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Kyle M

[TR] Dragontail Peak - Triple Couloirs 03/31/2018

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Trip: Dragontail Peak - Triple Couloirs

Trip Date: 03/31/2018

Trip Report:


Climbed Triple Couloirs yesterday via the bypass of the runnels. Weather was great, but route was pretty bony. There was very little ice thick enough to take a screw and a lot of slabby poorly protected mixed climbing, which was interesting considering we had never climbed mixed before and only had started ice a few months ago. Snow was okay, just slow.


Dragontail conditions:DSC08422.thumb.JPG.9270f876559442b80e01679c4da88bb4.JPG

We soloed all the couloirs. First couloir was pretty fast.DSC08455.thumb.JPG.231126c2cc0972e11aa1e1c1a79a0577.JPG We got to the base of the runnels and decided to pass on that. One other party behind us climbed the runnels and said it was "The hardest mixed climbing they had ever done before".


We continued up the 1st couloir another 150 ft and then started a pitch up to the left. One 80 m pitch to the rap anchor at the base of the 2nd couloir. It had a nice icy/mixed corner that actually feature the fattest ice we would see all day, enough to get in a 10cm screw!


The final part of this pitch had some sketchy traversing on rotten sugar snow on top of bare rock slab. I had to do some major excavation to find features in the rock slab underneath to use:


 Short rap, then the crux mixed chimney (but protected well) to the base of the 2nd couloir.


2nd and 3rd couloir were very unconsolidated and full of rotten sugar snow on top of slab in places, which made for exhausting breaking trail sliding around and stepping pretty deep, but at least there's a ladder of steps now.


60 m pitch between 2nd and 3rd couloir was relatively easy mixed, but very poorly protected. Solid 50ft runout between pieces.


This pitch was a rope stretcher, and all I could find for a belay anchor were some partially screwed in stubbies... Not much pro around here as I said.DSC08499.thumb.JPG.687e41acb3e0e7559b1bb37c924c691a.JPG

Up the 3rd couloir:


There was one short last WI2 step in the 3rd couloir, soloed it.


Last walk to the summit:DSC08510.thumb.JPG.ea5b27974b78f03c9d0b682f9bae21dd.JPG

Summit photo of Stuart:


Descent to Aasgard:


8 hours on route, 1 hour back down to lake from the summit. Descent was pretty firm in places down Aasgard. Some good WI features near the top of Aasgard. Some evidence of shallow wind slab avalanches in the couloirs, but we didn't notice any current activity.

Gear Notes:
Gear: nuts, angles (used once), cams .2-1 (small cams very useful), 10cm and 13 cm screws (bring the stubbies), pickets (not used, snow was too soft), 60m rope.

Approach Notes:
No flotation needed as the trail to Colchuck is packed, although the post holing across the lake was pretty bad. Be careful on the lake, one guy punched through and got his boot wet. Snow was consistent from about 2.5 miles up the road on.

Edited by Kyle M
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Nice work.  This is such a conditions dependent route.  I've done the North Face variation, which involved climbing to the top of the hidden couloir, then three 60 meter M4 pitches to the North Face Bowl, (NFB).  The NFB was covered in 1/4" of snice.  We simu-climbed the entire crackless, slabby NFB, myself half convinced we would find gear in the next 5 meters, the other half envisioned my partner and myself lying dead in a cocoon of rope at the base of the North Face of Dragontail.  I eventually found a crack in a boulder 60 meters below the exit couloir.   I welded a #2 Black Diamond angle piton that my partner was unable to retrieve and climbed to establish a belay below the exit couloir.  Three more M4 pitches delivered us at the start of the third couloir and easy climbing to the summit, where we were hit by a blizzard...  The second time Chris Simmmons and I climbed the traditional route in fat, WI-4ish condtiions in 14 hours car to car.  We were aided by being able to drive to within one mile of the trailhead.   

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