Ascent of Teakettle Mountain on 2015-03-27

Climber: Duncan Lennon

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Friday, March 27, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Teakettle Mountain
    Elevation:5936 ft / 1809 m

Ascent Trip Report

Teakettle Mountain is in a beautiful position- one of only a handful of points from which you can see the Flathead Valley, Hungry Horse Reservoir and the Bob, and Glacier National Park. I picked a bluebird day and arrived prepared, having scouted the route on Google Earth beforehand.

That said, yikes. I used an approach from the northwest, parking at 48.426751, -114.156146. I followed overgrown forest roads east and then south, sidling up the hill when I felt like I was edging onto non-public land. After some time, a prominent drainage enters from the east. I went up that to a saddle, then followed the ridge south toward the summit. The ascent took 2:45.

This route is plagued by thicker-than-average western Montana brush. While nowhere close to as bad as the worst Glacier can throw at you, I can sum up my experience bashing through thorns, alder, and jack pine as... unpleasant. I used game trails almost the entire way to the saddle, but these did little to ease my chagrin as the brush tore at my pack, clothes, and skin. At least there was no Devil's Club!

At the saddle, I mercifully reached snow and snowshoed to the summit with relative speed. There were a number of gigantic wolf prints on the ridge, as well as some elk and deer sign. Of course, the view was spectacular, even counting the now-defunct aluminum plant whose toxic releases have devegetated the southwest corner of Teakettle. This vantage lines up directly with Gunsight Pass in the park, so that was a highlight.

Overall, the lowlight was clearly my choice of route. My friend has climbed this numerous times in the summer from Bad Rock Canyon. He floated across the river and picked his way through the large cliffs on the southwest flank, even finding a massive elk shed once. The eastern approach is long, heavily wooded, and threads around and possibly through private land. My northwestern approach spends a good deal of time in private land and, though less than seven miles round trip, is the hardest class 2 hike I've been on in a very long time. I'd hesitate to call this climb a fail, but man, it could have been more fun.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)

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