Type: Trad, 3 pitches, Grade II
FA: Charles Hazelhurst and C. G. Morrison - 1916
Page Views: 25,037 total · 204/month
Shared By: Tits McGee on Mar 17, 2009
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick

You & This Route

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Scramble up to the notch that is just south of Pineapple Pass. Then contour around clockwise to get to the start of the climb. A direct scramble up to Pineapple Pass is not recommended, as this is the rappel route. The final portion of the contour around involves some class 3 to 4 scrambling, but it is short and unexposed. Some parties have elected to do a running belay here, but it is not necessary.


Light Alpine Rack - up to #3 Camalot
Started this climb kind of later in the afternoon and was glad I did. There were like 12 people who had all been bottlenecking for most of the morning. Aug 12, 2013
Spent like 2 solid hours scouring the Source Lake trail for the branch off that the climbers trail takes. Can anyone provide any guidance in finding the climbers trail? We were on the lookout for cairns and any well traveled climbers path, didn't find it. We felt like chumps, since most trip reports say its obvious and easy to find. Oct 14, 2014
Serge Smirnov
Seattle, WA
Serge Smirnov   Seattle, WA
Summer approach: as the trail rounds Source Lake heading west, a group of 30+ ft high vertical cliffs is visible ~500' away on your left, at about the same elevation as the trail you're on. You want to pass below those cliffs, aiming for a wooded area below the left-most cliff. The trail starts in that wooded area, 30-50' below the bottom of the left-most cliff.

(The phrase "avoids losing elevation", found elsewhere in approach instructions, seems markedly out of date - you have to lose 100' of elevation to get to those trees. In theory, you could get off the main trail early enough to avoid gaining those unnecesasry 100' to begin with, but with the vegetation where it is now, that would entail a considerable bushwhack).

Once thru that first group of trees below the cliffs, continue traversing south - cross a 100' boulder field and look for a trail heading straight up the hill, near the boundary between the boulder field and the next group of trees. Jul 19, 2016
Serge Smirnov
Seattle, WA
Serge Smirnov   Seattle, WA
Beta on the climb itslef

Climbing is easy, 3-5 pro placements per pitch semed enough to protect the 5.6-ish cruxes (I climb significantly harder than 5.6, but I've read similar comments from people who do not).

Not as much fixed gear as in some old trip reports.

Can be led with mostly nuts (all nuts if you have both straight and curved nuts).
#2 or #3 camalot useful early on P1.
Small cams (up to gray camalot) will find placements for sure.
Long slings useful.

P1 belay - rap station (cord around a rock)
P2 belay - 120cm sling around a tree (bring your own sling)
P3 belay - small cams, medium cams, or rap anchor (depending on where you stop)
P4 belay - rap station (cord around a tree)

Route finding

P1 - mostly straight up. Don't stop at the first (tree) anchor - go to the 2nd anchor (cord around rocks) if possible. There is a spot where going straight up is 5.7 - 5.8, right is much easier once you find the holds. 35m.

P2 - diagonally up/left (flake, past a piton), then back diagonally right, past a sharp dead snag, to a small tree. 20-25m.

P3 - 3rd class scramble, a bit left overall. If done unroped, stop at the bottom of a diagonal rightward ramp with a finger crack (the ramp is easy but exposed) - anchor here works best with 10-15mm cams. If done roped, you have the option of continuing up the ramp (medium nuts / small cams), then more 3rd class scrambling to a rap anchor some 10m below the final wall.

P4 - 10m of 3rd class, then 3 obvious parrallel RFC starts separated horizontally by ~2m. All 3 have stuck cams ~5m off the ground.
- Left: 5.8, 3 stuck cams within inches of each other
- Middle: 5.7, 1 stuck new green .75 x4
- Right: 5.6, 1 stuck old yellow cam

Rappel: mostly obvious, except for the rappel anchor at the top of P2 - it can be seen from the P2 belay tree, straight down 3-5m. Good idea to look for it while belaying P2. It is probably possible to get to it from the top in 2 rappels without going unroped, but pulling the rope over 3rd class P3 terrain might bring some rocks down, so I prefer making the 2nd (from the top) rappel short (15m), then scrambling down 3rd/4th class terrain (15-20m).

I have no recent direct experience rappelling east from the notch, but I hear it's loose and the intermediate anchor is either hard to find or not always there. We simply went back the way we came. Jul 21, 2016
Mark Webster
Mark Webster   Tacoma
I haven't climbed the Tooth since 1979. My daughter (28) talked me into going up again. Once leaving the trail above Source Lake, we only found fragments of trail going up, but on the way down from Pineapple Pass, I was able to spot quite a good trail. After a couple rope lengths of descent on talus, stay to skiers right (climbers left) and there is quite a nice trail that avoids most of the talus. We followed that trail all the way down to where there were views of Source Lake. It occasionally veers left across short talus bands, but the talus traverses are (usually) marked with cairns. There are many streams to filter water.

My wife and daughter traversed high back to the chair peak trail, but I chose to drop straight down to Source Lake. I thought there would be a trail out from Source Lake, but that place is abandoned. I had to bushwhack east (skiers left), and then up from the lake to the "Source Lake" trail. Which ought to be renamed "Chair Peak" trail, since that is where it goes. The bushwhack was easy, and I beat them by 15 minutes.

Regarding the climbing, the Tooth is quite chossy. I am spoiled by the good granite at Index, Leavenworth and Squamish. It felt 5.4, 5.6ish, but the exposure and less than stellar rock added some spice. As others have said, a handful of nuts up to one inch, and a rack of singles up to yellow camalot #2. Bring your small cams in the finger sizes, as there are a bunch of thin cracks and a few fingerlocks. There are large loose rocks in many places, and many of the crux moves involve grabbing flakes that look like they should be loose. The views from the top are as good as I remember, but there are nearby mountains that look like they would have just as good of views but appear to be walkups, without the chossy climbing.

Rappeling down was straight forward on the obvious trees and flakes you may see as you climb up. We had one 60 and it was fine. We did 4 raps, but could have cut it down to 3 if we'd noticed the scramble off to climbers left on the second rap. As non-mountain climbers, we belayed everything, which made us slow. It took us twelve hours car to car on 8-6-16. It was a beautiful sunny day and there was only one other party several pitches above us. Once we got on the route, 8 other people showed up, and they were still going up as we got down at 6pm. I don't envy them navigating down the talus in the dark. Aug 7, 2016
Amine Chater
Amine Chater   Portland
We were able to link P2 and P3 with a 60m rope.
We rappelled down east of the notch, the rock wasn't all that loose and the 2nd intermediate anchor felt good. Jul 10, 2017
Patrick Nygren
Seattle, WA
Patrick Nygren   Seattle, WA
Rapped east from the notch this week - the intermediate rap anchor was easy to find, but set up over some sharp edges that seem to be putting a lot of wear on the cord/tat that is there. Would definitely bring new stuff to replace if you get there and it doesn't look great.

Also, pulled down a lot of loose rocks when pulling the rope on these raps. Not sure that it really saved us that much time over scrambling around the pineapple the way we came. Jul 27, 2017
As Patrick mentions, rappelling east from the notch is suboptimal. The intermediate anchor is usually not confidence inspiring and is exposed directly to rockfall that your rope is fairly likely to knock down. It is both faster and safer to simply return the way you approached. Jul 18, 2018