Photos from this trip can be found here.
A man who was getting ready at the Beverly Creek bridge before the campground mentioned that he was here two days before but couldn’t get to the Beverly Turnpike Trailhead by car because of a down tree a quarter mile in. He also mentioned that Bean Creek was extremely hard to cross, so this time he came back with a rope just in case.
I parked on other side of the bridge and proceeded to walk to the trailhead. When I passed the aforementioned down tree, it had been sawed off so getting by was no longer an issue. I thought about going back to get the car but decided it was only another mile trek and I could use the exercise. Half a mile before the trailhead three cars parked right before a big snow patch, which didn’t look too good for low-clearance vehicles. However, there were solid tire tracks through the snow, so it was most likely passable.
Two cars at the trailhead when I arrived at 11 AM. As I approached the Bean Creek Trail junction I could hear the raging water from the creek, where a group was just carefully finishing crossing. Not needing to cross the creek just yet, I proceeded to hike up snow-covered Bean Creek Trail to the upper creek crossing (4200′), and luckily I found a spot 20 feet up from the trail and rock hopped below some slide alder. Other side of creek was snow-free until past the tributary coming down Judis Peak’s south gully at 4300′.
Followed fresh boot tracks in the forest from 4600′ onward and then put on snowshoes at 5000′ as trees began to thin out. Snowshoed toward Bean Peak alongside ski tracks and headed up the south slopes. Snow was generally good with no major postholing albeit inconsistent firmness throughout. I punched through a few times at head of basin where streams flowed right underneath me. Last couple hundred feet were steep, I bypassed the west saddle and headed directly to the rocks below the summit and scrambled up.
Weather cooperated on this mostly sunny day, and views were just as beautiful as I remembered. Seeing that it was only 2 o’clock in the afternoon, I decided to continue on to Volcanic Neck and possibly get up Devils Head if time allowed. I dropped down onto north ridge, negotiated cornices above east slopes, and worked my way toward the lowest point just south of Volcanic Neck. From there I got onto east slopes and circumnavigated below east face of Volcanic Neck to its north saddle.
Residual snow along north side of the steep northeast ridge made the scramble more technical than necessary. I had my ice axe and crampons in case things got a bit spicy. With good holds and sturdy trees, I managed to work my way around most of the snow in the chute. Last 50 feet to the top was snow-free. The flat summit had just enough loose rocks to make me take extra caution with every moving step; both the north and south sides dropped down precipitously. After a quick break and some photos I proceeded to go back down onto the north saddle.
Ridge traverse to Devils Head was straightforward, and I tried snowshoeing on the crest as much as possible to take advantage of the snow coverage while avoiding cornices hanging over the east slopes. Took off snowshoes a few times to walk on slopes where snow had already melted or to get around trees. Last 100 feet or so to the summit was on the gentle south slopes, which made for a relaxing finish. It had been windy since Volcanic Neck, but even more so on this summit. I stayed just long enough to take photos and a quick bite. Dark clouds continued to loom over western mountain ranges, and it flurried just as I was getting to head down.
The cool thing about the traverse–the imposing Stuart Range moved closer and closer with every step taken. By the time I was on Devils Head, the range virtually was right in my face. Even the ultra wide-angle lens couldn’t even capture the entire wall from Mount Stuart on the far west end to McClellan Peak on the far east. I continued to be in awe of the beauty of this area every time.
On the way back to Bean Peak I retraced my steps. The wind never ceased, but I got a nice break from it on the east slopes of Volcanic Neck albeit without the sunshine. I got back to the creek crossing just as the sun had set.