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johndonee

[TR] Snoqualmie - The Tooth 5/13/2014

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Trip: Snoqualmie - The Tooth

 

Date: 5/13/2014

 

Trip Report:

This was my first alpine climb of what I hope to be many to come! Many thanks to my far more experienced partner for helping me along.

 

-Departed Alpental upper lot at noon and skinned up to Pineapple Pass on very wet heavy snow.

-We climbed the standard route up The Tooth in 2 pitches with a bonus 2 pitch traverse from Pineapple Pass to the start of the route. Could have hiked around the back through the snow but didn't want to get into that.

-Rock was bare and dry except for two snowy patches at the start of the usual third pitch:

P5130140.jpg

(note the bare feet - ouch)

 

-Rappelled down in 4 pitches. Ran into the largest snowy patch again, which had me struggling a bit to navigate across while on rappel.

-Found the last rappel station having only a single small ring so added a big ring and replaced some cord:

P5130159.jpg

-Times: 1.5 hours to Pineapple Pass, 1 hr climbing 2 pitch traverse, 2 hrs climbing 2 vertical pitches, 1hr 40 mins rappel down and ski back to car.

 

Gear Notes:

Ha! A significant portion of the pro was left behind at home sooooo we bought 2 new cams (2" and .75") from the Pro Ski shop in North Bend, which is the start of my rack! So that wasn't so bad.

 

Besides that we had a .25" cam, 3 tricams and 5 nuts and got by just fine, utilizing a couple anchors along the way. Never used the new .75" cam.

 

Approach Notes:

-Winter trail was still fully in tact.

-We did not observe any slab avalanches, only numerous point releases and wet sluff.

Edited by johndonee

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Nice work. Bare feet is interesting.

 

Can you further describe the "2 pitch traverse"? I'm not sure exactly what you mean.

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Thanks! My partner (nor I obviously) had not climbed The Tooth before and in hindsight we may have taken a different approach and not gone up to Pineapple Pass. But there we were looking at a crag between us and the start of the route up The Tooth.

 

Our options appeared to be around the back or up and over. We didn't want to take the time to climb up and rappel down this choss pile but around the back was covered in still fairly (deep and very wet) snow that would not have been fun to walk through even in ski boots (although that probably would have been faster). So we opted to traverse around staying as low as possible but still high enough that we placed pro and belayed (most likely in consideration my experience level).

 

P5130117_annotated.jpg

 

P5130125.jpg

(view from start)

 

P5130127.jpg

(second pitch)

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So you went around the back of the thing you "had to get around", but stayed high. Going around the back like that is the standard approach, but when it's dry you can get around without losing much elevation or getting out the rope. There is a move or two but they are easy and not exposed.

 

For what it's worth, people seem to have all different ideas of exactly what "Pineapple Pass" is. I've seen it used to refer to the whole general area at the top of the bowl, the spot you skinned to and have labeled as "Pineapple Pass" in your photo, as well as the gully below the point you labeled as "Start of 3 pitch climb".

 

Did you rappel down this gully or go around the back again to exit the way you entered?

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We knew that going around the back of that crag was the usual way and maybe we were somewhat unusual with how high we did it, but not knowing the route better and the snow level led us to do what we did. We definitely ended up going down some at the end of our second pitch on that traverse to get to the base of the main climb. If I did this again I would want to try starting from the base of the "start of the 3 pitch climb" area. It would definitely save some time/hassle on the approach as the last 50' or so the way we went was not easy in the deep wet sludge.

 

Since we'd left our skis at what I have labeled as "Pineapple Pass" in my picture we had to go back there when we finished our rappel down The Tooth, and I wasn't feeling up for climbing and rappelling that crag. So we scrambled around the back through the snow in our climbing shoes, which was really cold and unpleasant and we were super glad we didn't do that at the start!

 

I'm with ya about the misunderstanding over what Pineapple Pass really is - I'd always understood it to be at the top of Great Scott Bowl, which is probably what any skier would tell you it is. But the climbers seem to think of it as one of the next two notches. This was definitely a new perspective on Pineapple Pass/Great Scott Bowl for this long-time skier :)

P5130150.jpg

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Fred says, "(The South Face) is about 330 ft. high, above "Pineapple Pass" (est. 5280'), the small notch between the south face and the two southern pinnacles."

-CAG-Columbia River to Stevens Pass, 1st Edition, Pg 162

 

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I argue that Fred's wrong (wouldn't be the first time) - Pineapple Pass should be the designation of the low, wide saddle that we all know. That little notch is, well, a notch.

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