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Trip Title: The tooth, climbing class
Author lee coutermarsh
Date May 11, 2002
GuideBook instructors galore
TrailConditions hard snow-mush
Owned By climbing
Mountain Elevation Summitted
Ahhh, finally the day we have been waiting for THE TOOTH. Sounds like a steven king novel. Upon leaving the house to head for west seattle to round up wolfgang, hmmm did I remember everything?? I hate that feeling but lets go for it and hope for the best pack check yet (jeez I hope I don't get pat for the pack check hehe). After a very fast ride up I-90 as we were a bit late arrived at alpental parking lot. Looking around we saw a bunch of climbers and tons of gear. However, no familiar faces. I think Wolfgang said something like "Oh that is the enemy (mountaineers, but would find out later in the day they are sometimes called mounties) we are over there. OK now we are on the right track and quick pack check and sunscreen slopped on and we are ready. Grouping up Wolfgang and myself are paired up with Wolfgang #2, Ursula, Deb, Murray, and our awesome instructors Dave Brown, george, brooks, and Dean. Emma Nemes made a valliant effort to join our group but was shamelessly turned over to the other goup going to commonwealth for the day. AWWWWWW.
OK now we are getting somewhere and on the trail we go. First half a mile or so was just an easy stoll on nice hard pack snow as it was still a bit chilly in the early morning shade. Then as we approached source lake and came upon an open area it looked a bit questionable as we didn't know what was above us that could come down that open chute/runout? So we decided to go straight up and through the protection of the tree's. Nice thought but hard work as the snow was starting to get the morning sun and getting sloppy. I believe it was george who pointed out the best way is to kick steps for a minute and peel off. I like that as when it was my turn I took one step forward and slid back and down 2 or so it seemed and was glad for the "peel off part". But after everyone was nice and sweaty at this point we reached the ridge and was looking up at the tooth, bowl and pineapple pass. The route from that point was pretty straightforward. Continuing on another 3-400 hundred elevation gain we dug out a small pit and cached out ski poles and drew our swords errrr ice axes. Onward and upward we follow like I think the quote in last night's class was "lemmings"?? Took one look at the cornice on the edge of pineapple pass and took more of a bearing on around the left side of smaller rock pile. However, then there were 2 problems. 1.) was another cornice/moat to get over and 2.) an area to stand that was meant for 2 people not a whole party. Kinda felt bad for the fella's on the end (dean) who had the bravest of honors to stand under that big hunk of overhanging ice while a hand line was set up. But with a hand line and our personal prussik's in hand I believe deb went first one leg on one snow part and the other on the rock part and a whole lotta air between the legs. Then all of a sudden we heard her shriek, was that a small slip and a shriek of fear of falling into that void, or a shriek of glee that she made it??? I didn't see her disappear so must be it was gleeee. OK we all made it over the moat and great practice on problem solving. Hooked down and around the backside and came up to the pass to start the rock part. Looking straight up I am wondering once again "what the hell did I get myself into? (I find myself doing that often in this class hehe).
George then set up a belay anchor to belay Dave on the lead. Dave scampered up that first lead like a 200# bear scampering up a tree. Cool, I thought now the fun begins. Little did I know I would be waiting there for well over 2 hours while the mounties and a small party of 3-4 were rappelling down and our party were going up one by one. Food for thought for those of you next week. Don't let your lunch (or anything else) go up in someone else's pack, as you could be last which I was. The climb was pretty easy and straightforward lower 5's which I read in another trip report. Then you get to the catwalk and have a choice either go left and follow the catwalk or go straight up. I stood there watching deb go ever so graciously up the face and decided to follow. It looked sheer from below. However, surpisingly there were good little knobs for hand/footholds. Or maybe at that point I was so hungry I just wasn't thinking correctly. And at last on the top. The weather was unreal and the views even more so. Great conversation with a great team. We had 3 people from Germany in our team and I treated them all to cheese wiz which they promptly informed us Americans Kraft hasn't reached the German deli's as of yet with cheese wiz. But all good things must come to an end and packed up ready to rap down.
I am not sure which was more of a hoot, the rappel off the rock, the rappel off the moat, or the glissading part in which we all picked up a full steam ahead attitude and flew like the wind. I think Brooks and his garbage bag did a fine job of it haha. And dohhh there are those mounties again all camped out in the basin like a boyscout jamboree in a multitude of tent colors. Back at the parking lot and away we go with fine memories of THE TOOTH.
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