Shepherd's Tooth

Page Type
New York, United States, North America
Route Type:
Hiking, Scrambling
Spring, Summer, Fall
Time Required:
A long day
Rock Difficulty:
Class 3
Number of Pitches:

Route Quality: 0 Votes

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Shepherd's Tooth
Created On: Jun 12, 2006
Last Edited On: Jan 30, 2012


The Shepherd's Tooth is a prominent rock nub located on the southwest flank of Iroquois Peak. A wonderful place with great views and solitude.

You can order a patch by sending a $5 - $10 "donation" to:

The Buffalo Boys
1473 River Road
North Creek, N.Y. 12853

Just let them know when you climbed it, and they'll send you the patch along with a brief history of the Tooth.

Shepherd s Tooth Patch


There are two approaches to the Shepherd's Tooth: descent from the Iroquois summit or ascent from Cold Brook Pass. Getting to the Iroquois summit is self-explanatory. To get to Cold Brook Pass, you can ascend from either Lake Colden or Scotts Landing (just north of Indian Pass). Both are easily accessible from the Adirondak Loj or Upper Works trailheads.

Route Description

Descent from Iroquois summit:
From the Iroquois summit, descend southwest on open rock in the obvious direction of the Tooth. There may be small cairns marking the way. Be sure not to trample the fragile alpine vegetation. Once you enter the trees, you may find a faint herdpath leading to the Tooth. Then again, you may not. Either way you'll be swimming your way through the small trees. From the base of the Tooth, it is an easy scramble to the top.

From the Tooth, either ascend the Iroquois summit and hike out, or continue down to Cold Brook Pass. To get to Cold Brook Pass, scramble down the west or northwest face of the Tooth to a small drainage. Follow this drainage down through the thick trees. BE VERY CAREFUL TO MAKE SURE YOU CAN SEE WHERE YOU'RE PLACING YOUR FOOT! THE TREES ARE THICK, AND A MIS-STEP AT THE BOTTOM OF THE DRAINAGE WILL RESULT IN A 100-FOOT FALL DOWN VERTICAL CLIFFS! The author clearly remembers parting tree branches and seeing nothing but air below. Yikes!

Once at the cliffs, angle left until you see a chimney to descend. Before you descend, make sure you can get back up, lest you get stuck on a dead-end route. If you see "the raincoat" some unfortunate soul lost some years ago, you know you're on the right path.

From the base of the cliffs, head due south to pick up the Cold Brook Pass trail. Head left to Lake Colden, or right to the Mt. Marshall herdpath (1/10 to 1/4 mile) and Indian Pass.

Ascent from Cold Brook Pass:
Obviously, to ascend from the Pass to the Tooth, follow the above directions in reverse order. It may be difficult to find the chimney to ascend the cliffs.

Essential Gear

Spring/Summer/Fall: Hiking boots or approach shoes (trail runners) with good sole. You may want gaiters, pants, long-sleeve shirt, and eye protection for the bushwhack portions. A hiking partner would be advisable.

Winter: Agressive snowshoes and 10-pt crampons for descent and re-ascent of Iroquois summit. Bring a rope to rappel down the cliffs if descending into Cold Brook Pass.

Climbing Seasons

SPRING: Expect ice and snow to remain on the upper portions of Iroquois into mid-May. Typical blackfly season is Memorial Day (late May) to Independence Day (early July).
SUMMER: Expect hot and muggy conditions. The ridge from Algonquin to Iroquois is exposed, be careful of thunderstorms. Deerflies will likely drive you insane in the valleys. Bring DEET, and lots of it.
FALL: Expect ice and snow on the upper portions of Iroquois beginning in early October. Bugs and humidity are gone... best time of year.
WINTER: Winter winds, and the resultant snow drifts, are notorious on this ridge. Spruce traps will await you on your way down from the Iroquois summit. Snow blown off the Iroquois and Marshall summits settle in the pass between... so snow will likely be deeper here than other places in the range. The easier option will be to re-ascend the Iroquois summit rather than continuing down to Cold Brook Pass.

Author's Experience

The author has attained the Tooth twice via descents from the Iroquois summit, with subsequent descents into Cold Brook Pass. Once in summer, and once in winter. MudRat's and my account of the winter descent: