The Tooth 5604 ft
Hail, hail the gang's all here!
June 2, 2002
Jeff W was in town so I put together a group to go climb the Tooth! Of the six people in our party, we had all climbed it at least once except for Jake (who has climbed almost all the other Snoqualmie peaks!). So this trip was doubly fun! In addition to Jeff and Jake were Larry, Michael, Kim and myself. Our merry party arrived in two cars at the Alpental parking lot at almost exactly the same time! The sun was shining and it promised to be a Blue Bird day!
As we headed down the trail I was bringing up the rear and I could hear everyone talking, laughing, and enjoying each other's company. It was so much fun to see us all together in the mountains! As we neared the avalanche debris field below Source Lake, we heard a helicopter flying over head. It flew up the valley and hovered around Chair Peak. We were hoping it was just a training exercise and not a real mission. This was a sober reminder that although climbing can be a ton of fun, there are always risks involved.
We made good time on the hike in and we were soon climbing up the steep gully to Pinnapple Pass. But wait! "This isn't Pinnapple Pass, this is the beginning of the route!" We had started up too early and had mistakenly climbed directly to the beginning of the route. "Yeah, I didn't remember it being that steep.....". Jake and Michael started climbing first, followed by Kim and I, and Larry and Jeff. I was so glad to be climbing with Kim on this fun route. Kim isn't real keen on alpine starts, but with our good friends, the warm sun, and blue skies she couldn't have been happier. This was also the first time that she had actually seen the Tooth since it poured rain the entire day when she climbed it before!
Just as Jeff and Larry were about to start climbing the first pitch, eight more climbers showed up at the notch! If anyone had been upset with me for having us meet at 6am, they weren't now! Up until now we had the whole climb to ourselves which we thought odd considering the perfect weather.
When Kim and I reached the last pitch, we saw Michael leading a difficult variation above the catwalk. His regular leather boots needed to be resoled, so he opted to wear his plastics! Nice piece of work! Jeff and Larry had passed us on the previous pitch so saw Jeff leading up through a crack system on the right. Since Kim and I had already climbed the "catwalk" on earlier climbs, we opted to follow Jeff and Larry up which turned out to be a lot of fun, although probably not as challenging as Michael and Jake's route.
I reached the top and brought Kim up. As she popped her head over the ledge, Michael was there to snap a picture. When we were all on top, I started to gather the rope up when Michael yelled over to me, "Hey come over here and check out this old gear!" Michael, Jake, Jeff, and Larry were all huddled around something but I couldn't see what. Then they all stood back and yelled "Happy Birthday!!!" Before them were 8 cupcakes (yellow cake w/ chocolate frosting plus SPRINKLES!) and one even had
Thanks everyone for one of my most memorable days in the mountains!
Here are some more photos of the climb....