My Teakettle Mountain and Southeast Ridge Route pages on SP
So the summer climbing season was quickly dwindling with the early October snows and I wanted to get one more Centennial done while I was working in Utah. I replied to a 14ers.com thread and planned to meet a couple guys at one of the camping areas on the Camp Bird Road. After driving to Ouray from Hidden Splendor in the San Rafael Swell, I found their camp spot at 2am and tried to stay quiet as I settled in to get as much sleep as possible. At around 8am we all woke and piled into the Jeep and up to the trailhead. We managed to get to the end of the road and started hiking up steep slopes directly above the old bathroom near treeline. We made good progress up the grassy slopes skirting around numerous cliff bands and up the south facing slopes below Coffeepot. We got to the famed "viewpoint" where the remainder of the route first becomes visible. The photo at the left shows the route from this viewpoint. Up to this point the sun was out and there wasn't any wind. We had to descend about 100 feet down the other side of the ridge. It was shady with some fresh powder snow on this descent. I led the way though and we hit the sun again soon enough and made our way up the dark colored gully. This 80 foot gully was steep and loose but the snow made it a little easier. Once out of this gully we emerged on a small flat bench and traversed horizontally below some cliffs and found the best way to reach the crest of the southeast ridge. We were finally able to see the famous arch making the handle of the teakettle. I started up the 5.3 chimney and decided to place one piece of protection since I was wearing big, bulky snow boots and didn't want to risk slipping on free solo. I got to the tiny summit and watched as the other two in my group climb up. The summit views were fantastic and worth the trip. The three of us barely fit on top. Once we had our fill, we reversed the route and arrived back at the Jeep around 2pm.