Sharkstooth

The Sharkstooth has the distinction of being one of the few officially named peaks in rmnp with only fifth class routes to the summit.

The day begins at the Glacier Gorge TH. By now the approach to Loch Vale goes by in a quick hour. It is so nice when the lake is frozen and you can make your way directly across. From here to the alpine is one of my favorite approaches. The trail in the winter is non existent but we push on through the beautiful terrain. It is amazing the difference in this area from season to season. A true gem of the Park. On this day Beau Burris and Ryan McCarty and I make quick work to the base of the mighty Sharkstooth. There is no skiing from the summit of this spire but it does host a few very nice lines off its flanks. On this day I couldn’t have imagined better conditions. We had stable boot top deep powder for the entire descent, starting at the top of the Northwest Gully. What a beautiful setting for some backcountry turns. This area is worthy of a tour and I know I will be going back for another line I think might go in the area…

 

 

In the summer Sharkstooth attracts climbers from all over the world. It boasts the 41st highest summit in all of rmnp and a fantastic alpine climb. The classic northeast ridge rates at T 5.6 and the East Gully at T 5.4 (this is the standard descent route, typically done with 3 100m rappels. A local climbing legend named Jim Detterline once told me he saw the East Gully so caked in snow one May after a huge winter and spring that it could of potentially been skied from just shy of the summit. This always sparked my curiosity so began my deep interest in this majestic mountain. I have included some photos of this mountain in the summer climbing season. Sharkstooth has been climbed in winter and by a very hard route at that. The climb in dry conditions is beautiful although a tad loose. I could see a few ledge steps that probably could be skied for very short distances before big rappels would be mandatory. Thus the standard for this peak has been set at skiing from the highest point on the flanks before the 4+ pitches of technical fifth class climbing.

Amazing to see the difference in this area from mid winter to the last day of summer when the aspen leaves were already starting to change.  I prefer it in winter 🙂

Going past a couloir on Otis named after my dad since he did the first ascent, and many after, some solo in winter. The climb is beautiful with some mixed options and a beautiful knife edge at the end. The entire route is steep! Passing by this couloir on the way to Sharkstooth is special and always gives me motivation to work as hard as I can in life. The history is tremendous in rmnp and Iam very inspired by it.

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