The Tooth, South Face (5.4)

The Seattle Classic

The South Face of the Tooth is the classic beginner Seattle area alpine rock route. It stands on a ridge above Snoqualmie Pass, inviting aspiring trad climbers with its positive holds, wide ledges, and easy access. After a 16 hour day climb of Glacier Peak the day before with Daniel, I wanted a nice “rest” day, so Kylie and I headed up in the late morning to the Tooth.

The approach was not too bad. There was still a snowfield above Source Lake, which was a little slick. We did not find the correct climber’s trail and kind of climbed straight up a creek drainage before entering the basin beneath the Tooth. We leisurely climbed up the ridge and traverse along the backside to the base of the route.

Looking up at the South Face of the Tooth.

We had employed “the Beckey Route strategy”: for classic beginner rock routes, arrive in the afternoon and you will be too late for the crowds. It worked perfectly, as there was only one other party on route; all the rest had already finished.

I led the first pitch, but Kylie led the rest of the route. It was actually her first trad lead ever, in an alpine setting nonetheless! She did an incredible job route finding and making gear placements, never showing any nerves. It helped that there were huge ledges to stand on and make placements and no climbing was any harder than 5.4.

Kylie stands atop the Tooth!

There were nice views all around the Snoqualmie Pass area.

Pano from the summit of the Tooth.
Me looking out towards Chair Peak.
Proud rock climbers!

We rapped back down the face and did a few more raps back down the gully right next to the Tooth. We then had a nice easy hike out back to the car at Alpental. Not bad for a Sunday Stroll! Congratulations to Kylie for crushing it on her first trad lead and first alpine lead!

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