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Sunlit Summit

Black Tooth Mountain

Elevation: 13,002 ft.

Prominence: 630 ft.

Isolation: 1.5 miles

Technical Difficulty: Class 2+

Black Tooth Mountain Guidebook


Long shrouded in mystique and considered difficult to climb, modern trip reports and tracks have dispelled the mystery and revealed that Black Tooth Mountain is actually one of the easiest Wyoming 13ers. The approach, however, still requires miles and miles of off-trail travel, so a strong wilderness ethic is essential. Black Tooth has the distinction of being the lowest of the Wyoming 13ers, with a summit elevation of only 13,002 ft. according to LiDAR analysis, even lower than the 13,005 ft. map elevation.

General Considerations

The mountain can be approached from many directions, but the most common options are the Sawtooth Lakes or Wilderness Basin. It has also been combined with Cloud Peak in a single loop from the West Tensleep Trailhead, though such an undertaking makes for a very long day-hike or an arduous backpacking trip over the top of Cloud Peak.

Route 1: South Gullies – Class 2+

Approach A: Wilderness Basin

From the West Tensleep or Bucking Mule Trailheads, follow trails to Paint Rock Creek above Lake Solitude. From here, several miles of off-trail travel through scrub forests and past massive alpine lakes (including Middle Cloud Peak Lake, the only named lake) should deliver you to Lake 11170, where the route begins in earnest.

Hike up open scree slopes below Mount Woolsey, and look for a left-slanting gully/ramp system leading to the col between Woolsey and Black Tooth Mountain. The route starts with a steep ascent up the talus apron to gain a wide, left-angling, scree-covered ledge, which you can follow to the left until it turns upward and merges with a loose gully. Climb the gully to the Black Tooth-Woolsey col, and join Approach B for the final ascent.

Approach B: Sawtooth Lakes

This is a shorter route if you are not combining Black Tooth Mountain with Cloud Peak. From the end of the road at Kearny Lake Reservoir, hike past the Sawtooth Lakes to the head of the valley, and climb 1,500 ft. of scree up to the col between Woolsey and Black Tooth. This route may involve some harder scrambling.

Final Ascent, Both Approaches

From a point just east of the ridge crest at the Black Tooth-Woolsey col, a scree gully parallels the east side of Black Tooth’s south ridge towards the summit. Either climb loose scree in the gully or seek out class 3 scrambling on the relatively solid black rock rib to the right. At the top of the scree gully, continue north along the short summit ridge to reach the highpoint.

Black Tooth Mountain Map

Black Tooth Mountain Panorama

Black Tooth Mountain Photos

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