September 18, 2008
I just can't get enough of a good thing! I headed back to climb the Tooth, this time with my friends Dan Zittel and Tim Allen. Dan and I had climbed in Leavenworth and Washington Pass earlier this summer and we wanted to get one more trip in before the wet weather comes. Tim is a very strong boulder and recently returned from a honeymoon trip to Thailand where he and his wife spent a lot of time sport climbing but he is new to alpine climbing.
There were some low clouds as we pulled into the Alpental parking lot but we knew that it was going to be a beautiful day. Dan and Tim are both skiers so we chatted about the upcoming ski season as we hiked along the Snow Lake Trail. It's fun to see the mountains change in the various seasons. In mid-September the bugs, heat, and crowds are all gone. We made our way up to the Source Lake overlook trail and soon were scrambling down through the boulders to where we would pick up the climbers trail that leads up the obvious gulley.
We only bushwacked a little before we found our steep trail. Soon we were in the basin below the Tooth. We followed the trail on the right side of the basin and then crossed the boulder field to the left side where the trail stays above the boulders for a few hundred feet. Eventually we had to contour into boulder field and make our way up to the notch to the left of Pineapple Peak. Tim and Dan were doing great with all the scrambling and soon we were all up at Pineapple Pass.
As a party of three I had Tim climb first and then Dan second to assist if needed. It was great to have the route to ourselves! We climbed smoothly and efficiently up the first three pitches and soon were at the base of the final pitch with the fabled "Cat Walk". Here Dan went first to show Tim the way. I had set up my belay right above the route so I got some great pictures of them as they made the exposed traverse. Another party had caught up to us at this point but we were already on the summit.
We had enjoyed the great 360 degree views from the summit and had a bite to eat before we started our rappels. With two ropes we were able to quickly descend and soon were back down at the base of the route. On the hike out it got a little chilly so Tim broke out his new Jet Boil Stove and brewed us up a nice proper cup of tea! Thank you, gentlemen, for a glorious day in the mountains!