Type: Trad, Alpine, 800 ft, 8 pitches
FA: Steve Risse, Dave Tower
Page Views: 488 total · 17/month
Shared By: Drewsky on Aug 12, 2016
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick

You & This Route


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Description

This route is an exciting and difficult excursion that forges a path up the steep slabs to the right of the East Face route. Part or all of it is rumored to have been bolted on lead and the committing feel of some of the route really reflects that vision. The climbing is similar to other face routes in the area but contains more pure slab and is a bit scruffier than the more well-traveled routes. Expect stout grades on some of the pitches. Falling is undesirable in numerous spots in the first part of the climb, but it's never excessively runout. The somewhat crumbly rock, especially on P1, would likely improve with more traffic but certainly adds to the adventurous feel.

P1: Start in a vague right facing corner right of or as for the East Face and climb cracks until it's possible to move up and right: a piece of bail webbing often marks the first bolt. Climb up and right across the slab past six bolts and a fixed copperhead and finally straight up to a bolted belay above a tree. Sustained, heady and delicate with some alpine crumbliness and multiple crux sections. Some of the cruxes are well above bolts and feel quite committing (11-).

P2: A shorter pitch follows more slab past well-spaced bolts to another bolted station (10).

P3: Varied crack climbing leads up to a cruxy bolted traverse left and up over a small roof and onto a slab. Slightly runout but easier slab leads up to a belay at a tree with many slings (11b/c).

P4: The most recent topo I've seen (in the Cascades Rock book) shows this pitch climbing a stepped left facing corner past three pins, meeting the larger roof above at a bolt on its right edge. We climbed a corner further to the left that required traversing a long section of dangerous loose rock under the roof. If the rightmost option avoids this it is certainly the better choice. Either way, pass the roof on its right, clip a bolt and climb elegant hand and finger crack to a bolted belay (10).

P5: Easier steep cracks above the belay become flared and transition fairly abruptly to a difficult maneuver establishing on a slab. Forge up the very thin slab to a horizontal, then move right and up again past 5 bolts to a bolted belay above a tree in an alcove/cave (12a).

P6-7: Climb steeply out of the cave via a wild hand and finger crack that continues with varied jamming past a fixed nut anchor and a ledge with a loose, slung block. Belaying at either of these will work, but it may be best to continue to the final bolted anchor. I believe a 60m rope will suffice for this linkup but I haven't had the chance to verify (5.9, 5.7 if pitched out).

To descend, follow one of two options:

Top out the route on the East Shoulder and do a very exposed and sketchy 4th class traverse west to access a descent gully. Hike down the Blue Lake trail.

Alternately, rappel the route. The top rappel is now from a bolted anchor about 20-30 feet above the P6 slung block anchor, or partway through the 4th class scrambling on P7. It is located at the lowest point one can reach via easy scrambling down from the summit of the East Shoulder. From here, one can reach either an intermediate nut and sling anchor or the bolted anchor atop P5, depending on length of ropes. I am not certain that two 60m ropes reach from the top bolted anchor to the bolted anchor in the alcove atop P5; use caution and stop at the nut/sling anchor if you're not sure. 70m ropes will certainly allow one to skip the nut anchor. The rest of the rappels are from obvious, good-quality anchors (either trees or bolts).

Location

The route is located just to the right of and shares the same or at least a similar start as the East Face route. Access the treed ledge either from a protruding block in the middle of the formation (roped pitch, 5.8ish) or from one of the gullies on the north or south side, depending on the condition of the snow and bergschrund. Both gullies are the subject of fairly frequent rockfall. Begin on cracks and flakes from the left-ish side of the ledge. Tooth and Claw moves right towards the first bolt while the East Face exits leftward from the cracks a bit earlier. The East Face may actually start a little further left but when we climbed it, we started in the exact same spot.

Protection

A doubles rack to .75 Camalot, plus singles of #1, 2 and 3 is recommended in the new Cascades Rock book. We didn't bring a #3 Camalot and while not crucial, it could prove useful in a few spots.

The fixed hardware on Tooth and Claw was always rumored to be bad. Sure enough, it was in a dreadful state when we did the climb, aside from the anchors which below P6 are all good bolts or trees. P1 in particular had at least three different types of bolts, several of them bad 1/4" bolts that probably wouldn't have held a fall. Many of the old bolts on the climb were replaced this year after our ascent. There are still a few older bolts on the climb, but they're of the 5/16" buttonhead variety and are of passable quality at this point.

Finally, the fixed head on P1 is still in place. It's pretty good for a bashie and adds a little old school flair to the route. In any case, the climbing beyond it isn't too cruxy.

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