The Three Faces of Earl by Tom Janisch
We live in such a great area – which is why Lowell Skoog called from Seattle on Friday in his search to find some good East-Side corn snow skiing on a weekend when the West Side and the Cascade Crest was likely to be enveloped in sloppy weather and unconsolidated snow. Lowell suggested Earl Peak via the Teanaway.
A week earlier Mark Shipman and Fred Stanley had reported a fun outing on Earl Peak. Logging operations near the North Fork of the Teanaway Road meant the road was plowed to the vicinity of Beverly Campground, which in turn meant the North Fork of the Teanaway road was plowed and drivable to about 3,000 feet and the Beverly Creek spur road.
We agreed on a plan so Lowell, my wife Patti and I, and two fun Seattleites left cars at the spur and skinned, with only a couple of bare spots, to the Bean Creek Trailhead. From there we skied up Bean Creek and ascended the Northwest ridge of Earl – it’s a scenic route to the top.
Of course from the north shoulder of the peak it was just too tempting not to take a run down the seductive slopes leading to the flats in Stafford Creek Basin. After a lunch break there, we climbed to the East ridge of Earl and followed it to the summit (7,033 feet). After another break we skied a nice long run down the south flanks of the peak toward Standup Creek. Some of us left packs on the summit (an ingenious trick to guarantee yet more skiing), so we all skinned back up the SW ridge to the top again.
Finally, we skied the West flanks of the peak back down to the Bean Creek basin. We passed the Mountaineers who were foolishly practicing rope and rescue techniques when any sensible person would be enjoying the corn on the north, east, and west faces of Earl. We glided all the way back to the car, with only a few removals of the skis to cross those obstinate patches of dirt intent on ruining our skiing fun for a few months each year. The dirt is gaining ground but Earl still has plenty of good days of spring skiing to offer.