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#54947 - 12/06/00 03:20 PM Dragontail, Triple Couloirs
pms Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 492
TRs: 3 Photos: 15
Loc: Seattle, WA 98105
Dragontail, Triple Couloirs.

I wanted to write something for this database, which would emphasize how conditions can affect the difficulty of some climbs.

The first time I climbed this route conditions were ideal, and our time from Lake to summit was about 4 hours. Approx. 1 hour for the first couloir. Another hour for the connection into the second couloir, involved setting a few belays, and a short but relatively well-protected rock traverse into the second couloir. An hour for the second couloir, and an hour for the third. The connection between the second and third was thickly iced, straightforward, and really fun. A good time for our party of two, but slow compared to the 3 hours taken by the first ascent party of three in 1974. Itís also worth noting that we spent a day lounging at the lake, when the snow didnít freeze overnight. Surprisingly, after a very warm day at the lake, the snow froze hard the following night. If you had asked us about the difficulty of the Triple Couloirs route then, we would have said it was easy.

The second time conditions were also good, and we were able to climb directly into the second couloir on moderately steep ice, with a rock move or two. This direct variation does not always ice up, but was a real treat in the conditions we found it.

The third time we climbed quickly to the top of the first couloir (aka Hidden Couloir) missing the traverse into the second couloir. Realizing our mistake, we should have descended back to the correct route but didnít. Instead we continued up, and encountered harder climbing than we wanted on the snow covered Fin, arriving on the summit just before dark.

The fourth time, the weather forecast was favorable, and the sky cloudless. The first couloir again was straight forward, and we chose the standard route into the second couloir. By the time we were established in the second couloir, the wind had picked up and powder snow was beginning to blow around. The wind blew the snow up the couloir into our faces, and during lulls the spindrift came from above. The spindrift was unpleasant, but didnít really impede us until we reached the top of the second couloir. The sky was still clear, but the winds and spindrift increased as we continued up throughout the day. We had a really difficult time gaining the third couloir. There just didnít seem to be any ice covering the rock this time. The volume of spindrift was really a problem too. Crampons scraping on rock, very poor pro, and I was unable to communicate with my partner Brian Nelson (no relation). My worst spindrift experience in 30 years of climbing. The third couloir was again straight forward step kicking, though cold and unpleasant with the wind and blowing snow. We reached the summit a little before dark, dehydrated and began the descent immediately. We were out of the strong winds for a while on the other side of the mountain. As we neared Asgard Pass the winds increased, until we were unable to stand up. We began to crawl, and fortunately had stayed roped together. With the blowing snow, and now darkness we became completely disoriented for maybe 15 or 20 minutes. Without a compass, we could not be sure which direction to crawl. Eventually we realized we were crawling down hill, and knew that must be the way towards Colchuck Lake. As we descended the wind decreased, and we made the lake and our camp shortly after. We were pretty dehydrated, and I consider it my closest call in the mountains. The skies stayed clear, and the following morning was calm and lovely.

All 4 of these climbs were made at approximately the same time of year (April-May) over a 10 year period.

Jim Nelson


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#54948 - 01/18/06 04:07 AM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs
Chad_A Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/24/03
Posts: 1499
TRs: 14 Photos: 371
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Wow! The power of the search engine. Great read.

Can't believe no one ever responded to this one; glad to be the first.
_________________________
"prepare, do your best, and continue trying after failures." -George Lowe

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#54949 - 01/18/06 09:15 AM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs
Alpinfox Offline
Tebow Believer

Registered: 03/05/02
Posts: 5220
TRs: 22 Photos: 320

Nice find and way to scoop Dru on a quality thread revival.

Now why were you up at 4AM?
_________________________
let's spank this pony and see where she goes

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#54950 - 01/18/06 10:42 AM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs
TeleRoss Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 06/24/03
Posts: 696
TRs: 37 Photos: 288
Loc: green room

That rock step to gain the third couloir is spicy when it's bare. We did kindof a little drytooling traverse type thing up in there when we climbed it two years ago.
It would be cool to see that step covered....although for other reasons.
_________________________
All I do is surf now...but might make a guest appearance on a mountain or two near you wink

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#54951 - 01/18/06 10:55 AM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs
Cobra_Commander Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 01/31/05
Posts: 3342
TRs: 0 Photos: 6
Loc: Lair
are you afraid of a little airtime dr. huckstable?
_________________________
Why buy a mattress anywhere else
ding!

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#54952 - 01/18/06 11:03 AM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs
TeleRoss Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 06/24/03
Posts: 696
TRs: 37 Photos: 288
Loc: green room

_________________________
All I do is surf now...but might make a guest appearance on a mountain or two near you wink

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#54953 - 01/18/06 12:16 PM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs
Chad_A Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/24/03
Posts: 1499
TRs: 14 Photos: 371
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Quote:


Nice find and way to scoop Dru on a quality thread revival.

Now why were you up at 4AM?




haha, well, I wish it were for more glamourous reasons, but I was on call; couldn't sleep.

Or, it could've been because I was on my 11th cup of coffee, and the search engine actually sounded like a good idea.
_________________________
"prepare, do your best, and continue trying after failures." -George Lowe

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#54954 - 02/23/06 08:31 AM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs
Weekend_Climberz Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 08/04/02
Posts: 3403
TRs: 4 Photos: 139
Loc: Overlooking Elliot Bay
Geez, how did I miss this one!

I work with the first ascensionist and he is a great resource for some of the history of the routes in the area.
_________________________
Weekday Sprayer

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#640725 - 01/26/07 02:53 PM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs [Re: Weekend_Climberz]
NYC007 Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 793
TRs: 2 Photos: 54
Loc: spokanistan
always a good BUMP, since people are asking or will start
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Didnt you see my movie!?

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#640796 - 01/26/07 06:55 PM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs [Re: Weekend_Climberz]
DPS Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 10/13/00
Posts: 3565
TRs: 19 Photos: 49
Originally Posted By: Weekend_Climberz

I work with the first ascensionist and he is a great resource for some of the history of the routes in the area.


Would that be Dave Seaman?
_________________________
Dispensing piss poor advice for since October, 2000.

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#640860 - 01/26/07 10:19 PM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs [Re: Chad_A]
catbirdseat Offline
Elite Sprayforce Team

Registered: 10/09/02
Posts: 13214
TRs: 46 Photos: 144
Loc: Costa Mesa, CA
Originally Posted By: vw4ever
Wow! The power of the search engine. Great read.

Can't believe no one ever responded to this one; glad to be the first.
Best thread revival of the year!
_________________________
You don't do an encore if you just played Mahler.

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#640931 - 01/27/07 06:10 PM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs [Re: DPS]
Weekend_Climberz Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 08/04/02
Posts: 3403
TRs: 4 Photos: 139
Loc: Overlooking Elliot Bay
Originally Posted By: danielpatricksmith
Would that be Dave Seaman?


Without the "a", though. Not that I want Dru making jokes about his favorite drink.
_________________________
Weekday Sprayer

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#640936 - 01/27/07 06:22 PM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs [Re: Weekend_Climberz]
Dr_Flush_Amazing Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 321
TRs: 0 Photos: 2
Originally Posted By: Weekend_Climberz
... Not that I want Dru making jokes about his favorite drink.


HO!!!!!

The longhair comes through with a ZINGER!
_________________________
I JUST MADE POOP!

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#640939 - 01/27/07 06:50 PM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs [Re: Weekend_Climberz]
DPS Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 10/13/00
Posts: 3565
TRs: 19 Photos: 49
Originally Posted By: Weekend_Climberz
Originally Posted By: danielpatricksmith
Would that be Dave Seaman?


Without the "a", though. Not that I want Dru making jokes about his favorite drink.

I colleague of mine climbs and skis with Dave.
_________________________
Dispensing piss poor advice for since October, 2000.

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#655994 - 03/10/07 11:54 AM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs [Re: DPS]
pms Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 492
TRs: 3 Photos: 15
Loc: Seattle, WA 98105
It sounds like there is a little moisture headed our way. Could it be the start of the official Triple Couloir season?

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#656061 - 03/10/07 01:34 PM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs [Re: pms]
TeleRoss Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 06/24/03
Posts: 696
TRs: 37 Photos: 288
Loc: green room
Triple Couloir ski sesason!
_________________________
All I do is surf now...but might make a guest appearance on a mountain or two near you wink

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#656078 - 03/10/07 03:57 PM Re: Dragontail, Triple Couloirs [Re: TeleRoss]
pms Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 492
TRs: 3 Photos: 15
Loc: Seattle, WA 98105
oh yea I forgot about that. Totally diminishes my chest beating about this once classic climb now ski run. I'm taking it off my list. piece of crap climb anyway....

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#656463 - 03/12/07 09:47 PM Triple Couloirs - rock pro???? [Re: pms]
webnick2007 Offline
member

Registered: 12/30/06
Posts: 109
TRs: 0 Photos: 39
Loc: Emerald City
What is the scoop on protecting the rock? Nelson mentions a 5.8 down climb into the second col. So there's more rock entering the third. Are they cracks that fill and freeze or can you find protection on the sides of the snow?

Thanks a good read and trip report.

(I think those are band aids on the icon)

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#656495 - 03/12/07 11:51 PM Re: Triple Couloirs - rock pro???? [Re: webnick2007]
Chad_A Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/24/03
Posts: 1499
TRs: 14 Photos: 371
Loc: Bellingham, WA
You can down climb it if you like, but when we were there last year, there were multiple anchors you could rap off of and just be done with it. It drops you right where you need to be, and then you're off and running again up to the second ice section.
_________________________
"prepare, do your best, and continue trying after failures." -George Lowe

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#657000 - 03/14/07 03:43 PM Re: Triple Couloirs - rock pro???? [Re: webnick2007]
skykilo Offline
veteran

Registered: 09/04/02
Posts: 1250
TRs: 25 Photos: 8
Loc: SF, NM
Originally Posted By: webnick2007
Nelson mentions a 5.8 down climb into the second col.


Who is this Nelson, Willie Nelson? I wouldn't climb with that old hillbilly; he smokes too much weed.

Ross, tell us about your 5.8 boofer between the top two cooleys.

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#657511 - 03/16/07 10:12 AM Re: Triple Couloirs - rock pro???? [Re: skykilo]
Weekend_Climberz Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 08/04/02
Posts: 3403
TRs: 4 Photos: 139
Loc: Overlooking Elliot Bay
Originally Posted By: skykilo
Originally Posted By: webnick2007
Nelson mentions a 5.8 down climb into the second col.


Who is this Nelson, Willie Nelson? I wouldn't climb with that old hillbilly; he smokes too much weed.


He has PMS, too.
_________________________
Weekday Sprayer

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#667380 - 04/10/07 04:27 AM Hillary Step!! [Re: Chad_A]
pup_on_the_mountain Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 508
TRs: 5 Photos: 29
Loc: Land of Cows

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#667384 - 04/10/07 06:45 AM Re: Hillary Step!! [Re: pup_on_the_mountain]
Chad_A Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/24/03
Posts: 1499
TRs: 14 Photos: 371
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Haha, great pic. When was that?
_________________________
"prepare, do your best, and continue trying after failures." -George Lowe

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#667428 - 04/10/07 09:42 AM Re: Hillary Step!! [Re: Chad_A]
pup_on_the_mountain Offline
addicted to cc.com

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 508
TRs: 5 Photos: 29
Loc: Land of Cows
On Sunday (Apr 8). Four teams of two persons each were on the route (three of the teams doing it car-to-car).
Coordinate well we did, and loads of fun we had .

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#667432 - 04/10/07 09:54 AM Re: Hillary Step!! [Re: pup_on_the_mountain]
goatboy Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/24/01
Posts: 1914
TRs: 33 Photos: 376
Loc: Waiting for high pressure
Hey Pup!

How about a more complete TR with some more photos sometime?

Thanks,

Goat

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