Peak(s):  Teakettle Mtn  -  13,819 feet
Date Posted:  06/26/2016
Modified:  06/28/2016
Date Climbed:   05/29/2016
Author:  gunnison_garrett14
 Teakettle In Snow Conditions  

Teakettle Mountain: Southwest Couloir
Climbers: Vic Chilson, Jay Ytell, Garrett Eggers (Me)
Date: May 29th, 2016

We went to bed around mid-night the night before with our alarm clocks set for 2 A.M. After a quick breakfast we were out of the house by 2:30. We drove into Yankee Boy Basin and parked about a mile below the outhouses (lower Sneffels trailhead) and began hiking around 5:15. We followed a boot pack headed presumably towards Sneffels, and then broke off of it to the right (north) at about 11,400 feet.
Early morning alpenglow on Yankee Boy Basin

We put on snowshoes and followed up some mellow slopes into the Cirque Mountain southern cirque. We then traversed the slopes under Teakettle's southwest ridge into the next basin and approached the base of our climb.
View of Teakettle mountain and the rest of the route

There is a nice "rock table" at the base of the couloir where we put on crampons, helmets, and stashed our snowshoes.
Starting up the climb

We started up the couloir at 7:30 and the snow was perfect for climbing.
In the couloir

It was one of those rare moments in snow climbing when you are moving along and thinking, "Wow, this actually might be type 1 fun." There is a point in the couloir where it opens up and escape is possible off to the right. You can take this exit and follow fairly mellow slopes (compared to the couloir) up to the summit block. We chose to follow the couloir through the choke instead.
Turn right here for easier climbing or follow up the choke to the couloir's crux

Past the choke you have two options. Left option goes straight up snow and when we did it there was a massive chunk of ice guarding this way. The right option follows up snow to an exposed mixed move or two on rock and snow.
Vic approaching the couloir's crux

This definitely was the crux of the couloir. Both options meet back up after about 15 feet. After the crux the couloir exit branches of into two distinct forks.
Jay topping out of the right exit branch

Jay and I took the right branch while Vic took the left.
Vic topping out of the left exit branch with the handle behind him

After topping out of either branch you are presented with a magnificent view of the handle that Teakettle Mountain gets it's name for.

After taking a few mandatory pictures in the handle we followed the obvious ramp up to the summit block.
Jay headed up the snow ramp to the summit block

Here we busted out the 30 meter rope and Jay led up the short 5.3 pitch in crampons.
Jay taking the lead

Vic and I stashed our crampons and followed up the dry rock in our mountaineering boots. Vic and Jay had brought along climbing shoes but decided it wasn't worth the effort of putting them on. The actual pitch of rock climb is stemming at it's finest.
"This is not a picture worthy moment" -Vic Chilson

I was surprised at how small and exposed the summit was. We all enjoyed a cup of tea on the summit as we watched a couple skiers descend the north couloir on Potosi Peak.
North couloir on Potosi Peak. Ski goals for next year
Cup of tea on Teakettle Mountain!

We were rappelling off the summit by 10.
Vic on Rappel

The anchor at the top is a sturdy rock slung with three runners and a rap ring around all of them. Only slightly sun-bleached, they should last through this season but then should probably be replaced next season.
Current anchors on Teakettle as of 5.29.16

After the rappel we traversed east towards the mellow slopes that met back up with the couloir down below the crux.
Traversing over to the easier descent

I enter back into the couloir first and as I am making my way down I feel the mountain start rumbling and I hear Vic yell, "GARRETT MOVE!" I look up to see ice barreling down towards me and get out of the way just in time. Apparently the ice that had been guarding the left option of the crux had broken off and came tumbling down the couloir. Keep an eye out for icefall on this climb. We booked it down the rest of the couloir and then regrouped at the "rock table" at the base of the couloir and put our snowshoes back on. From here all that was left was to pick the best line to the car. Once out of the couloir we were thankful for an uneventful descent back to the car. It is funny how after climbing a mountain like this I always feel like a kid leaving a candy shop with a pocketful of candy that I didn't pay for. Well, thanks for reading, hope this helps someone!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions

Tea'd up
06/26/2016 21:34
Nice beverage shot!


Thank you!
06/28/2016 08:50
Figured we had to bring some tea up Teakettle Mountain


Saw you topping out
06/29/2016 18:05
We saw and heard you topping out from another nearby summit that day! We gave a yell but you probably couldn't hear us. Can't see much of anything in this downsized version of a photo I took, but in the original you can clearly see a person on top. Nice job.

Climbers on Teakettle


Sweet picture!
06/30/2016 10:27
It's funny because we were yelling over to some skiers on the summit of Potosi but I don't think they heard us either. We watched them descend the North couloir and then saw them back in Yankee Boy Basin. Good work on Reconnoiter Peak, that looks like a very interesting climb!


What pro?
03/29/2017 10:00
Great TR! Love the summit tea pic, what a great idea.

Just curious what protection you may have used for the summit pitch? I'm thinking of checking this one off in the same week this year. Thanks!


Protection Used
03/30/2017 21:25
We used a metolius #3, a bd #7 nut and a bd #3 cam near the top. If there's less snow than when we climbed it, you might need another piece or two.

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