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The Tooth

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L to R R to L Alpha
Ortho Bullets S 
Tooth Decay T 
Tooth Extraction T 
Tooth Fairy T 
Tooth or Consequences T 

The Tooth Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 7,703'
Location: 32.3491, -106.5713 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 11,720
Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Aaron Hobson on Mar 5, 2006  with updates from George Perkins


59° | 47°

66° | 47°

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61° | 47°

65° | 45°
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Paul Seibert leads out on the middle section of th...

Placement of bolts/fixed anchors is prohibited in Wilderness Study Areas MORE INFO >>>


One of the gems of the Organs, the tooth is home to some of the best routes found anywhere in the Organs. From the dripping springs area it is easily discernable as a beautifully clean looking wall just below "The Wedge", a large triangular shaped peak.

This is one of the few Organ walls featured in Dennis Jacksons "Climbing New Mexico". The Rosul-Dunning guide lists routes on the wall but adds this comment: "Many unreported climbs here". The listed climbs are all up the smooth faces on the west facing wall. And many variations can be done linking pitches on these climbs.

The wall is nicely shaded in the morning, and many of the routes remain shaded through-out the day, making them good destinations even during the hotter months.

Getting There 

The approach is rather straightforward although more than one party has gotten lost and spent the day bushwhacking up thorny ravines. About 1/2 mile north on Baylor canyon Rd (from Dripping Springs rd) is a dirt rd on the right called Modoc Mine Rd (no sign). This is a very rough mining rd, go up it as far as you dare and park at one of the many pull-offs. Continue on ft up the rest of the road. You will pass by the tailings of Modoc Mine and the road takes you south over a few ridges before finally dying at a small clearing on the top of a ridge. From here there is a faint climbers trail heading directly uphill. The trail is marked by cairns and is actually fairly easy to follow. It passes a gorge before ascending directly to the Tooth. Scope out your route before you get to the base of the cliff, as it is difficult to see the routes from the base.

From the start of the climber's trail, the approach is around an hour. Hiking up Modoc Mine Rd may take you another 30min-hour.

Climbing Season

For the Organ Mountains area.

Weather station 10.8 miles from here

5 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Tooth

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Tooth:
Tooth or Consequences   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 4 pitches, 550'   
Tooth Fairy   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 4 pitches, 450'   
Tooth Extraction   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 5 pitches, 500'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Tooth

Featured Route For The Tooth
Rock Climbing Photo: Scott Jones following up the first pitch.

Tooth Fairy 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  New Mexico : Organ Mountains : ... : The Tooth
This is the most direct of the climbs on the Tooth. It follows the most obvious weaknesses up the face, the most prominent being the beautiful crack that slices down the large slab half-way up the route. Some of the cracks have some vegetation and dirt in them, but for the most part the climbing is clean. The route offers good variety too, throwing everything except steep face-climbing at you.Pitch 1, 80ft: Starts with a short lay-back and continues up a grass-filled crack until it pinches down ...[more]   Browse More Classics in New Mexico

Photos of The Tooth Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Tooth:  Mark Motes, FA (fall 1984) of the left, ri...
Tooth: Mark Motes, FA (fall 1984) of the left, ri...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Tooth - by Paul Horak for The New Mexico Climb...
BETA PHOTO: The Tooth - by Paul Horak for The New Mexico Climb...
Rock Climbing Photo: This photo hardly does justice to this magnificent...
BETA PHOTO: This photo hardly does justice to this magnificent...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tooth:  Standard Route (ca. 1978)--photo probably ...
Tooth: Standard Route (ca. 1978)--photo probably ...
Rock Climbing Photo: the tooth
the tooth
Rock Climbing Photo: tooth fairy
tooth fairy
Rock Climbing Photo: R side of crag double cracks
R side of crag double cracks
Rock Climbing Photo: The Tooth as seen from the Gerdames. Climber on th...
The Tooth as seen from the Gerdames. Climber on th...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Tooth Fairy and Tooth or Consequences. Photo B...
BETA PHOTO: The Tooth Fairy and Tooth or Consequences. Photo B...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Tooth - by Paul Horak for The New Mexico Climb...
The Tooth - by Paul Horak for The New Mexico Climb...
Rock Climbing Photo: Lee Davis' Tooth guide 3
BETA PHOTO: Lee Davis' Tooth guide 3
Rock Climbing Photo: I received this topo of the Tooth around 1983 clim...
BETA PHOTO: I received this topo of the Tooth around 1983 clim...
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown routes on the tooth. These two cracks are ...
BETA PHOTO: Unknown routes on the tooth. These two cracks are ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Lee Davis' Tooth guide 1
BETA PHOTO: Lee Davis' Tooth guide 1
Rock Climbing Photo: Lee Davis' Tooth guide 2
BETA PHOTO: Lee Davis' Tooth guide 2
Rock Climbing Photo: ian on the slab traverse
ian on the slab traverse
Rock Climbing Photo: Tooth Topo from Horak Brothers Material
BETA PHOTO: Tooth Topo from Horak Brothers Material
Rock Climbing Photo: then and now
then and now

Comments on The Tooth Add Comment
Show which comments
By Anthony Stout
From: Albuquerque, NM
Apr 22, 2006
That second photo of the tooth with the clouds is great! Looking from the first photo with blue skies to the second, with the weather looking all gnarly, gives two completely different perspectives of this area.
By Roger Rumsey
Dec 31, 2007
I would like to second George's comments regarding the Tooth as I was with George on that particular "adventure". I must also say we were using route beta from Dennis Jackson's "Rock Climbing New Mexico" and the Rosul/Dunning "Organ Mountains Climbing Guide".

We started with the intent of doing "Tooth or Consequences". The first two pitches of "T or C" are great with adequate protection. However, as with a lot of Organ Mountain routes one could argue they may be a grade harder than the current ratings. Also, I would not encourage anyone to do the 5.8 R variation to the first pitch start. Looking directly down on it from the 1st belay it looks very hard with the crack pinched shut that last 10 to 15 feet?

The traverse from the second belay out onto the face of "T or C" was way more committing and dangerous than I was willing to invest. Probably 30' of traverse on polished granite to the first bolt with potential of a pendulum back into a corner if you blow it. The climbing and the protection did not look 10- to me or to George. We opted to head upwards on a combination of "Tooth Fairy" and "Tooth Extraction".

Suffice it to say after 4.5 pitches of climbing and getting out into "no man's land" on what was supposed to be a 5.8 traverse George and I decided to bail. It looked like a lot of parties had come to the same conclusion.

I would encourage only those climbers with strong 5.10 skills to venture onto the Tooth as it is a real test of mental composure. Lots of space between the 1/4" bolts and seams that are discontinuous.

With the long, steep approach I have never worked so hard for 4.5 pitches of climbing. That being said, the Tooth contains the nicest, cleanest granite I have encountered in New Mexico. Funny though, I can't wait to get back and finish those last 2.5 pitches. Probably won't be that last time I get "spanked" in the Organs!
By Karl Kiser
Mar 15, 2008
The Tooth was climbed first with aid (Lee Davis &???). The most common first two pitches (1--up the crack and traverse right to corner belay; 2--around the corner and up the left facing dihedral and up to a belay) are the first pitches of Tooth Fairy, the first free route. It was climbed before T/C.

see later posted information about the Tooth from an old issues of NM Climber (1976-1979; Mark Dalen editor).
By Karl Kiser
Apr 2, 2008
FA with aid by Lee Davis and Mark Milligan. The climb went up the Tooth Extraction corner, bat hooked some of the now Tooth Fairy pitch and generally got to the now 5th pitch on Tooth Fairy.
By Karl Kiser
Apr 2, 2008
The Tooth Standard FA with aid by Bill Hackett and Lee Davis. The route went up a hard corner on the right of the bottom of the Tooth. Then up the center section to the top of the now second pitch of Tooth Fairy. Next the climb went up and over a roof to a belay with old bolts. Climb right and then up and left then further left to the top of the now fourth Tooth Fairy pitch. The last pitch is the same as the current last Tooth Fairy pitch.

FFA of the Tooth Standard by Paul Horak and Paul Seibert ca. 1975.
By Reed Cundiff
Sep 25, 2009
Bill Hacket and I decided to try the first ascent of the Tooth and ran into Lee Davis and another climber already on it. So we backed off, cranky and grumbly. At that time there were huge Ponderosa Pines (2' diameter) at the base of the climb; unfortunately, these were killed off by a brush/forest fire in the 1970's that burned off much of the southern part of the Organs. It took Lee a number of tries to work through the route, along with a number of partners.
By P Seibert
Nov 18, 2009
Karl seems to have it right. He calls it the hard right corner which went free on hexnuts in 75. Great overhangin crack. Yep, tooth fair was climbed for years on the "old standard 1/4 inch bolts.

Oh tooth extraction was named because Reed Cundiff pulled a loose block on his head. Thus tooth extraction
By Steven Reneau
May 18, 2011
To find the Modoc Mine Rd, head 1.4 mi (not ~0.5 mi) north on Baylor Canyon Rd from Dripping Springs Rd jct to 1st dirt road on right. Then semi-parallel BC Rd for a while before turning east at another jct. Or go 1.1 mi south from Topp Hut Rd to a 2nd entrance, also semi-paralleling BC Rd to jct.
By George Perkins
From: The Dungeon, NM
Feb 22, 2015
2 new sets of bolted anchors were added recently.

The best descent from the Tooth is 5 rappels down Tooth Fairy with (1) 70m rope or 60m rope. A 60m rope will be a rope-stretcher on some rappels. Compared to having 2 shorter ropes, using a single rope is less weight on the burly approach and is less likely to get snagged on trees and around blocks.
By Ian Harris
From: Las Cruces NM
Sep 21, 2016
In my opinion, the anchor at the top did not need to be replaced. It was on a comfy ledge. It is now semi hanging, at the top of Tooth Fairy. It's a little bit of an awkward spot on top of some loose looking blocks. I appreciate the bolting effort, but I'm sure the climbing community (including myself) would have liked to provide input on anchor location.

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