The Tooth is a very popular peak in the Snoqualmie Pass area near Seattle. With a combination of the close proximity to Seattle, the easy approach, and fun moderate climbing, expect lots of company on a nice summer weekend. The South Face route is considered a local classic climbing the 400 foot steep but blocky Andesite face above Pineapple Pass. The summit views offer an excellent panorma from the Stuart Range to local peaks like Snoqualmie and Chair to Mount Rainier to the south.
The first ascent of The Tooth was on June 25, 1916 by Charles Hazelhurst and C. G. Morrison.
Take I90 to the West Summit Exit for Snoqualmie Pass. Turn right towards the Snoqualmie Pass ski resort (lots of signs), then park at the end lot (if you have a parking pass) or the lot before that.
Summer - Hike up the main trail, until a sign designating the start of the Source Lake Overlook trail. Take this trail, which avoids losing elevation, to the valley to the south below the east face of The Tooth. There is a good climbers path with cairns to guide you.
Winter - Hike up the main trail all the way to Source Lake, then turn south in the valley. Hike up the valley until below the east face of The Tooth. Do not follow the summer path, since there is significant avalanche danger there.
The final approach involves scrambling up to the notch one south of Pineapple Pass then contouring around clockwise to get to the start of the climb. A direct scramble up to Pineapple Pass is not recommended, as this is the rappel route. The final portion of the contour around involves some class 3 to 4 scrambling, but it is short and unexposed. Some parties have elected to do a running belay here, but it is not necessary.
South Face - One of the most popular routes in the entire state. 2 to 4 pitches of steep blocky climbing on sound rock. II 5.4
North Ridge - A class 4 scramble accessed from the west side of the mountain.
East Face - The steepest face on The Tooth offering many variations. Most climbs are 4 to 5 pitches up to class 5.7.
Southwest Face - A straightforward climb of dihedrals accesed from Pinapple Pass. Class 5.5
West Face - Many variations are possible. Most routes are 4th class to low 5th class.
Northeast Slabs - An excellent winter alpine ice route climbing the steep dihedral system up the North Ridge, then continuing on to the summit. See Selected Climbs by Jim Nelson for a route description.
A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead. In addition, during the winter you can only park at the highest lot if you have an Alpental skiing tag on your car. You will have to park at a lower lot and walk up, if you don't have the tag.
When To Climb
The Tooth sees ascents during the entire year. From January to April, the popular South Face route can get moderately snow free on a nice sunny day. During May and early June, the rock is usually dry, but the approach will have quite a bit of snow. Mid summer and fall is the most popular time for this climb. Expect to find lots of company for the South Face.
During the winter, a climb of the Northeast Slabs has become quite popular recently.
Alpine Lakes Wilderness camping permit is required. The best to camp would be Source Lake. Most people treat this as a dayclimb though. The approach is short.
The SE face [most popular] route is essentially vertical, so if you can make it to Pineapple Pass, the rock on The Tooth will be clear, if cold in Winter.