The Tooth/South Face

Getting its name from the eastbound lane of I-90 views, The Tooth is a classic rock climb on solid rock. It has a few low 5th class moves and an airy “catwalk” traverse on a four inch wide ledge that is a particular attraction. The climb is popular and can be very crowded. Time: trailhead to summit 5-6 hr. It's a great first alpine rock climb.

getting there

Take Exit 52 off of I-90 at Snoqualmie Pass, and turn northwest onto Alpental Road and follow it to the Alpental parking area (3,100 ft).


Hike up the Snow Lake Trail about 2 miles to a talus slope above Source Lake. Traverse above Source Lake on talus or snow, staying beneath a cliff band. Just beyond the cliff band, head up a steep slope, getting as high as possible before crossing a stream. Scramble into the basin under the east face of The Tooth. Ascend this basin to the second notch south of the South Face of The Tooth. Climb through the notch, then down to the north and back up to Pineapple Pass, the notch between the South Face and the pinnacle to its south.

In early season, an alternative approach is to hike from the parking lot up the valley on the left side of the creek, near Source Lake, ascending snow finger into the basin.


At Pineapple Pass rope up and ascend directly up the South Face to a broad ledge about 50 feet below the summit. From here there are three options:  (1) ascend broken rock somewhat to the right of the center face, (2) climb directly to the notch below the summit by a thin left-facing flake, or  (3) go left on a narrow ledge, know as the Catwalk, and then scramble to the summit.


Rappel the climbing route or choose the less-used north ridge route.

On the north route scramble about 30 feet north on the summit ridge, then descend a short gully chimney. Follow easy slabs down and north to a major gully. Work 50 feet up to the head of the gully at a narrow notch in the summit ridge. Cross the notch (probably should be belayed), then work north a short distance to an obvious descent gully leading to the north end of the west face. If descending via the north ridge, take ice axes to the summit  as there is sometimes snow on the north side.


Trailhead to Pineapple Pass 2-3 2,100
Pineapple Pass to Summit 3 500
Summit to Trailhead 3


Standard rock gear with a few small to medium chocks. An ice axe for the approach in early season.

Information FOr leaders

Permit information

As of 2017, the Snoqualmie Ranger District considers Mountaineers trips and courses to be "nominal use". Leaders should print and copy this designation letter to show rangers they may see on trail or carry a digital copy on their phone.

Priority Climbs List

This is a very popular climbing route. Please check the PRIORITY CLIMBS LIST before listing trip to be sure your branch has priority for this route for the dates you plan to schedule it.

  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: May, June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Basic Rock Climb, Strenuous 2, Technical 3
  • Length: 5.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,500 ft
  • 5,600 ft
  • Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass Gateway No. 207S
  • Green Trails Snoqualmie Pass No. 207
  • USGS Snoqualmie Pass
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