Last time I climbed the Tooth with Frank, the approach hike was the worst part. I vowed the next time I would do it with a snow covered approach. Unfortunately, by the time the snow melted off the Tooth's upper slopes, the ski area chair had already stopped spinning. Oh well, that's why we have randonee gear. Met Frank at Alpental at 0700 hours. We skinnned up through lower international, then traversed out to Pineapple Basin. The snow was soft and creamy and it was already getting warm. Quickly climbed up the slopes below the tooth and scrambled up to the notch between Pineapple and Melakawa basin. This is where we transitioned from our ski boots to climbing shoes, harnesses, and using a rope. This is, also, where we encountered a climber's worst nightmare! As we approached the start of the technical climb we encountered fellow climbers. Not just any kind of climbers, but a pack of six Mountaineers. They were on their very first alpine climb! They were also on our route. Three teams of two, moving at the speed of racing slugs. We settled in at the base of the climb for what was to become a two hour wait just to get started on the first pitch. Luckily after summiting, we decided to rappel off a different anchor on the summit, and mangaed to pass them on the descent. Thanks to one of the leaders, finally allowing us to pass through. The ski down was pretty poor due to the warm snow, and further down the large amount of pine needles and other sticky debri. Reached the bottom at 1900 hours, a twelve hour day, thanks to the Mounties. Oh well, a beautiful day in the backyard with incredible views, good rock, and a friend that had beer back at the car!
Frank passes under International on our way out to Pineapple basin and the tooth.