Tooth Rock CS

Jun 8, 2022

With: Patrick O'Neill

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX
previously attempted Jun 6, 2022


It was my last day in San Diego, a bit sadly, as it was time to return to home after a month's absence. I still had time for a last hike before hitting the road and, as promised, I was back for a second shot at Tooth Rock. Patrick had driven down from Orange County to join me, and like a few weeks earlier, provide all the gear since I had none with me. The giant rock sits atop an undeveloped hill on the east side of Poway. It is a well-known local landmark and can be seen from many vantage points. Like my first visit a few days earlier, we approached from the south via a trail off Range Park Rd. We spent about 25min hiking the trail system to the summit. The fog had dissipated and it was already growing warm. The high today would be around 85F, but we hoped to be finished before it grew uncomfortable.

The large granite boulder is about 20ft high on the uphill side, around 30ft on the downhill side. It is partially covered in graffiti on the uphill side, a teen party favorite. There are two pitons on the north side that appear useless. There is another piton high on the west side and a permanent camming device wedged a short distance lower, allowing some protection if climbing that side. Patrick did not bring his climbing shoes today (I had advised they'd probably be useless without having checked out the west side on my first visit), so that wasn't going to be an option. After eyeing our various other options, we decided to aid the large boulder from the downhill side to the west. We first tossed a lighter cord tied to a rock over the boulder from the east side. We then tied our climbing rope to that and hauled it over the top. We slung webbing around a large rock on the east side and tied the rope end to it. Returning to the west side, we went up in turn, using etriers attached to ascenders. Going first, I slowly worked myself up the west face where I got momentarily stuck. I had trouble getting the upper ascender past where the rope goes over an edge. I ended up removing my right foot from the etrier and mantling it over the edge on that side that slopes down from the edge the rope goes over. Not pretty, but it worked. The summit a little roomy and could easily hold four climbers. I found two rusty 1/4" bolts serving for an anchor which I then tied into. Patrick tied some additional gear to the rope that I then hauled up, then lowered down the etriers an ascenders for Patrick to use. He did a better job of getting over the lip, joining me a short while later with the same setup. An hour after we had reached the summit, we had both of us atop the summit block. We left a register (not expecting it will last long) before rapping back off the same side. Going down went much faster, and ten minutes after getting down we had packed up and started back down the trail. We finished up by 10:45a, having spent two and a half hours on the fun little outing.

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