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Ascent of The Tooth on 2014-06-30

Climber: Aaron Farmer

Date:Monday, June 30, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:The Tooth
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:5604 ft / 1708 m

Ascent Trip Report

Took a Monday off work to get our first "alpine" trad climbing experience done. Left Seattle around 8, stopped by North Bend for some McMuffins and to grab some lunch, and parked the car just before 10. Lots of cars in the parking lot, but seemed to be mostly retirees heading up to the saddle above Snow Lake. We hit the trail around 10 or 10:30 (can't remember specifically).
The trail was clear all the way to Source Lake Overlook, where the snow began. Took us about 30-40 minutes to get here, and then we started the slog to Pineapple Pass. We followed an existing boot track across some snow patches, but eventually lost it. We climbed beneath some cliff bands, and took a rest at a crag (Rap Wall?). We started climbing up a moat to avoid punching through the snow, but it was super crappy, and we eventually climbed back up on to the snow.

Note: If anyone finds a brand new Garmin Foretrex 401 on the trail between Source Lake Overlook and the basin below Pineapple Pass, let me know! It silently removed itself from my pack. Booo!

Finally, we made it to the basin below Pineapple Pass, and started kicking steps up steep snow. Wish we had ice axes! I had poles and firm boots, so I felt OK, but ice axes would certainly have helped, especially on the descent. The heat on the snow was killing us, but we hit the notch South of Pineapple Pass, and took a well deserved break. I took us about 1.5 hours to get here from the Source Lake overlook.

After a brief scramble around the spire, we made it to the base of the climb. We were the only ones there, miraculous. We took our time eating lunch, getting geared up, and set out at around 1pm.

First pitch: I belayed Jesse up, and he did the full 170 foot pitch up to a tree rappel station (right where the dirty ledges start). Pretty straightforward climbing, pretty fun. Jesse took some lines that didn’t feel like 5.4, which I appreciated.

Second “pitch”: I took the lead here and scrambled up to the final headwall. Not much to say here. I think I placed a single nut, and clipped a fixed cam (I mostly did this for fun, but it ended up adding a bunch of rope drag – skip it next time). Once I got to the headwall, set up a belay off another rap station, as I couldn’t really find anywhere to set up an anchor.

Third pitch: I lead this one, because the last pitch was kind of lacking. Started looking at what I think was the “catwalk,” but I couldn’t find anywhere to place pro, and it was pretty exposed, so I bailed. Looked like easy climbing, but didn’t feel confident enough to try it. Went back to the flake system, where I could place some pro. I could get a couple pieces in early on, but right at the middle had to run it out. Not difficult climbing, although felt harder than 5.4. Belayed Jesse up from the rappel station below the summit.

All in all, climb took 3 hours. We rappelled back down the route, and made great time (despite a giant knot somehow manifesting in our rope between the 2nd and 3rd rappel). Another party showed up just as we were starting our 3rd rappel. We packed up and rapped back down the gully to the snow. From here, it was a sketchy descent to so talus, where we could start boot skiing back into the basin. We got lost on our descent (ironically, we were looking for my GPS, which I lost on the way up, which would have saved us a bunch of route-finding difficulties).

All in all, we made it back to the car at 8pm. Our day was a lot longer than expected, but rewarding overall.

Gear:
Double set of cams – we ended up using most of them, which surprised me
Full set of nuts – didn’t use many of these, mainly the larger ones
Bunch of slings – used lots of slings, rope drag was still a pain
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Rope, Ski Poles
    Nights Spent:0 nights away from roads



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