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Ascent of The Tooth on 2020-05-24

Climber: chris hooper

Date:Sunday, May 24, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:The Tooth
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:5604 ft / 1708 m

Ascent Trip Report

with MB, the day after our self guided marathon through some of the the major summits of seattle.


we arrived to alpental around 12:30. the gate to the upper parkinglot was closed so we began hiking from the lower lot. the snow lake trail looked crowded so we headed for the source lake trail instead. we encountered deep snow immediately but it was wet and mostly compacted, making snowshoes unnecessary, lucky since we didn't have any. I did not bring ice axes or crampons, but did bring microspikes, anticipating easy snow conditions. this would prove a bad decision as the steeps to gain pineapple pass were riskier than necessary. we arrived to the base of the tooth final approach by 330. The standard route to the south face had a steep slope leading to a large hidden cornice ready to go. we roped up here to bypass it to the left up wet featureless rock - this felt like the crux of the route to me. we stayed roped up as we traversed in the snow around to the base of the south face. MB fell and arrested following the traverse by kicking in feet, but was shaken. I regretted at this time that we did not bring ice axes - why?!

at the base of the south face, we began climbing. this was my first trad climb a year and a half ago, when i climbed it with a rag-tag last minute party of 6. this time, i wore climbing shoes instead of climbing boots and fount the climbing easy, placing 3 pieces of pro the entire climb (about one per 70m rope length). MB followed. our adrenal systems were not functioning as usual due to yesterday's high-elevation gain, no training marathon in seattle. MB had not been on a multi-pitch climb in 6 months and the exposure was real. We gained the summit to memorable views in the golden hour. we descended rappelling until low on the snow field. I am for the most part unusually comfortable on sketchy snow but underscore again, having microspikes was not sufficient.

the hike home in the dark was fun. we returned by the snow lake trail, which was much more compacted and empty this late at night, so no worries of crowds and covid 19. crossing the melting-out creeks on the steeps below the tooth was sketchy. we roped together on a 20ft chordelette and tried to down climb such that we'd snag a tree between us if we both fell. read: crampons+ice axes.

we arrived to the car by 11pm or something like that. Fun to be in the mountains again. Home to a huge plate finishing off the leftover lazanya and bed.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Rope, Headlamp
Ascent Statistics
    Route:source lake trail to south face
Descent Statistics
    Route:south face to snow lake trail



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