The Tooth morning

Early light on The Tooth

Roy on the Tooth

My first climb of The Tooth was supposed to be a 1992 Mountaineers Basic Course climb with Vera Dewey as the leader. Unfortunately Vera took a fall and injured both ankles the week before and cancelled the climb.

But fortunately my new found climbing partner, Roy McMurtrey, was willing to take me, a 60-year old basic student, up The Tooth. And Roy is six years older than I am. A couple of old timers having fun. At Pineapple Pass, where the climb starts at the bottom of the south face, we changed from boots to rock shoes and Roy led off. We alternated leads and soon were at the 'Catwalk', a scary little ledge traverse with lots of air underneath and no way to protect with a belay that would prevent a pendulum fall of a lead climber. If the belay is good the climber who fell would likely survive but would be pretty beaten up and would be hard to rescue. One must put such thoughts out of mind when it is your turn to do this ledge. Roy crosses first and gives me a solid and more protective belay from above and I start across.

For me the crux is the move to get onto the ledge... one has to step over and down and it is the down part that that gives me the adrenalin jolt. But I make it and climbed The Tooth many more times with different partners.

To see a few pictures from this climb use this Picasa Link

Bob on the Tooth

One of the other partners was Bob Pasko. It seems like we used The Tooth as a sort of warm up rock climb each spring for 2 or 3 years. On our first go we have to wait quite a while because another party, made up of three climbers - two guys and a gal is ahead of us. A party of two can move pretty fast but with three it is awkward and they move very slowly. The rappel route is basically the same as the up route, with the exception of the catwalk, so we have to wait for them to rappel too. Get plenty of time at Pineapple Pass to watch the other party and take some pictures.

Finally we start up and I lead off since this is Bob's first time on The Tooth. And this time as we alternate leads I lead the catwalk and belay him across. He gets a buzz just like I did. On subsequent climbs we also do a bypass of the the catwalk and climb a fairly strenuous crack directly up. This is the final pitch to the summit.

I don't usually climb the same route more than once but The Tooth (along with the Mt Si haystack) is the exception.

To see a few pictures (or a slideshow) use this Picasa Link