Alpine climbing NCCS rating
Grade III
Elevation Gain
2,504.00 ft (763.22 m)
Distance
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Tooth is a jagged peak just a few miles from the Alpental Ski Resort in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness that is a must for any alpine climber. The climbing is moderate, the access is easy, and the views are rewarding. Expect some company when the weather is nice, though there are plenty of rappelling stations on this peak that help minimize bottlenecking for those ascending and descending. The south face is the most popular route. It's essentially vertical, which opens the route up in all seasons when the sun is out.

From the Alpental parking lot, take the Snow Lake Trail through the old-growth forest and over a few small streams. You'll hit a fork and want to keep left to reach Source Lake. Hike the trail for roughly a half mile through Gold Creek Valley and into a stream gully, where you can gaze up Pineapple Pass to The Tooth. Cut across the small boulder field to find the climber's trail that is marked with cairns.

Watch your footing on the talus field as you approach a notch that has several slung boulders. This climb can be done in three pitches. Some of the best holds make you feel like a pro climbing an exposed multi-pitch. Enjoy the rewards and expansive views of Denny Mountain, Bryant Mountain, Snoqualmie Mountain, Chair Peak, Guye Peak, McClellan Butte, Humpback Mountain, and the mesmerizing Mount Rainier.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Washington Discovery Pass

Pros

Big Cascade views. Short approach. Wildflowers.

Cons

Big crowds.

Pets allowed

Allowed

Trailhead Elevation

3,100.00 ft (944.88 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Rock climbing
Waterfalls
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Wildflowers

Location

Nearby Adventures

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

Comments

06/01/1995
ABOUT PROPOSAL PINNACLE: See the conical Seussian monolith immediately to the left / south of The Tooth? That is, to us anyway, Proposal Pinnacle, the otherwise unnamed feature where my husband proposed to me 25 years ago (in 1995)! He meant to propose on the summit of The Tooth, but was quite overwrought that day (gee, wonder why?) and unknowingly led us off-trail. When we began to climb, we actually thought we were at the foot of The Tooth until we were part way up Proposal Pinnacle and could clearly see the entire south route of the tooth from our erroneous stance. The "route" up Proposal Pinnacle is rasty, but with enough protectable features that we made it to the crow's-nest-like summit, which was just big enough for the four of us to crowdedly crouch (our Best Man and his wife came along to witness the event!) - Casey on one knee. At which time he began frantically rummaging through his pack and ultimately facepalmed, realizing he had forgotten that The Engagement Ring was in the surplus pack, left behind at the base of the pinnacle. Not to be deterred, he grabbed a piece of pro from his rack and used that to seal the deal, in the stead of a Montana Blue Sapphire (the Pro is more precious to me now, and resides in a shadowbox place of honor, with a photo of Proposal Pinnacle!). He proceeded to ask "Lorie Teel, will you do me the honor of being my wife?" To which I replied at the top of my lungs, "YES! I WILL MARRY YOU!" To which the several climbing parties on The Tooth hooted and cheered and clapped! It was a proposal of perfection. And ever since, every time we drive westward over Snoqualmie Pass, we strain to catch the weather-permitting peekaboo glimpse of Proposal Pinnacle (don't blink or you'll miss it) and remember that sunny magical off-trail day with gratitude and deep, great, enduring love.
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