The moon sets over the Providence Mountains. Unfortunately, the peaks are not accessible on this day due to a backcountry closure.
I had a vague recollection of Bob Spirko's trip
Kessler Peak and
Teutonia Peak, but without any Internet available, I had no way to
access any route details or to even know where to start.
Fortunately, Kessler Peak is not a difficult mountain to climb, and I
basically parked my car on the side of the highway and made a beeline for
the base of the west slopes. The worst part of the whole ascent was
the tedious approach which quickly turned into a game of finding the path
of least resistance through annoying low bushes while avoiding nastier
plants like cacti or chollas. There are a few significant cliff
bands on the west slopes of Kessler Peak, but with a bit of careful
route-finding, I was able to avoid any difficult climbing. After
gaining a rather rugged false summit, I continued up more easy slopes
over a second false summit before finally topping out on the true summit
which has a survey marker and register. Sonny stands on the summit of Kessler Peak (1876
metres). Despite the
disappointment of having to forego my original objectives in Providence
Mountains SRA, I was happy to still salvage the day with my ascents of
Kessler Peak and Teutonia Peak. Furthermore, Teutonia Peak's
challenging summit ridge proved to be surprisingly fun. This
wrapped up my relatively quick but very enjoyable solo road trip (I drove
to northern Utah that night and made it back to Calgary the following
evening) which saw me tag 10 summits, sleep in the back of my Honda CR-V
for 5 out of 9 nights, and drive over 5256 kilometres. The top of Kessler Peak glows late in the day.
Joshua trees dot the landscape on the
western approach to Kessler Peak.
Here is a view to the west of Teutonia
Peak from the lower slopes of Kessler Peak.
This is typical of the terrain on the
west slopes of Kessler Peak.
Sonny looks up after reaching the
first of two false summits.
The first false summit is quite
To the west, Teutonia Peak is merely a
pimple on the broad volcanic remnant known as Cima Dome.
Kingston Peak (distant left) and Clark
Mountain (right) stand out to the northwest.
Northeast of Kessler Peak is the vast
expanse of Ivanpah Valley.
The Providence Mountains are shrouded
in clouds to the south. The light patch at centre are the
Some of the entries in Kessler Peak's
summit register date back to 1975.
This is looking back at the west
slopes of Kessler Peak from the bushy desert floor.
Traversing across the desert to the
base of Teutonia Peak can be quite tedious.
A few small washes like this one
provide some relief from the prickly desert bushes.
The notch at centre near the south end
of Teutonia Peak provides easy access to the upper mountain.
Sonny hikes past a large boulder on the south ridge of Teutonia Peak.
This is the view of Teutonia Peak's Centre Peak from the South Peak
(1741 metres). Sonny's approximate ascent route is shown.
Sonny raises his arms in triumph as he holds up the register on top of
Centre Peak (1744 metres) which is also the true summit of Teutonia Peak.
The connecting ridge to North Peak is more complex than
In contrast, Kessler Peak looks rather
uncomplicated to the east.
The crack on the left provides a
difficult but feasible route to descend the north side of Centre
Negotiating the terrain below the
cliffs on the west side of Teutonia Peak is far from trivial.
Sonny stands on top of North Peak (1741 metres).
This is a looking southeast from North
Peak along the connecting ridge to Centre Peak.
Northwest of Teutonia Peak is another vast
drainage known as Kingston Wash. Kingston Peak stands out on
the right horizon.
The New York Mountains dominate the southeast
horizon. Barely visible at centre in front of the low ridge is
This is the crux for gaining
access to the top of North Peak.
This is looking back up the section
along the east side of Teutonia Peak that Sonny descended.
Round-Trip Time: 6 hours 56 minutes
Net Elevation Gain to Kessler Peak: 353 metres
Net Elevation Gain to Teutonia (Centre) Peak: 221 metres
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 687 metres
Sonny stands on the summit of Kessler Peak (1876 metres).
Despite the disappointment of having to forego my original objectives in Providence Mountains SRA, I was happy to still salvage the day with my ascents of Kessler Peak and Teutonia Peak. Furthermore, Teutonia Peak's challenging summit ridge proved to be surprisingly fun. This wrapped up my relatively quick but very enjoyable solo road trip (I drove to northern Utah that night and made it back to Calgary the following evening) which saw me tag 10 summits, sleep in the back of my Honda CR-V for 5 out of 9 nights, and drive over 5256 kilometres.
The top of Kessler Peak glows late in the day.