Type: Trad, 2 pitches, Grade II
FA: Tink Wilson & George Lamb, 1958 (from Rossiter)?
Page Views: 14,867 total · 67/month
Shared By: Charles Vernon on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

90 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
Access Issue: Season raptor closures Details


Wolf's Tooth ascends a spectacular, 130 foot high pillar that is detached from the main body of the East Owl. Hike up a the Gem Lake trail, and take the cut-off which leads to the east side of Twin Owls (Hen and Chicken, Bowls of the Owls). As you near the rock, the pillar should become obvious in the center of the cliff as the front of a prominent prow. Wolf's Tooth is the chimney on the west side (the East side is Tiger's Tooth, considerably harder and more serious at 5.9+). However, I cannot recommend highly enough beginning this climb with the route Conad's, a long, vertical hand and fist crack on the Lower Owls that leads right to the pillar's base (described elsewhere).

P1 - Ascend the strenuous wide crack/chimney, with adequate protection, and belay just below the top of the pillar.

P2 - Take a flared 5.7 groove/chimney above the belay, or climb a thin 5.9 crack just right (recommended) and step into the groove. Follow as it gets easier and easier to the summit.


Standard rack to a #4 Camalot.
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Do not expect a casual 5.8 on this one. I did it for the second time recently and the first pitch feels to me as hard as Conads! It certainly is a bit scary ... Jan 1, 2001
This is a great route. I just did it for the 2nd (and 3rd, kinda') time this weekend and loved it. I used a #5 camalot in the wide section (but some of it is too narrow for that, more like #4.5). Seems like you could put some "normal" pro in the left wall, but after carrying that cam up there, I was sticking it somewhere. As for the "and 3rd" time, partner was tired after the chimney, and suggested I could rap and do it again if I was bored. Sounded like a good idea so that's what I did (also retrieved the forgotten nut tool). May 29, 2001
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
I've been feeling recently that this is my favorite 5.8 on the Ridge, rather than Pear Buttress. As George indicates, it's a very physical climb, but unlike many chimney climbs, it offers excellent protection the whole way. Last time leading it, I didn't place the #4--as Eric indicates, another crack begins at the wide section and continues the length of the climb. You can also jam this crack in places, for some variety. However, I'd definitely recommend bringing a big piece if it's your first time on it. At any rate, the climbing is excellent and the position can't be beat. Aug 11, 2001
Kurt Johnson
Estes Park, CO
Kurt Johnson   Estes Park, CO
I'd have to agree with George, it felt a lot harder to me than any 5.8 I've ever done. Charles, however, is trying to convince me that I climbed it wrong and wants me to try it again. Dec 18, 2001
Yes, this climb seems to be 5.9 in my view and a bit spicey getting to the chimney itself. Tiger's Tooth on the other side is MUCH harder and I think more like 10a/b (but it will feel MUCH harder than any 10a sport climb, hand crack, finger crack, etc. as is the custom with offwidths.) May 6, 2002
Yes, I guess I am inflating the grades, but I'm trying to bring them more in line with hundreds of other 5.8's. I think this pitch is certainly a grade harder than Pear Buttress (another 5.8 at Lumpy). Grades on routes are arrived at my consensus, usually, but sometimes people are very attached to the traditional ratings - which are frequently way off and serve little purpose. May 7, 2002
Well since this is one of my favorite routes around and I have done a "few" wide cracks and chimneys, I wanted to give my opinion.

I feel like this is 5.8+. It is strenuous and may have numerous 5.8 moves, hence the '+'. I don't think that it has any move with technical difficulty of 5.9. The bottom is sustained crack, but the dihedral helps a bit. Offwidth is awkward but there are numerous ways to do it, and doesn't involve anything I would equate with 5.9 offwidth, like having to get both feet tucked into the crack in that weird 5.9 offwidth fashion (ok that was vague sorry but figure people who climb many offwidths know what I mean).

I will admit it feels harder than some other 5.8s at Lumpy. It is much more strenuous, though probably no more technically difficult than The Frame (8+ offwidth on Lens Rock). Also, it is much easier than Sicilian Defense, on the Book End, or The Snake (5.9 ow) on Turkey Tail in the S. Platte (i.e. another granite offwidth). For the closest comparison I would use Tiger's Tooth, 9+ and right next door. As a side note, I think 9+ is fair for Tiger's Tooth. Again it is extremely strenuous (of course more or less depending on technique, luck/skill of finding holds, etc), but I don't think the technical difficulty exceeds 5.9. May 7, 2002
I'm glad this is hard for 5.8 because someday I want to do the Crack of Fear which I hear is hard for 5.10. I'd hate to see the "Tooth" climbs upgraded since their grades accurately reflect their difficulty in relation to other cracks on the Twin Owls. It's just a burly place to climb and we should respect that. May 7, 2002
A 10hex, a 11hex, a 4 Camalot and a few stoppers, 5.8 +. Lumpy's Bastille Crack, SK. May 30, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
...It surprises me that everyone thinks the crux is the wide crack. I actually thought the first few moves in the first 20' (before you get to the wide crack) were the crux. Slippery and insecure, and hard to get pro in. Borderline 5.9, at least as an onsight lead, IMHO. May 31, 2002
Ron Olsen
Boulder, CO
Ron Olsen   Boulder, CO
I agree with George Bell and Bill Wright - this definitely feels like Lumpy 5.9 in the initial 30 feet. Traditionalists who decry grade inflation should be demanding that this route be graded 5.7; after all, that's what it was rated in Walter Fricke's 1971 guide. To me, ratings should reflect reality and not tradition. Wolf's Tooth is on a par with Conad's in difficulty, and is much harder than Melvin's Wheel, Pear Buttress or Cackle Crack. In fact, it's harder than several Lumpy 5.9's, such as Backflip or Mainliner. Ratings should be consistent across an entire area, and not be harder on one rock (Twin Owls) than elsewhere. Jul 30, 2002
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
Geez, it's rated 5.8+; keeping in mind that it is also an offwidth/chimney, it shouldn't be surprising that it feels pretty hard/strenuous for 5.8. I have pretty poor offwidth technique, but it feels easier, and *much* more secure than most of the 9s and even a few 8s I've done at Lumpy. I've done the Conads-Wolf's Tooth link 3 or 4 times and every time, Conads has felt significantly harder. Of course, some people think Conads is a hard 5.9, but they probably haven't done Tiger's Tooth (9+) or Gollum's Arch (10a). The grades on these steep hand to offwidth size climbs on the Twin Owls seem pretty consistent to me. Jul 30, 2002
Ron Olsen
Boulder, CO
Ron Olsen   Boulder, CO
Wolf's Tooth is NOT rated 5.8+ in any guidebook that I have seen: Walter Fricke (1971) - 5.7 Salaun and Kimball (1980) - 5.8- Rossiter (1996) - 5.8 Gillett (2001) - 5.8 Jul 30, 2002
Scott Conner
Lyons, CO
Scott Conner   Lyons, CO
Finally climbed this last Saturday. After reading the comments here, I was expecting a battle and got one. I thought the crux was about 3 or 4 moves, 25 ft. up, just below a great rest. Felt hard for 5.8 to me, even for OW.

Combining this with Conad's and the 5.9 finish, this is definitely one of the best 5.8/5.9 outings I've done at Lumpy. This is a great feature to climb on and the protection is very good. Large cams are useful for the first 20 or so feet, then small to medium gear can be plugged into the main wall.

Sep 8, 2003
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Well, it appears the 5.8 rating of this climb is correct as that is the average rating of all these comments. I think that is great info - just what these comments are useful for! They also give you an idea that the spread in ratings on this climb is larger than normal, perhaps depending on how much you've climbed in Yosemite or Vedauwoo. Sep 9, 2003
Brent Roaten
Anchorage, AK
Brent Roaten   Anchorage, AK
Did this route last weekend and was somewhat surprised at the difficulty considering the 5.8 rating. The route is certainly stiff for the grade if comparing it routes in Eldo or elsewhere in Boulder but is probably not much harder than Huston's crack (5.8+) on Cobb Rock. The 5.9 finish is much easier than the 5.8 below! The route is excellent (3 stars) but might not be a good choice for the new 5.8 leader although the gear is excellent. Sep 26, 2003
I followed this route 4 summers ago, about this time of year. I was new to climbing at the time. I flailed.

However, it still stands as one of the best routes I have ever climbed/followed/whatever. I am a semi/quasi-reformed endurance athelete--this route reminded me of how I feel after a long bike ride/run.

I guess this climb biased my opinion about climbing; If I am not all-body tired after a climb, then I don't feel like I have done anything. Sep 17, 2004
Steve McCorkel  
There is a nice 100 foot rap in situ for the first pitch. Oct 5, 2004
Cale Csizmadi
Colorado Springs
Cale Csizmadi   Colorado Springs
Great climb and a good workout. Apr 21, 2005
This is a 5.7 route!! It was the first time I led it in 1974 and I really do not think that it has changed that much... I have noticed that many of the old routes have been upgraded. I do not think that they have gotten harder.... May 18, 2005
Greg Sievers
Bozeman, MT
Greg Sievers   Bozeman, MT
It might sound sick, but I've climbed this route about 17 times. Living locally, I give my visiting friends the choice of Lumpy routes. Many WANT to do Conad's & Wolf's Tooth, or can only climb for 1/2 day and want the ultimate Lumpy *classics*. I find them solidly graded and quite equal, albeit technically different. However, I would never send out a 5.8 leader on to it. It might be 5.8 climbing if you hit the sequences perfectly: y'all just better have your 5.9 head screwed on tight. :) Nov 21, 2005
chrisp   boulder
This is an awesome route. I love a chimney with a view. You only need up to a #4 Camalot and even that felt semi-unnecesary since there was ample protection in the incipient cracks on the left side of the chimney.

Definitely pretty physical, but thats what makes OWs OWs. This climb had lots of opportunities for rests.

There is a great belay seat at to belay from just below the summit of the pilar.

I dodged right of this belay and climbed a short finger crack- kind of curious if this is the 5.9 finger crack. I didn't see anything else abovet the belay that looked worthwhile climbing.

You could probably rap the first pitch of the route with a 70m- I noticed some pieces of rope at the top of the pinnacle that looked rappable. Sep 9, 2007
Eli Helmuth
Ciales, PR
Eli Helmuth   Ciales, PR
The closed signs were still in place yesterday 7/15 for the Twins Owls. Only 17 more days to go!

Anoconda is still waiting a 3rd ascent? 13c (Lester, Caldwell)
Autumn Mist is still awaiting an onsight 12d/13a?
Coyote is rebolted and awaiting suitors 12b/c?
Crack of Fear wants your blood 5.10d to 5.12 (depending on your OW skills?)
Wolf's Tooth is also referring to blood loss- not smiles?
Silly Putty 12a- a forgotten John Bachar testpiece up the center on the most inspired line. Rarely an onsight on this one...The first 60' are an amazing 10a flake to a slung horn anchor.

The lld/12a no-name corner off this same anchor is a Joshua Tree *** quality and style corner is often top-roped, rarely redpointed, but never onsighted?

Early mornings and evenings are best for sticky conditions at this Lumpy test-piece crag with "just" a 25 minute approach. Check-out the cave below the central chimney for some serious air conditioning between burns. Jul 16, 2008
Roy Leggett
Lyons, CO
Roy Leggett   Lyons, CO
FYI regarding the above, Steve Su onsight lead the right side flake of West Owl Direct, Beth made the 3rd ascent of Anaconda, and I heard Tommy O-boxed Autumn Mist.
I absolutely love this crag and all of the routes so I always keep my ear to the ground on the climbing there. Sep 14, 2008
Fort Collins, CO
tongmengjia   Fort Collins, CO
I followed Conad's today, then led Wolf's Tooth. I found Conad's to be harder and more sustained. I've got maybe a dozen 5.8 leads under my belt, and I thought 5.8 was a fair rating for this climb. The first 40' or so seemed like the crux to me. After it widened into the chimney I was able to keep at least a foot and a knee on at all times, and just worm my way up. Pro was good the whole way. Aug 3, 2009
Guy H.
Fort Collins CO
Guy H.   Fort Collins CO
A #2 Bigbro is perfect for the crux. It also makes good foot hold for those lacking OW skills. :) Aug 23, 2009
I've loved this climb for years. We climbed it Sunday and found graffiti along the base. Tres sad especially considering the picturesque nature of the line. I take this transgression personally. I've had great memories here. It's similar to pissing on someone's church. Still a beautiful climb though. Aug 8, 2012
Andy Hansen
Longmont, CO
Andy Hansen   Longmont, CO
This is quite a strenuous climb and a full value one at that. I believe it's safe to say this is the most difficult 5.8 I have climbed. We did Conads and then this.... I thought this was more difficult than Conads. Personally, I had the most trouble with the shoulder-wide slot below the chimney portion. For the last pitch, we stepped right into the 5.9 crack, and I thought this was a better option than the 5.7 and keeps the grade very consistent throughout the route. Excellent route and hats off to the FA. Aug 17, 2012
Blake C
Superior, CO
Blake C   Superior, CO
Fun climb, difficult at 5.8+, but it is probably a realistic rating. The spray paint at the base will piss you off, some stupid white hearts (damn, teenage girls). Sep 8, 2012
Russ Keane
Asheville, NC
Russ Keane   Asheville, NC
Exciting and adventurous climb!! Hard for the grade, due to the slippery and not-obvious hand crack section for the first 40 feet, followed by a gnarly physical grunt-fest worming your way up the chimney as the wind howls through the tunnel and you wonder what in the hell your next move will be as your body is torqued into the most unlikely shape and you are so tired.... All of this makes for one hell of a sandbagged 5.8! Sep 26, 2016
Fort Collins, CO
Talis   Fort Collins, CO
This route is hard. I overestimated my offwidth ability on this one and ended up having to bail right at the base of the chimney section. If anyone gets on this soon and would want to return the gear I left, I would be very appreciative. Sep 3, 2017