OverviewThe southwest face of the tooth is fairly unclimbed compared to the standard south face route. Even on clear summer weekends this face is usually empty and quiet. There are many variations on this climb as there are 3 completely different starts. Each is it's own adventure and is continuously more exposed that the south face. Also, this face is harder to protects with more difficult climbing than the south face.
Below is a description of a route I took starting at the first dihedral and traversing left higher on the face. I would climb this route over the south face any day as the climbing is more sustained, more exposed, more varied and much more quiet.
Getting ThereFollow directions for the normal approach to the Tooth until you reach the notch just south of pineapple pass. Continue around the rock as if you are going to pineapple pass but instead of scrambling up to pinappe pass and the start of the south face climb, continues traversing below the tooth until you reach 3 large dihedrals. There is one "almost dihedral" but this doesn't count as one of the three. Believe me, you will know when you come to the first one... it is maybe 50 meters past the scramble to pineapple pass.
All three dihedrals are climbable. For this route, take the first dihedral and start climbing at it's base.
Route DescriptionPitch 1 (5.5) - Starting from the base of the dihedral, climb easy 4th class terrain until the dihedral splits. Take the right smaller dihedral with a fixed pin half way up. Start climbing up to the pin and clip it if you feel necessary. Right after you reach the pin, climb to your right on the face where you'll find easy 5.5 climbing. If you stay in the corner it will require much more strenuous climbing with a very awkward traverse at the top (5.7-5.8). Climb 10' on this face until you reach a ledge with a horizontal crack that will take a #1 and #2 camalot, along with a #6 BD hex. Belay from here, 20 meters.
Pitch 2 (5.6) - This pitch can be combined with the first pitch to make one longer pitch with bad communication. Climb directly above the belay ledge by stepping up and right, then back left again to gain a awkward slot to climb out of, 5.6. Once above this slot, climb dirty slabs and corners that are covered with moss until you reach a tree you can sling just below and right of a large overhanging wall. The first part of this section will require friction moves with little to no solid protection so be aware if you want to ware stiff boots!
Pitch 3 (5.6) - From the belay tree traverse left (and maybe a bit up depending on what tree you belay from) to climb across the face for 50 meters. You'll find small 4th class ledges that are fairly exposed to cross which will require small sections of downclimbing. These ledges are found about 30' below the overhanging wall. After about 30 meters of traversing you'll run into a vertical wall sticking out of the face. This wall is split by a crack that goes up and left. Climb the crack, 5.6, and go around the wall into a large dihedral with a fixed pin and sling. Climb up to just below the sling but not all the way up to it, you are aiming for a downward trending ramp on the left wall. Descend this ramp (protection available above it but will cause rope drag) and around the corner to a belay platform just a few feet above you.
Pitch 4 (5.7) - Climb directly above the belay through 30' of continuously tenuous climbing with little protection, 5.7. Try to aim a little left for easier terrain and eventually you'll meet up with easy 4th class ledges and ramps. Once you gain the 4th class terrain, start trending right toward a small tree just above a larger bunch of trees. Climb to the height of the small tree before traversing. At the height of the tree there are small ledges for feet and some hands to get you across a slab to reach the tree. Belay from the tree. Long runners before the traverse would help rope drag 50 meters.
Pitch 5 variation 1 (5.7+) - Instead of traversing right toward the small tree, continue up the corner system staying against the left wall. Eventually you'll reach an overhanging roof in the corner. A solid 3" cam can be placed at the case of the corner. Stem your way up to corner with a few awkward moves. When you get your arms above the roof by stemming, make a few thin face moves off crimps on the left wall to get your feet over the roof as well (stiff 5.7+). Above the roof there are more ramps that will lead to below the catwalk. There is a good 30' of runout between the roof and just below the catwalk. Once 15-20' below the catwalk you can go right and take the normal 3rd class ledges to the catwalk or climb left on the face arriving at the middle of the catwalk (very exposed and hard to protect 5.6). Continue on to the summit.
Pitch 5 variation 2 (4th class - 5.6) - You will now be on the south face route right in the middle of the 3rd pitch scramble. Climb easy ramps and ledges to the catwalk or whichever finish you would like.
Rappel the normal south face route.
Essential GearSmall set of cams to 3.5 friend (the 3.5 friend was very handy)
Set of nuts
A few hexes helpful for belays.
3 double runners
all the usual helmet, harness etc.