The Tooth
Location: Snoqualmie Pass Area    

Elevation: 5,604 ft

Route: South Face
Grade: II
Class: 5.4
Topo Map
 
Date: June 22, 2002
Party: Chris Woytko, Bruce P, Vicky W, Leah J,
Richard C, Kevin S
Other Notes:

Trip report by Vicky Wiswell

First thing Saturday morning our group lazily congregated in the Alpental parking area anticipating a good day ahead, but unable to conjure motivation quite yet. The peaks high above glowed bright orange as the sun set them on fire from its place low on the horizon and out of our view. We fueled up with some Krispy Kremes and eventually headed into the trees to begin the gradual ascent of our snow approach. The air was crisp and felt good. And there were no other groups in sight, an excellent sign for a climb that, on a warm day, typically involves lengthy climb and rappel waits.

With the grade steepening, the chill in the air quickly gave way to warmth, and as the sun climbed higher in the sky, we finally felt its heat on our backs. We peeled off layers and had no doubt that summer had arrived. Leisurely step-kicking into the soft snow, our group fell into a comfortable pace and secured some elevation. As the trees thinned, we made a left and gained a flat where we got a drink and visited. The Tooth was now straight ahead and we were eager to get on the rock. After hoofing up the remainder of the approach, we skirted around a juxtaposed pinnacle and arrived at our sunny south face. One other group's gear was strewn about, but they were nowhere to be found. Perfect.

First Glimpse
of the tooth
Final Approach
Roping up

In a hurry to feel the warm rock, we organized our gear, broke into a couple of groups of three, and got started. Aside from a reachy move hardly worth mentioning, the first pitch was a good time. The climbing got easier as we went and in between moves, I snuck glances at the perfect view of Mt. Rainier. The third and final pitch offered us an option of an exposed catwalk or a short face. Chris, Rich, and Leah opted for the catwalk to avoid a group that was rapping down. Bruce, Kevin, and I took the face, which I think was my favorite section of the climb. It was quick, and fun to have a bit of vertical climbing.

Once on top, the six of us stretched out on a beautiful slab of bedrock and fed ourselves shamelessly for an hour or two. How was it possible that we had the summit all to ourselves? The sky was so clear and the sun felt so good, none of us seemed to mind our increasing sunburns. Eventually, the time came to head down, so I unwillingly peeled myself off the rock and strapped on my rock shoes. We rapped down the three pitches chatting with upcoming climbers along the way. Once at the base of the first pitch, we grabbed our discarded articles and swapped back our gear, except for Kevin's pants, which ended up in some poor sucker's pack. We rapped down between The Tooth and pinnacle, stripped the harnesses, and began our descent. A few glissade shoots begged to be run, so naturally we obliged. Once in the trees, we walked out, talking in disbelief about the amazing weather and lack of crowds on the rock. What an excellent day!

Looking down at the
catwalk
Leah popping
out on the summit
Summit shot

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