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Lexington Tower
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East Face T 
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Tooth and Claw T 

Tooth and Claw 

YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 8 pitches, 800'
Original:  YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: Steve Risse, Dave Tower
Page Views: 167
Submitted By: Drewsky on Aug 12, 2016

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This route is an exciting and difficult excursion that forges a path up the steep slabs to the right of the East Face route. It is unique for WA Pass in the sense that it has multiple pitches of friction slab. It's a bit scruffy in places but well worth the effort. The route is heady: falls are undesirable in spots but the climbing is never excessively runout or dangerous.

P1: Starts in a vague right facing corner as for East Face, trending up and then right across a slab past six bolts and a fixed copperhead and finally straight up to a bolted belay above a tree. Very sustained, heady and delicate (11a).

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 another belay at a tree (11b/c).

P4: Step left and climb thin crack on the right or a crack in a corner on the left. The left option will require some crumbly climbing at the roof before making the exciting roof traverse right that's easier than it looks. Pull the roof on the right and finish on elegant crack climbing to a bolted belay (10).

P5: Easier cracks above the belay transition abruptly to a difficult maneuver onto a cruxy slab. Climb up, right and up past 5 bolts to a belay. A difficult exercise in low-angle climbing (12a).

Two easier pitches (.9, .7) lead up to the East Shoulder of Lexington Tower.

To descend, follow one of two options:

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

Alternately, rappel the route with two 60m ropes. The top rappel used to be a tree, but is now, according to a comment on the East Face route, a slung horn and nut combo. Avoid starting your rappels from a tree off to 'skier's right' with a green sling on it, instead looking for the aforementioned anchor, if it exists, in the center portion of the East Shoulder. The next rappel is from a tree on a ledge, skipping the P6 anchor (slung jumble of blocks). The rest of the rappels are from obvious, good-quality anchors (either trees or bolts). I added quick links to a couple of them but I believe the P5 and P1 anchors are still slings with rap rings and could use quick links. The P1 anchor has Metolius rap hangers but since these tend to twist ropes, webbing or quick links make more sense.


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) or from one of the gullies on the north or south side, depending on the condition of the bergschrund. 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 I climbed it, I started in the exact same spot.


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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