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Molar Tooth

Molar Tooth

Molar Tooth

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 48.53930°N / 120.70731°W

Object Title: Molar Tooth

Activities: Trad Climbing

Season: Summer

Elevation: 7547 ft / 2300 m


Page By: Fred Spicker, Moni

Created/Edited: Sep 3, 2009 / Oct 24, 2010

Object ID: 549056

Hits: 3207 

Page Score: 88.19%  - 26 Votes 

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West Face of Molar Tooth
Molar Tooth from the west


The 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.

Getting There

West side approach, Molar Tooth

  • From the East

  • 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.

    Lower gully, Molar Tooth
    Low in the Gully
  • From the West

  • 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 Overview

    Beckey’s guide 3:Rainy Pass to Fraser Pass describes 8 routes:
  • NE Face to SW Corner - more or less a snow/ice climb up a deep couloir to easy rock on south

  • South Ridge – East Side: considered one of the easiest routes, apparently Class 3 and 4, but hard to get to. Not well described

    Molar Tooth - descent
    Second rappel

  • North Ridge- West Side: 5.3

  • North Ridge: 5.6 to 5.8

  • NE Face – Crack Route: 5.10

  • NE Face – Issue 119: 5.7

  • NE Arete: 5.6

  • NE Chimney: 5.9

  • 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.


    There 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.

    Campground Information

    Red Tape

    Waterfall on the PCT
    Waterfall along the PCT
    Ah, yes – the usual BS.

    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


    This is supposedly bear country, although I have neither encountered nor seen any. The loose rock is your biggest problem – both in the gullies and on the climb.


    Cuththroat, Frisco and Whistler from the summit of the Molar Tooth.
    Cutthroat, Frisco and Whistler
    View south
    Corteo and peaks south
    Black Peak
    Black Peak


    Black PeakWaterfall on the PCTMolar Tooth Southwest FaceMolar ToothCutthroat Peak - Lewis LakeMolar Tooth - descentApproach to Molar Tooth
    Lower gully, Molar ToothMolar tooth - western approachCutthroat North PeakView southMolar Tooth ApproachCuththroat, Frisco and Whistler from the summit of the Molar Tooth.