Trip Report: Hike to the Top of Houndstooth
Hike to the Top of Houndstooth
By Ray Daurelle
| Has anyone ever mentioned that the Hound's Tooth hike is steep?
The steep part starts at the big water tank at the bottom and it levels out when you sit down on the summit, with only a short time spent on reasonably not-so-steep terrain in a short stretch 75% of the way up.
I had done a few recent steep hikes with 5000 and 6000 foot elevation gains, yet the steepness on this one still left my hamstrings tight until Wednesday.
One in our group decided early on that the steepness was more than a simply steep hike might suggest, so he wished us a fun day and headed off toward more reasonable ground.
The afore mentioned water tank is at the entrance to Ferguson Canyon, which is 1/2 mile south of the entrance to Big Cottonwood Canyon. The Hound's Tooth itself is an outcrop of rock about half way up the west ridge of Twin Peaks directly east of Bengal Blvd. It's 3000 feet above the car.
The hike approaches the Hound's Tooth roughly toward the center of the cliff from the west, staying just north of center. Stepping slightly off trail near the cliff will bring you to a sudden stop in thick brush. So most of the route finding is automatically done for you. As the trail reaches the bottom center of the west face, it curves north into a steep but reasonable chute. This chute seems to provide the only non-technical approach to the top.
The chute has a few moves of scrambling, but no exposure. So nothing difficult or spooky. However, the mild possibility of some rock fall makes it seem wise to avoid getting your group scattered along it. Everyone seemed to move very comfortably through it today. Julie and Alex herded us through in a tight, orderly flock.
Being November, we had very cool weather, which is nice while you're sweating from the workout - which was the whole way up. In warm or hot weather, the area has a reputation for ticks. Beware - and then check thoroughly.
Hikers enjoying the Hound's Tooth on this day were Julie Kilgore (leader), Alex Arakelian, Evette Raen, Andee Thatcher, Beth Blattenberger, Greg Lott, John Kiedaisch, Sue Baker, David Lewis, Ray Daurelle, Wilmer Sandoval, Ed Bohme, Tom Hamen and Maddie Hamen.
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