Dogtooth Peak has been on the tick list a long time. It seemed there was always something else that got in the way or another project to do first. Dwight’s Courtright GB got the stoke going again when I saw the awesome picture of it in his GB. I had hiked to the top in 2014 with some work friends but it only gave me more fuel.
The weekend of the Courtright gathering, Paul and I tried to make a run at it. Our plan was to leave Fresno Thursday evening, hike in at night and then Climb and hike out on Friday to meet everyone showing up. On the drive up it was raining pretty good and we scratched the plan. Eluded me once again.
This last week I was planning to go climbing at Courtright and had the idea of trying again. I sent a few texts and Eric Swanson was in. Matt Schutz and Julie Tran also joined the group. The plan: drive up Friday eve and hike in. Climb Saturday and hike out Sunday. Carpooling up Friday evening I wondered if something would once again keep the summit. We got to the trailhead to find about 30 cars in the lot. I assumed it was because of all the fires in other areas.
We set off and had nice cool temps for the moderate 5.5 hike in. We arrived around 1:15 in the morning, set up sleeping bags and busted out the whiskey. Matt shared it was his birthday weekend which I hoped was a sign of good luck for an ascent.
Matt and Julie planned to head up a line on the north tooth to the left of #A on the topo pic. I shared my desire for the middle tooth with no routes on it. Sleep came quick with the vitamin W. I tossed and turned most of the night and was awake before anyone else.
I love hiking in at night because of the unexpected views you get when you awake the first morning. My first view was the lake and a wall on the NW side of the lake. It looked 2-3 pitches and room for many fun routes. I got some water and soon found out that my batteries for the steripen I brought were dead. No one had AA batteries so prime lake water was the cocktail. (Still no signs so we are in the clear. If I grow another ear I will let you know).
We had a relaxing morning and breakfast and geared up.
The approach to the south side of the dome was a 10 minute traverse. Featured rock was everywhere and lines popped out with each step.
As we rounded the south tooth the middle and north tooth came into view. WOW!
We stopped in the shade of a large pine at the base of the middle tooth and discussed potential lines as we lusted over all the options.
Matt and Julie continued on to the north tooth to find their stoke.
Since it was shaded at the base by the tree we decided to head up from there, I was hoping the route would go all trad because I really didn’t want to hand drill. The crack system and books looked plentiful and I hoped for the best as I got to take P1: 60m up slightly right to belay at a solid crack/flake.5.4/5.
Eric was at the belay in short order and he headed up P2. He headed up toward a bush and had to down climb a bit and traverse left of the bush to find a belay at 60m 5.5.
P3 was a blast and the rock started to turn gold. Straight up and belay about 80’ right of a pine tree 5.6.
Eric headed up P4 traversing slightly left then up a nice crack system with a fun under cling to a stem over a mini roof. 60m @ 5.7. I got to the belay and Eric shanged the belay to tricams to save me the cams for the next pitch. Needed those.
P5 was the crux with multiple little roofs and corners. Fun climbing led me to a crack/flake at 55m where I had brutal rope drag from a sharp corner and the fact that I had short slung a key spot because I got a bit sketched with a dirty spot going over a mini roof as the rain started. I also had two aliens that fit with only one #3 BD left for pro beside nuts. I belayed Eric up on the two solid Aliens . As he climbed I feared the rain was again going to keep me from the sumit. I prayed in earnest and the rain subsided to a very light sprinkle and the sun started to come out. Eric arrived at the belay and I had him move it 15’ up to where I wanted to go making the pitch 60m 5.8.
We had a bench seat for the belay so we stopped and ate and we shared a 5 hr energy. Eric was soon off on P6 and I could hear him yelling “Pockeets!” in his chicken voice. I knew he had found another pocket on the route. At 60m he anchored and belayed me up to a flat area near the top 5.7.
We untied and soloed a few boulder moves and then some easy stuff to the tip top another 100’+, 5.6. We were stoked to have done the line and I was honored to have successfully finally made it to the top of something on the tick list. I was so pumped it all went trad and I did not have to hand drill.
Matt and Julie were on the top of the north tooth, the highest of all three. Probably about 30-50’ higher than our top out. Eric and I were able to scramble down to the notch on the west side and walked over and up to the north tooth. We exchanged high fives and signed the summit reg. in the tin can.
We scrambled down and took the saddle between the middle and west tooth through another saddle on the south side of the west tooth for a view of Cliff, Bullfrog and Christian Lake.
More scramble led us to the walk off down to Bullfrog, more whiskey and a toast to FA’s and Friendship. Happy Birthday Matt!
Matt and Julie shared their line was 4P since they easily walked up two pitches of apron to where the climbing started. His line went at 5.9 and started to the left #A and finished on the saddle between the final moves to the tip top of the north (tallest) tooth and the hallway.
That night my sleep was full of content and tired bones. We hit the trail around 9:15 and were back by 12:30ish to the parking lot where there was literally about 50-60 cars.
Awesome trip! Well worth the hike.
Pocket Rain Dance (Middle Dogtooth): 5.8, 7P @ 1,300’. Pro: Nuts, tricams to brown, cams to #4 BD and we had a set of link cams. (FA: Fries/Swanson 09/02/17)
***I know, I know, Sorry for the kinked necked pics. Techno challenged here.