Peak(s):  Teakettle Mtn  -  13,819 feet
"Coffeepot"  -  13,568 feet
Date Posted:  05/18/2011
Date Climbed:   05/05/2011
Author:  Dad Mike
 Tea Party for One  

Trailhead...Road Closure on Yankee Boy Basin Road (9200')
Elevation Gain...5200'
Mileage...about 10.5 miles
Route...Teakettle's South Face, Traverse to Coffeepot
Time...10.5 hours


Started out just before 5am. There is so much snow down there it's hard to tell where the summer trailheads are. I got to this sign after hiking on the road for about an hour. Snowshoes were not needed.


Here was my first view of's the pointy one in the middle. I think that's Cirque Mtn on the left with the sun.


A closer view of the south face with my route shown in red.


There was plenty of recent wet slide activity to sort through. The conditions on the face were a mixed bag...I tried not to get too excited when I found nice firm snow because it never lasted long.


Looking over at Coffeepot from about 13000'


Some of the steepest snow was just about this section. I measured it at 60 degrees at one point, but it probably averaged 50.


Took this shot at about 13,600' looking back down the slope.


The Southeast Ridge finally in view.


9:45am...Time for the fun part. I had seen pictures of the summit block with snow on it, and I thought it didn't look too bad. The pictures are definitely deceiving. This 20 foot climb is not easy...especially when the rock is cold and snow hides some of the good holds. I went with glove and ice tool in my right hand and no glove on my left. My bare hand went numb about half way up and this made it a little trickier. But I fumbled my way to the top and it was well worth the effort.


Looking back down at the ridge and the chimney used to climb the summit block.


Sneffels and Cirque


As I started making my way over to Coffeepot I realized I forgot to take the token picture of Teakettle's handle. I've seen some really cool & creative pictures of this thing and this is not one of them. Oh well.


The deep snow on the ridge made it difficult to cover ground quickly. A couple of times I had to backtrack to find a safer route. Here is the last section before Coffeepot's summit block.


It took me a little searching to find the easiest route up Coffeepot. And again, it was not easy. There is a large boulder at the top of the crack I chose to climb. This made the last few moves very awkward. Here I am at 12:50pm on top of Coffeepot.


The sexy North Couloir on Potosi. My original plan was to finish my day over there. Given the time of day and how warm it was getting, I decided to head down. I'll be back for that one.


Teakettle in the rear view mirror.


Looking back at my route up Coffeepot from the rappel.


A word of advice to anyone heading down to Yankee Boy Basin soon...the most dangerous part of my whole day was walking along the road on the way down. I saw and heard water, ice and rocks peeling off the cliffs above the road. Some of the ice blocks were the size of basketballs. I kept my helmet on, moved quickly and stayed as close to the rock as I could...that's all you can do.

This was an incredible route and it will probably be available for a while with all the snow up there.

Thanks for reading.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

 Comments or Questions

TR is quick and to the point...
05/19/2011 17:29
...the same way you are with your climbing!
Nice pictures Mike, and an impressive solo accomplishment.

Looks pretty white down there! More so than when I was in the SJ's in early April.


2 thumbs up
05/19/2011 19:16
Hell yeah Mad Mike. This is the time of year to hit these guys, unless one prefers dinner plate specials galore. Too bad you ran out of time for Potosi, but have the satisfaction of knowing you saved the crown jewel of Yankee Boy for last. That N.Couloir is a pleasure and its lookin in prime shape right now.

Image #18 is pretty damn cool, I agree on the unnerving feeling of traveling along that road this time of year. The C-rock region and icefall alley just above the gate closure at 9300 feet is some sketchy ass terrain, last thing you want to deal with after a long day travelling on snow.


Great useful report
05/20/2011 01:33
Very useful. These two are on my hit list and your report convinced me to try these with snow cover. Question: Did you go on foot the whole way or eventually use skis/snowshoes later? That basin below Teakettle looks pretty deep with snow. Anyway, great report and accomplishment.


05/20/2011 03:12
That's a lot of snow! And looks like a lot of work to plow through it. Great shots! Thanks for the post!


Now is the time
05/20/2011 14:19
Reading your account of this ascent shows the advantage of using snow to avoid the awful scree/dinner plate ascent from the road.
We came down your ascent route, which is the most direct way, but I'd never try that ascending that way sans snow.
Nice report and gutsy solo day.


05/22/2011 14:26


Nice work...
05/25/2011 02:57
with the difficult climb and succint but informative TR. I feel like I was moving. I really like that last photo of the back-lit icicle. Thanks.


05/03/2013 22:45
Mike for your great TR. Because I saw this TR, even though it was 2 years ago that you climb Teakettle, I choose the same couloir.

That final summit tower is a doozy in snow, huh?

Great job and thanks again.

Dad Mike

08/12/2014 23:13
Hey Tom...
I stashed my snowshoes at the point where you turn off the road and start heading up towards Teakettle. The road was pretty well traveled from recent ski groups. I did use them the whole way down the road and I was glad I brought them.

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