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 Peak(s):  Teakettle Mtn  -  13,819 feet
Potosi Pk  -  13,786 feet
Gilpin Pk  -  13,694 feet
 Post Date:  08/09/2009
 Date Climbed:   07/30/2009
 Posted By:  Furthermore

 Teakettle with Others!   

July 30, 2009
Gilpin Peak 13,694
~2.5 Miles, ~1,300 Gain

July 31, 2009
Teakettle Mountain 13,819
Potosi Peak 13,786
~4.8 Miles, 4,600 Gain

Day 1
Once I picked up my climbing partner, Kevin, who just flew in from Ohio for a six day San Juan climbing bash, we made the drive towards Yankee Boy Basin. When we arrived in Yankee Boy Basin the weather looked like it was going to hold for me to get a quick climb of Gilpin Peak. Kevin decided to just hike to Blue Lakes Pass since he just arrived from Ohio and wanted some time to acclimate to the altitude. From the top of the 4x4 road in Yankee Boy Basin I followed the Blue Lakes trail for about 200 yards and then abandoned the trail and headed for a saddle just below the north ridge of Gilpin.

It was a talus hop and a scree climb to the saddle and might have been easier to just stay on the Blue Lakes trail to Blue Lakes Pass and then south to the base of Gilpin's north ridge. Once I reached saddle, I bypassed a nasty tower in the ridge to the west and then continued up a scree gully towards the summit. I stayed far right of the scree gully where the rock was more solid. I can't say it was the most enjoyable class 2 climbing I have done.

After reaching the top of the scree gully, I proceeded southeast on a climbers trail towards the summit where I arrived at 4:40 PM. The views of Sneffels, Teakettle and Yankee Boy basin were great. Oh, and I can't forget Dallas. I proceeded back down to the car via the same route I ascended and met back up with Kevin. Once I got back to the car, some nasty thunderstorms with heavy rain squalls rolled through.

Day 2
We started hiking up the southwest slopes of Teakettle heading towards "Coffee Pot" at 4:30 AM. The approach was steep and not all that enjoyable for me. I could feel the prior two days of climbing catching up to me. As the sun tried to come out, there was a high thick overcast where the weather began to concern me a little.

Just below "Coffee Pot", at 6:00 AM, it began to rain/snow. Great, this was the third time I have been skunked by weather on Teakettle and my second time climbing this stupid hill to "Coffee Pot." Hopefully it will just be a quick dump, so Kevin and I decided to pull our bivy tarps out and wait out the weather. I zoned out under the tarp and almost fell asleep when Kevin woke me up pointing to a clearing. Not exactly blue skies but I couldn't argue. We descended the steep loose scree gully from "Coffee Pot" and headed for the Black Gully.

The initial move into the Black Gully was probably a bit more exciting than normal as it was wet from the snow and rain but still wasn't all that difficult. We quickly made our way up the Black Gully where I thought the climbing was rather enjoyable. Once at the top of the Black Gully, we easily found the snow covered climbers trail heading toward the summit block of Teakettle. What a neat trail.

Without a problem we arrived quickly at the base of Teakettle where we geared up. The weather was still a thick overcast but I wasn't too worried about it snowing or raining. I quickly made the moves to the summit and only placed one .5 BD Camelot. I thought the climbing was easy and I did not take rock shoes. I set an anchor for Kevin, and he quickly followed. Just as he arrived on the summit around 9:30 AM, the sun came out through a break in the clouds. It was great. We spent close to 45 minutes, longer than I usually do, on the small summit absorbing views and taking photos.

Before we rapelled down, I reworked the rap anchor as it was only over a small chockstone. Nevertheless, the thing that concerned me was that the rappel ring wasn't even placed through the webbing. Yikes. We made the rappel back down to our packs, took some more photos in the pots' handle and then started down.

After we returned to the saddle below "Coffee Pot," Kevin decided to return to the car down the steep scree slope as I was going to continue on to Potosi Peak. I re-climbed the scree slope to the base of "Coffee Pot" and started the traverse to the "Coffee Pot" - Potosi saddle. It was certainly a scree traverse.

Once I reached the saddle, the weather began to clear and low clouds creeping up Weehawken Creek basin were amazing. I didn't waste time, as this seems to be a recipe for early thunderstorms.

I found Roach's description of Potosi to be rather confusing and wordy. I just climbed up to ~13,200 then did an small ascending traverse to ~13,400 as I circumnavigated the peak to the right side of the southeast face. From here, it was a fun class 2 hike up a gully. I somehow missed the turn out of the gully and ascended to the top where I looked down the north face couloir. I descended back down about 100 feet below this notch and found a ledge system taking me to the southeast face which took me to the summit where I arrived at 12:20 AM.

When I arrived at the summit the weather didn't look good to the west as it was hidden by the peak when I was climbing. The stratus clouds had become much darker, and Sneffels was engulfed by dark nasty clouds. I quickly abandoned my stay on the summit and returned via my ascent route to the "Coffee Pot" - Potosi saddle. From the saddle, I did a descending traverse to the west as Roach suggests.

Unfortunately, I didn't traverse enough west. I headed directly down to the car too early and became cliffed out. I ended up re-ascending 200 feet and traversing further west to avoid the cliffs which I didn't care for since I was fairly beat. I arrived at the car as it began to rain. Thunder was in the distance and I was glad to have climbed two excellent peaks.

Gilpin from the base of the north ridge. Scree gully is on the right.
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Scree Gully leading to the summit of Gilpin
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Dallas from Gilpin.
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Teakettle with the Black Gully.
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Kevin starting the Black Gully.
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Kevin topping out of the Black Gully.
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Teakettle after the Black Gully.
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Teakettle after the Black Gully.
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Trail leading to summit block after the Black Gully.
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Trail leading to summit block after the Black Gully.
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Teakettle‘s summit block.
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Me climbing the crux.
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Kevin preparing for the climb.
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Kevin climbing up the 5.3 section on Teakettle.
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Kevin climbing up the 5.3 section on Teakettle.
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Kevin climbing the crux.
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Kevin on the summit of Teakettle.
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Me rappelling off of Teakettle.
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Kevin descending off of Teakettle.
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Kevin descending off of Teakettle.
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Teakettle during a snow squall.
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Clouds creeping up Weehawken Creek Basin.
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Looking up the gully on Potosi that leads to the summit.
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Southeast face climbing on Potosi.
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Make sure you go way west before starting down. These cliffs got me!
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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
lordhelmut


good stuff     2009-08-09 20:42:12
Love your multi-peak reports. Looks like some suspect weather, fun scrambling and a solid week of climbing.

As far as Teakettle is concerned, how necesary do you think a rope and pro are? Just curious.


Furthermore


Rope     2009-08-10 04:34:21
Without a doubt it could be soloed. The climbing is somewhat exposed but not completely out of control. It is only about 40-50 feet of climbing. If you wanted a rope, you could take 30 Meter rope and one .5 BD Camelot. That‘s the only piece of pro I placed.


Presto


Nice!     2009-08-10 09:28:46
What great photos of those routes ... I‘d definitely like to go back and do Potosi again. Thanks for posting.

Lordhelmut, if you went earlier in the season, the snow fills in some of those large boulders below/near the summit block and that actually makes those last rock pitches a bit shorter than when everything is melted out. Happy trails!



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