The Tooth - Northeast Slab, February 2006
Bala Krishnamoorthy, Tom Hemm and I climbed the Northeast Slab of The Tooth on crisp and clear February day. In general, we found the route to be steeper and more technical than what is described in Nelson's Selected Climbs v.2. Perhaps this was due to the generally marginal slab pitches, which consisted of 60 - 70-degree "ice"...more like a combination of rotten verglass and a thin crust over a shallow layer of sugary snow. Barring the initial gully pitch, which offered the best sticks of the day (but limited protection - bring some mid-sized cams for cracks at right), I'd hesitate to say that there was any real ice on the route. We placed 3 screws in total, and all in the same place - the anchor at the top of the first pitch. Tom was able to back-up the screws with a nut or two, though a party below us apparently found a better belay stance in a moat just off to the right.
With a suspect piton hammered into a small crack halfway up the second pitch, Tom had no choice but to run it out all the way to a small cluster of trees above and left of our belay. As if to make an already dicey situation worse, Bala and I struggled to untangle the twin ropes while Tom waited nervously at his precarious stance halfway up this pitch. Finally, it was our turn to climb. What a spicy lead that second pitch must have been! Thank God for that patch of frozen moss, eh? Only about every third stick was any good, and even then only for balance for it certainly would not have held my weight. (more...)
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