Teepee Mountain and its sister, Mount Stevens, are the highest mountains above Wasa Lake on the Rocky Mountain skyline. Teepee appears as a flattened cone with a uniform profile rising from an alpine ridge. The long hike up Teepee Mountain climbs over two distinct summits: Mount Stevens and, about 1.5 km farther north, Teepee Mountain. The summit hike to both peaks is over broken talus and some loose rock.
The Rocky Mountains unfold and sculpt the landscape to the horizon to the east. To the west, the Kootenay River valley sprawls over the lowland Rocky Mountain Trench and Lazy Lake sparkles far below.
A trek to Teepee Mountain might be a good training hike before trying the much harder climb up Mount Fisher. The views from Teepee are just as rewarding as the prominent and popular Fisher, to the south. The difference is that the climb up Teepee is on a moderate- grade trail reaching to a high, open and congenial ridge. Teepee’s attraction is also much more subtle, as it doesn’t tower above its neighbours quite so dramatically as Fisher. Mount Fisher is only 60 m (200 ft.) higher than Teepee Mountain.
There is no water available. On a hot day bring at least two or three litres per person. Also pack extra clothing to wear on the exposed and windy ridges.
Fay’s Lake to Teepee Mountain
You can reach Teepee Mountain via a backpacking trip from Fay’s Lake. It is a fine day hike among larch stands, alpine tarns and a summit hike to Teepee Mountain.
Estella Mine is an abandoned mine site near the ridgetop of the Rockies. The mine is almost at treeline, and by climbing up a steep, open, grassy slope from the mine, gaining 450 m (1,500 ft.), you can walk on the high wide ridge at 2400 m (7,900 ft.). Once at the ridge you can hike for hours on the open alpine of the Rockies. The ridgewalk above the Estella Mine makes a nice day hike.
Drive to Estella Mine
Follow Lewis Creek Road past the Mount Stevens trailhead, and in another 7.9 km take the right fork, N16660-E01352.
Continue up a series of switchbacks and the road deteriorates. I do not recommend driving much beyond the second switchback, N16400-E00967, 10 km from the Mount Stevens trailhead (or 25.8 km from Lazy Lake Road). ATV the final 6.9 km.
A hang-glider take-off ramp is at 12.4 km, N17100-E00147.
The mine, N14200-E00374, is 32.7 km from Highway 93/95 (16.9 km from Mount Stevens trailhead). The mine is at the headwaters of Tracy Creek.
Rating: moderate to Stevens Pass then difficult to Teepee Mtn.
Time: long full day
Distance: 5.2 km to Mount Stevens and 1.5 km farther to Teepee Mtn.
Elevation gain: 1494 m (4,900 ft.)
Mount Stevens: 2656 m (8,717 ft.)
Teepee Mountain: 2774 m (9,100 ft.)
Trail: long, steep, forested trail; extensive elevation gain to moderate exposure on alpine ridge; two high Rockies summits
Map: 82G/13 Skookumchuck (NAD27)