Teakettle Mountain – 13,819 ft.
Date: May 15, 2013
Team: Dav, Christy, Ted, Ian Fohrman, Matt Lanning
Route: Southwest Face
Teakettle Mountain located in the San Juan range is widely considered one of Colorado’s hardest Centennial Peaks. Bad rock and a mandatory rappel off the top contribute to the mountain’s difficulty. However, as skiers we found this to be the exciting part. With snow covering the loose, dinner plate-like rock we were looking forward to a direct, relatively short climb, and the technical finish on the summit block just added to the excitement of the day.
After camping just two miles outside of Ouray on Camp Bird Mine Road, we headed up towards Yankee Boy Basin. With the recent reopening of an historic silver mine, Revenue Mine, the road up to Yankee Boy is cleared all the way to the base of the Teakettle, making it possible to starting skinning right from the car. Once up in the upper amphitheater we threw our skis our back and climbed up the narrow gullies that took us to the base of the summit block.
Here Chris lead the final 5.3 summit pitch after which we all followed. Barely enough room for all of us to sit, we took in the amazing sea peaks that surrounded us. This, in my opinion, is one of the most exhilarating summits of Colorado.
Still being spring conditions, we had to soak it all in and quickly start retracing our steps down the mountain. The ski down was riddled with debris from a week of warm weather but had softened up just enough to offer some fun turns. Sitting on a warm, grassy bench on lower part of the mountain we again saw the formation of dark, rain clouds that have formed almost every day so far this week, reminding us more of summer monsoon patterns than typical, early May weather.
Up high we also got a good look at the dust that has hit this area so hard. We expected things to be a little worse so we might stick around the San Juans for a few days and see what else we can get done.