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Teanaway Butte via Jungle Creek

Mar 05, 2013

by HikerJim last modified Mar 06, 2013 11:58 AM
Type of Outing
Snowshoe/XC Ski
Read More in our Hiking Guide
Hike: Teanaway Butte via Jungle Creek
Region: Snoqualmie Pass -- Salmon La Sac/Teanaway
Agency: Mount Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest, Cle Elum Ranger District
Be Aware Of
Blowdowns
Snow on trail
Nearing The Summit
The group most all went in different directions this weekend. When all was said and done it was just Barry and Carla joining me. Overnight there was 5-15 inches of new snow in the mountains. We figured going a little farther east would mean less snow and maybe even some sunshine. After rain and mountain snow the day before and overnight, we found blue sky in Seattle. Heading east the snow began along the road in patches at the Highway 18 junction and then steady up the hill just beyond North Bend. Lots of slush at Snoqualmie Pass and dark clouds. I thought we usually headed east for sunshine? By Cle Elum it was again largely blue sky. The Teanaway road had some fresh snow though not enough to be any concern. We arrived at the end of plowing at 29 Pines Campground at 9:05 am. Some clouds and some blue sky. It was right around 32 degrees. By 9:15 we were on our way.

There were only a couple snowmobile trailers at the trailhead. Surprisingly we neither saw nor heard any all day long. Teanaway Butte was one of the last Teanaway peaks I summited, finally doing a snowshoe climb in 2008. Barry was on that trip. We did a loop over Teanaway and Tarzan Buttes. What I recalled was hard frozen snow and a very fast walk up the road on that trip. This time we only had two snowshoers as Carla was on skis. If trail breaking was difficult we would be in for a long slow trip. In just a few minutes we crossed the North Fork Teanaway River and reached the junction with the Rye Creek Road. That road goes to near the top of Teanaway Butte. It is open to snowmobiles. The Jungle Creek Road ends well below the top but is a voluntary non motorized route. We chose Jungle Creek. The road is maddeningly flat. The trailhead is at about 2600'. The summit is at 4760'. The four miles of road walking gains only 1000'. The last mile up the ridge gains more than half the elevation.

The snowmobile tracks headed up Rye Creek. we had a hard frozen snowshoe track to follow. Barry and I were glad to find that it was hard enough to support us without putting on snowshoes. Considering that there was a few inches of snow down in Cle Elum we found very little fresh snow on the road. At one mile or less up the road we found a big tree down and blocking the whole road. Easy enough to get over at far right but it will need to be chainsawed out when the snow melts.

On we slogged as the snow remained mostly solid though we would occasionally post hole. Some of them were pretty deep. Nearing the junction where we would leave the road there were some sunny spots with very soft snow. Still we held off putting on snowshoes while on the road. At a little beyond the four mile spot the road makes a sharp left turn. another road continues straight ahead. We went straight for another 100 feet or so. Here we put on snowshoes. The north ridge of Teanaway Butte's false summit heads up from here. It is about a mile to the false summit gaining 900'. Parts are pretty gentle and some parts are quite steep. We found rock hard ice, deep soft snow, and a little snow over hard ice. Not the best conditions for climbing. Definitely not the best conditions for Carla to skin up the slope.

Barry blazed ahead finding the best route. In a few spots we had to side hill across the slope to avoid cliffy spots and get to better terrain. We heard wind blasting above the forest and I feared we would have a very short stay on the top. At about 4600' we reached the false summit. We had to drop about 80' then climb another 160' to reach the top. The last part is pretty steep. There is no exposure just some crummy grip on a hard packed icy trench with some soft snow. It took us an hour from the road to the summit. We arrived to find clouds all around and not much of a view. Oh well...

The wind was not howling. With more clothing we were fine to stay on the open summit. Occasionally I could see over to Yellow Hill or Malcolm and Johnson Peaks. That was about it. On my first visit we could see Mt. Stuart and most of the Teanaway Peaks along with Mt. Rainier. This day even Cle Elum was mostly in clouds below us. it took us three hours to slog up the 5+ miles to the summit. The net gain is only 2150' but it was a lot of effort on snow. With no views our stay was shorter than it might have been. We were not excited to down climb the route we had gone up. Plus a loop is always fun. We chose to drop down to the end of the Jungle Creek Road at Liars Prairie.

We followed a road from below the summit around the false summit heading east. After a ways we left the road heading more or less straight down the slope. At first we were in an old clear cut with a lot of smaller trees. Fortunately there was enough snow to allow pretty easy progress. In a few spots the unconsolidated snow had us falling in to our waists. The grade flattened at Liars Prairie. Using Barry's I-Phone GPS and my receiver we pinpointed the road though it is not all that obvious near the end. No tracks on this road. The ones we followed in the morning headed straight ahead at the junction and went towards the Way Creek Trail. Carla zoomed by us on skis. Back at the junction we picked up our uphill tracks. Carla said goodbye here and skied down faster than us. The road is so flat the last few miles that even her skis were not all that fast.

Now came more than four miles of road slogging. It seemed like about six miles. The snow had softened up and we had to keep our snowshoes on all the way back. The road seemed to go on forever but by 3:30 pm we made it back to the car. For the day we saw and heard no snowmobiles and saw only a pair of skiers heading up less than a mile from the car on our descent. Not bad for solitude. All in all it was a good trip. We did not have overly deep snow. That would have been a problem with only two people setting a track. It snowed lightly most all the way down though we had a lot of sunshine too. No great views but an interesting summit nonetheless. One thing I did decide however. Next time I head up the Jungle Creek Road in the winter I'm taking skis.

31 annotated photos have been posted on my website located at: http://www.hikingnorthwest.com. Go to "Trips - 2013" on the left margin.
Climbing The Ridge
Gus Loves Snow
Summit Panorama
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