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Routes in The Tooth

Incisor T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Ortho Bullets S 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Root Canal T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Snaggle Tooth T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Tooth Decay T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Tooth Extraction T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Tooth Fairy T 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Tooth or Consequences T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
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Type: Trad, 550 ft, 4 pitches, Grade III
FA: Mark Motes, Paul Horak and Glen Banks ca. 1979
Page Views: 7,848 total · 56/month
Shared By: Aaron Hobson on May 21, 2007
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Placement of bolts/fixed anchors is prohibited in Wilderness Study Areas Details


A striking climb with exciting moves on every pitch. The first pitch has several variations. The "regular" start as described in Dennis Jackson's guide is in a grass-filled crack underneath the left side of a huge roof (5.8). (This is the same start as for Tooth Decay.) At the first bolt, traverse right underneath the roof to a bolt on the corner. A variation start is to climb a thin seam/shallow-dihedral just to the right of the regular start. This is rated 5.8 R in the Rosul-Dunning topos, but felt more like 5.9+. The seam is too small except for fingertips in a few spots, and is difficult to protect. Another variation starts in the alcove around the corner to the right, and face climbs past two bolts (5.10+?) to reach the bolt on the corner of the large roof. From the bolt at the edge of the roof, follow a rising crack to the right to reach a 15 ft hand-crack in a corner. This crack goes at 5.9 with a tricky exit move to gain a brushy ledge. Easier climbing gains a large ledge next to a dying tree where a 3-bolt chain anchor is found. It is preferable to set up a gear belay on the north (climber's left) side of the tree on a spacious ledge, which will give you better views of the spectacular second pitch.

The second pitch is the best known, and perhaps most feared. Rising off to the left is 100 ft of 5.10 slab with only four bolts for protection (a piton helps protect the traverse over to the bolts). The old 1/4" bolts are still there, but someone has been kind enough to add a second newer 3/8" bolt next to each old bolt making the climb all that much safer. Still this pitch is quite memorable, with perfect rock and exposure. Belay at a small stance on the arete with more great exposure.

The third pitch continues up the arete on the right side for 60ft until a small overlap above a large block is reached. A difficult and committing 5.9+ mantle gains a small stance next to a bolt. From here the climb moves over to the left side of the arete and up a small dihedral where a committing traverse move to the right is required to gain a bolted belay stance on the arete.

The last two pitches can be combined, although it may involve having some rope-drag. From the belay, climb past a bolt to the left (5.9 slab) then veer up and right under a large protruding block. Clip a bolt under the right side of the block, and fire up the thin crack/corner (5.9). If rope-drag is an issue, belay at the top of this block, otherwise take your pick of two cracks to ascend the final 50 ft. The left-hand crack is easier (5.7) but also slightly dirty. A hand/fist crack which diagonals sharply to the right goes at 5.9.


I found small wires and a few hand-sized cams to be useful. The thin seam variation start takes tiny wires, but most the other cruxes are protected by bolts. Long runners are helpful for rope-drag avoidance. Many of the bolted belays have an abundance of bolts. Beware though as many of these bolts are old 1/4", but there is usually one or two newer bolts as well. A few loose blocks exist and parties should use caution, especially on the third pitch.


This route starts under the large roof on the left side of the west face. After the bottle-neck start it pretty much stays out near the left arete. Descent is by three double-rope rappels.
Karl R. Kiser
Karl R. Kiser  
FA by Mark Motes, Paul Horak and Glen Banks ca. 1979. Apr 2, 2008
Stu Ritchie
Stu Ritchie   Denver
One of the best granite routes in the Southwest! Some old 1/4' bolts could still use an upgrade! Mar 16, 2009
Aaron Miller
Santa Fe, NM
Aaron Miller   Santa Fe, NM
Great Route! Every pitch has something worthy of climbing. Beware of the rope drag on 1st pitch going around the roof. You may want to break it into 2 short pitches to avoid this or use 4' runners and back-clean after the roof.

Pitch 3 has a pull-down-not-out block after the mantle. I don't think its going anywhere soon but just be careful. Jan 6, 2010
George Perkins
The Dungeon, NM
  5.10b PG13
George Perkins   The Dungeon, NM
  5.10b PG13
Climbed TrC again yesterday (my 3rd time?). Just as amazing as I remembered it being. With the runouts & exposure, it would be intimidating for a leader who's maxing at low-5.10. (I remember it kicking my butt and me wimping out on my 1st attempt on the Tooth quite a few years ago now, and I've heard of a couple other teams who've looked at the crux and said "no thanks".) A step up compared to nearby classic 5.10s like Endgame and Days of Future Passed at Cochise, or Mountain Momma in the Sandias.
-With the bolt replacement efforts in the last 2 years, all the bolts you care about look new and bomber; most of the old bolts were removed from the route. There are no longer old bolts side-by-side the new ones on p2- I don't remember if the top pitches had 1/4"ers before, but if so, they were replaced with modern bolts too.
-After p1 (as described above), clip the 3-bolt rap anchor and step left of the tree to a new 2-bolt anchor in a better position to belay the crux slab (p2). Yeah, the rope drag is pretty bad.
-New rap stations down Tooth Fairy would allow for descent with a single rope (per Marta Reece a 60m will work, though we had a 70m).
-I had a single rack from RPs to a #3 camalot, though 1 each extra #0.5-#1 camalot might be nice to have. Don't need a huge rack. Feb 6, 2017

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