RMNP's Sharkstooth: Light & Fast
Neptune Floor Associate Jill (@jill_bajill) tackled the iconic Sharkstooth in Rocky Mountain National Park:
When you’re itching to climb in the park but daunted by the afternoon thunderstorms, it's best to go light and fast. The Northeast Ridge of the Sharkstooth is five pitches of 5.6 up one of the most eye catching features in the Andrew Glacier Gorge. The 5.3-mile approach includes roughly 2,500' of elevation gain before the 860 feet of climbing starts.
We made a plan to be up and down off the summit of The Sharkstooth before noon which meant hiking and climbing as efficiently as possible with our pared down "alpine rack" consisting of Black Diamond cams with anchors and slings by DMM. I wore my La Sportiva TX3's and took my BD Vapor Helmet. We planned to link the first few pitches by simul-climbing so we made sure to bring our Micro Traxion by Petzl to protect the leader in the event that the follower took a fall. I am not usually one to climb in a watch but my Garmin allowed us to view and record our progress to ensure we were on track with our timeline.
We heard that snow crossings were possible so we brought our Quarks by Petzl, which are lightweight and perfect for the terrain one might find higher up. We managed to cross the steep snow field at The Gash without the tools but it was better to be safe than sorry and sliding down a snowfield to the talus below.
Our lightweight setup allowed us to link pitches, move fast, and reach the summit by 10:30 a.m. with plenty of time to enjoy a snack and find irony in the cell phone service at the top. While safely on the hike out we looked back to see The Sharkstooth completely engulfed in rain—a truly beautiful sight.
Use code JILLP15 on the Neptune Mountaineering website or in-store for 15% off of:
• Select Anchors & slings by DMM
• La Sportiva TX3 Approach Shoes
• Petzl Micro Traxion
• Petzl Quark Ice Axe
until August 29th.