Teakettle via SE Ridge (5.3)
"Coffeepot" via East Chimney (5.0)
Mount Sneffles via SW Ridge (3rd class)
San Luis via Northeast Ridge (1st class)
This report is mostly photos and a little text. Enjoy!
With the school year looming right around the corner, my wife and I decided to take one last trip before going back to teaching. We set our sights on the San Juans and made for the beautiful Yankee Boy Basin.
Route on Teakettle and Coffeepot.
Rolling out of bed was hard, and the thought of grinding up a steep scree slope was not helping. Leaving the lower TH in Yankee Boy, the challenge is met immediatley with steep grass slopes that lead sharply upward. Setting our sights on Coffeepot, we slowly fought our way up the increasingly loose slopes. The final 1,000 feet is an unpleasant experience in which you take five steps up and slide back down four. Coffeepot came as a pleasant surprise, and the views of Teakettle were impressive.
Steep and loose.
Step, slide, repeat.
The Black Gully is reportedly simple, but from Coffeepot it looks terrifying.
Looking across to the summit plateau. Black Gully is partially shaded and looks mean from here.
After a short break, we began the loose descending traverse to the Black Gully. Fortunately, the Black Gully looked easier and easier the closer we got, and it turned out to be a simple scramble. The rock was loose, and we kept close as to avoid knocking rocks down on each other. After topping out of the gully, we followed the simple climber's trail to the summit formation.
Scree Traverse to the Black Gully.
In the Black Gully.
Black Gully exit.
The summit pitch proved to be very simple and made me wish I hadn't carried any rock gear up with us. I placed one bomber nut to protect my wife while belaying me and one TCU #4 to protect her while following. The climbing was easy and could be easily done with no pro by somebody with even moderate climbing experience. I used a 30Mx8mm rope and lead on it like it was a twin rope, it also worked perfectly for the rappel. The summit views where fabulous and we enjoyed the views.
We headed back over to Coffeepot and took a few minutes to climb the easy chimney to the top.
Almost back to Coffeepot.
Chimney on Coffeepot. Lots of loose stuff on top.
Summit of Coffeepot.
The descent was almost as unpleasant as the ascent due to the loose slopes, and the grass was a welcome change of pace.
Glad to be on grass at last.
I dreamed of unstable slopes all night and the morning came quickly. As dawn approached we geared up and headed up the road into upper Yankee Boy. The hike up to Blue Lake Pass was easy, and the maintained trail was welcome after the previous day's choss. We donned our helmets at the pass and worked up the ridge. The scrambling was easy and fun. The higher we got the more the views opened up and we soon found ourselves on the summit of Sneffels.
Starting up Sneffle's SW ridge.
Avoiding the snow
After soaking in the sun and enjoying the marvelous weather we made for the standard route. Once past the notch and in the gully we were surprised to see a hoard of people coming up. It was a mess of folks not wearing helmets and kicking rocks down on each other. The sound of rocks tumbling followed by shouts of "Rock!" was pretty disconcerting. The lower gully was a little better and I was glad to be out from under the people above. The rest of the hike out was simple and after a short snack we made for San Luis.
The notch on the standard route.
Loving Yankee Boy.
The drive to Stewart Creek was long and dusty. There were several cars at the trailhead and some very nice folks. Although the trail was easier, the longer distance made us choose to start earlier and we tromped up the trail in the earliest light. The hike through the trees was long, and I was very happy to finally break treeline. The summit came quickly and I enjoyed standing on my last 14er in the San Juans. Although not as beautiful as other San Juan 14ers, San Luis still had nice views and we enjoyed the summit. After chatting with some nice gentlemen on the summit we made for the car. The hike out felt longer but it felt nice after accomplishing a lot in the San Juans. They are a beautiful range, and I hesitated before driving back to the Front Range. If it wasn't for the next day's climbing plans I would have liked to stay longer.
Finally out of the trees on San Luis.
San Luis. Last San Juan 14er for me.
Part 2 - Alone on the Eagle
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