Climb the South Face of The Tooth

Washington Snow Lake Trailhead

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Great Mid 5th Level Climbing. Easy Access. Close Proximity to Seattle. Great Views. Excellent Rock. Good Level of Commitment for a beginner multi-pitch route.

The Tooth is a relatively easy multi-pitch trad route within spitting distance of Seattle. It is rated 5.5, although 3 of the 4 pitches are rated 5.2-5.3. It is a great day trip into the Cascades. The rock quality is fantastic.

Despite the exposure inherent in any multi-pitch, The Tooth has rappel stations at almost every sizable ledge, making descent easy and the commitment, once on the route, lower than other nearby climbs. We climbed it in late June and there were several parties attempting the route that day.

The trail begins at the Alpental Ski Area parking lot. You hike the Snow Lake trail for 2 miles, through thick forests, until you reach an open valley. The Tooth will be visible to the south. The trail splits, with a newer trail heading due east, head south instead. Continue hiking, across the valley, into a boulder and talus field which leads directly to the base of The Tooth. You're aiming for a well defined and obvious fissure to south of Pineapple Pass. Follow the climbers trail through a 3rd class scramble, down (W) and back up (NE) to the Pineapple Pass notch.

The first pitch of the climb is blocky and easy 5.2-5.3 grade climbing. This pitch is only 90-100 feet long and terminates at a large ledge before a steeper face. There is a boulder here with slings and rappel rings. (End P1)

The second pitch, also 5.2-5.3, can be combined with the first. It is straight up the face through series of blocks and cracks. It ends at another large ledge, with a tree anchor. It is approximately 60 feet long. (End P2)

The third pitch is a scramble up into some small trees and across several ledges. It is 150ft long and ends on a large ledge before the face of the 4th and final pitch. (End P3)

The fourth pitch is the most technical and most enjoyable of the climb. You are faced with two distinct options for ascent. First, directly in front, up a ramp, is a series of cracks and thin ledges which lead from right to slightly left up the face and top out at the summit. (End P4 A, 5.4)The second option is to climb a distinct crack system to the right, to a notch at the summit, which threads between two trees. (End P4B 5.6) Both options are awesome routes. If you have time, consider climbing one, rappelling, and then climbing the other.

Descent from The Tooth is made easy by rappel stations at the large ledges. Once you are down to Pineapple Pass, you can rappel down the gully to the NE.

Descend the scree and talus, and head back to the car. Make sure you have a beer or two waiting for you.

Pack List

  • Climbing Essentials (Harness, ATC or belay device, Helmet)
  • Rock shoes (not essential, can be done in approach shoes)
  • Small Rack ( 1 full set of nuts, a few Cams [.5-3], 1 set of medium hexes, slings for anchors)
  • 10 essentials
  • Lots of Sunscreen( the route faces South, so you're in the sun all day)
  • Water (bring a filter or a Steri-pen, we ran through 9 liters and on the way down chose to drink from several streams)
  • Forest Service Parking Pass (day passes sold in parking area).
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Activities:

Rock Climbing

Skill Level:

Advanced

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Forest

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How to Get There

10 months ago

A great alpine climb close to Seattle

This climb is a blast! The trail is well maintained up to the talus field that takes you to the base of the Tooth. Get there early to beat the crowd, or late to avoid it all together. There are plenty of rappel anchors but it's a good idea to bring a few extra double runners and maybe a few rings just in case. Plan on three to four short pitches to the top. Parking lot to parking lot a group of 5 made it in under 9 hours. Enjoy!

10 months ago

Added by Wells Preston

I am a photographer, climber, and outdoorsman living in Seattle. I am always planning my next adventure, whether it is a multi day mountaineering trip in the North Cascades, a blue grass festival, or an afternoon trail run. It starts getting weird when I haven't been outside all day.

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