Trip Report    

Basic Rock Climb - The Tooth/South Face

Despite having to get turned around and challenging wet conditions, we had a great experience climbing The Tooth. We were grateful for the opportunity and satisfied with our decisions. In hindsight, we realized the summer route would have been a better choice. The side hill traverse was much easier than the steep ridge encountered on the Winter route. We learned the importance of assessing conditions, planning ahead and prioritizing safety.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

Date: June 10th

This was mentored lead for me with Brian Degenhart as primary lead and Will Hill as rope lead.  

Weather: We were fully aware of the subpar weather forecast conditions and the small probability of reaching the summit due to wet rock and low visibility. However, with minimal hazards present, we decided to push forward, keeping an open mind, and adapting our plans as the situation unfolded. The forecasts improved slightly on Saturday morning, which reinforced our decision. 

Approach (~3 hrs):

We started our apprach at 8 AM. Considering the shorter and more direct approach, we opted for the Winter route to avoid the scree field traverse on the summer route. The approach started in good snow conditions within the woods but as we ascended, we encountered a melted-out final ridge ( right corner of the photo below) leading up to the basin below Pineapple Pass, instead of the expected snowy terrain. Negotiating this steep ridge involved some bushwhacking, adding an unexpected challenge to our climb. Despite the constant rain (total accumlation was > 0.25 inches), we pressed on, becoming progressively drenched but remaining warm. Our pace was steady, and we reached the notch below The Tooth by 11 a.m. The ascent up the notch was a class 4 scramble which the wet loose rock complicated but the team dispatched it without any issues. 

Decision at the Notch:
Upon arriving at the notch, the rain intensified, and another exposed class 4 traverse awaited us to reach the base of the route. Considering the worsening conditions and the safety of the team, we collectively decided to turn around at the notch and did not attempt the exposed scramble on wet slippery rock. We enjoyed a short lunch and the N/A IPA intended for the summit (courtesy Sasha).


Descent and Return:
During our descent, we utilized the opportunity to practice traversing on steep snow, which reinforced the skills we had learned in Snow 1 but in a more realistic setting. The rest of the descent was uneventful, and we decided to take the summer approach back, which proved to be a straightforward journey. We made it back to the cars by 3PM and had enough time to get some pizza and crag at the exits. The rock at the exits was dry on the steeps but the challenges of dealing with wet ledges on low 5th terrain was sufficient to reinforce that we made the right decision of turning around.    

Overall, despite the challenging conditions, our trip to climb The Tooth was a great experience. We were grateful for the opportunity to attempt the route and satisfied with the decisions we made along the way. In hindsight, we acknowledged that using the summer route when there is no snow on the trail would be a more favorable choice. The side hill traverse from the end of the summer route to the basin proved to be trivial compared to the steep ridge encountered on the Winter route. Overall, the team embraced the uncertainty and adaptability that mountaineering demands. This trip served as a valuable learning experience, reinforcing the importance of assessing conditions, planning ahead and prioritizing safety.