Trip Report    

Basic Rock Climb - The Tooth/South Face

We had a lovely climb of The Tooth in warm and sunny temperatures, with the route to ourselves.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The trail is snow free to the end.  There is still a snowfield above Source Lake which we used microspikes and ice axes to cross.  The Great Scott Basin is still mainly snow-covered.  We stayed clear of edges near boulders.  There is running water in quite a few places in the lower part of the Basin.  We had no problem scrambling around the Dog Tooth on rock up from Pineapple Pass.  There is a new bolted rap station at the base of the climb and the tat is gone.  (We actually met the guide who had installed them--he had just arrived with a client when we were finishing.) We used the bolts as our belay anchor for the first pitch. Thank you to Nick Mayo of Everett for sharing a trip report from his Monday climb with me.


    Putting on microspikes and getting out ice axes to use to cross the snowfield above Source Lake.


    This is what the snow coverage looks like en route to Pineapple Pass.

The six of us started out at 5am and had a steady approach.  We stopped just past the end of the trail to put on microspikes and helmet and get out ice axes to cross the snowfield above Source Lake.  We kept the microspikes on until just below the Dog Tooth, where we stashed them, along with our poles and ice axes, since John had climbed the route the week before, and we knew the scramble to the base would be snow free.  


We had great views of Rainier and stayed above the rising clouds all day.  One pair climbed all 4 pitches, and two pairs climbed 1, 2, and 4 and scrambled the 3rd pitch.  

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We had a leisurely lunch at the summit, enjoying the birds and butterflies.  One butterfly took an especial liking to Magda's pink helmet and orange climbing  rope and hitched a ride.

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We set up two double rope rappels for the descent, both time with saddle bags.


Andrew backpacked one rope down. I went down last, stopped at the base of P4, pulled the first rope and untied the knot.  Magda and Andrew then pulled that rope and set up the second double rope rappel to the base.  I pulled the final rope, backpacked it, and then scrambled down to the next rap station just below the top of P2.  I was the last one down again, and I pulled the knot over the edge to make it easier to pull the ropes.  I arrived just at the base as a guide and his client were arriving--the only other people we met on the climbing route that day. Magda, Andrew, and I were easily able to pull the double rope.  It worked well, and I'd do this again with students.

Some put their spikes back on and some just plunge stepped back down the afternoon snow.  We made good time, stopping once to filter water.  It was a lovely leisurely day with old friends and new friends. Many, many thanks to John Bell for mentoring me on this climb--and for all the goodwill he spreads in the mountains wherever he goes.  Thanks to Andrew for a great job rope leading, to Magda for helping out and  encouraging the students, and to Katie and Ivy for being fun and super well-prepared students.  



I didn't take any flower photos, but we saw false hellebore, two types of penstemon, rosy spirea, marsh marigolds, shooting stars, paint brush, columbine, pink mountain heather, wandering daisy, harebells, trillium, plumed solomon seal and starry solomon seal.