OverviewThe Molar Tooth is a large knob on the ridge extending north from Cutthroat to Cutthroat Pass. It is only labeled as point 7547 on the USGS topographic map. When viewed from the summit of Cutthroat it does resemble a molar tooth. While it doesn’t have large prominence, for its size, it has an unusually large number of routes, as compared to some of its neighbors. All routes on it are technical, ranging from Class 4 and lower Class 5 to upper Class 5. The views from its summit are great. The apparent first ascent was in 1971 via the NE Arete by Alex Bertiulis and Charles and Patricia Raymond.
From State Highway 20 (North Cascades Highway) several miles east of Washington Pass take the road to the Cutthroat Trailhead (there is a sign). From the trailhead follow the trail towards Cutthroat Pass. Depending on your goal, either leave the trail part way up the eastern slope to the pass, so as to cross scree slopes that lead to the base of the NE Face. It is also possible to follow the ridge crest from Cutthroat Pass south for about 1 mile to the base of the North Ridge. The last 1/3 mile or so is Class 2 and 3 scrambling on rotten rock.
From State Highway 20 (North Cascades Highway) take the road leading to the Pacific Crest Trail NORTH trailhead at Rainy Pass (Elevation about 4850 feet). Follow the PCT north for about 1.5 miles, just before it crosses a log foot bridge across Porcupine Creek at an elevation of 5250 feet. About 100 feet or so shy of the bridge, ascend the ridge that leads NE towards the Molar Tooth (see map). There are 2 gullies. A large main gully, which looks very nasty, leads to the base of the west face and is the gully described in Beckey's guide. A second, much cleaner gully leads to the base of the north ridge as well as the west rib. Distance from the PCT trail to the peak is about 2 miles and 2300 feet elevation gain.
Routes OverviewBeckey’s guide 3:Rainy Pass to Fraser Pass describes 8 routes:
Additionally, one climber posted a first ascent of the West Face and rated it 5.8.
What we climbed does not match anything in Beckey, although our intended route was the North Ridge, West side. See the attached route page for a description of our climb, the West Rib/North Ridge Route.
The recommended descent is via 3 rappels over the N ridge. Some anchors are in place, but since this peak receives so little traffic, bring gear for replacing old anchors.
CampingThere are official USFS fee campgrounds on both sides of Washington Pass. The nearest is Lone Fir to the east with Klipchuck and Early Winters a bit further east, but at lower elevations and thus open earlier in the season.
Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the Blue Lake Trailhead.
The Okanogan National Forest web site has current information regarding obtaining a NW Forest Pass, road and trail conditions, closures, campgrounds, etc.:
Okanogan National Forest