9738 and headed right at the first road junction (if we went left it heads up to Red Top LO). It looked good a first, lots of tire tracks on the road. A small limb down across the road and the 4Runner just went over it. A bit higher up...patchy snow. At first, it was easy, we just drove around it or through it. Then...one tricky patch...a bit of a muscle move by the 4Runner to get though it. Then, just around the corner from that patch (elev 4475') what looked like a deal breaker. Deeper snow right after a turn and dip in the road, the road out sloping. I figured we were about a mile from the trailhead, turned out to be more like 1.23mi Not too bad. We parked and after sorting out gear, started hiking up the road.

I was surprised at the amount of snow still present. It was patchy snow at first, then somewhat more consistent. Wow. Could be an interesting day. We got to the gate (4810' and 1.23mi from the car) and by then it was back in the sun and melted out. No other cars appeared to have made it though (yet). We walked around the gate and the road looses a bit of elevation and we were hopeful to find it more melted out. Wasn't to be so... Near the first hairpin turn in the road the snow became pretty solid. Surprising to see so much deep snow still up there when a year ago it was completely melted out.

We followed the road to the old trailhead (?) and then picked up the trail that headed up the ridge. We wandered about following the trail with all it's ups and downs as it follows the ridgeline. Not really any snow on the trail thank goodness. Last year we found the ridge covered in a heavy yellow blanket of balsamroot. This year, the balsamroot looked to be barely out of it's winter slumber. The leaves were out...the buds at least 7-10 days from blooming. Where the ridge was painted yellow from balsamroot last year, it still had a covering of yellow this year but it was from a constant presence of glacier lilies. Lots and lots of glacier lilies. Not too much else was blooming though.

We followed the ridge to a small bump (4529') just before the trail junction coming up from Iron Bear Creek. We stopped a bit, took in the views from the first warm and sunny hiking day this year, then turned around and headed back.

Just before getting back to the "trailhead" I could hear the revving of an engine. By the time I met up with Dani at the trailhead I saw a Jeep Wrangle disappear down the road we came up. I'm not too sure which direction they came in from. We figured with it's big, fat, knobby tires it would help chew up some of the remaining snow to help it melt.

Just before getting back to the car...that snow patch that stopped us...we noticed evidence someone had come up after us and got stuck. From the skid marks and slick mud on the side of the road, they were lucky to get out and lucky to have not slid off the road.

I'd give this trip another two weeks. It's no where close to being in the colorful condition we saw it last year. We did notice a few fresh pile of bear scat and bear paw prints in the snow along our way so it looks like the bears have just woken up.
 
Teanaway Ridge Slideshow

teanaway_ridge_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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