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Alex

[TR] Dragontail- Backbone Ridge 7/29/2006

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Climb: Dragontail-Backbone Ridge

 

Date of Climb: 7/29/2006

 

Trip Report:

I climbed Backbone Ridge with scott on Saturday. We left the vehicle at 3:40am and reached the lake before sunup. No bugs! At all! Scott decided to go stash the extra 3 and 4 camalot, so I headed up the moraine to the base of the route. After some brief confusion, scott came up the moraine about 30 min later. While waiting for him I decided there was enough light and broke out the camera for some pictures - ah dammit no battery juice AGAIN! My camera is a little old but its getting older changing out 4 AA batteries every damn trip. Scott came up and we scrambled to the base of the first pitch. Crampons useful here!

The first pitch is a casual affair. At the top step around a tree to the right, around a corner, and the obvious offwidth looms above. From the ledge its a 60m pitch to the top of the offwidth, though the crack itself is only about 100 ft long. Everything that everyone has said about this crack is true: strenuous, physical, a bit insecure, really great climbing, push a 4 and a 5 Camalot. Thats pretty much how it goes down.

 

Great shot of the face

http://www.ericandlucie.com/Cascades%20Rock%20Climbs/Dragontail%20Peak/IMG_0490W.jpg

 

The next two pitches take you up 5.8 ground using a number of options. We recognized the roof above from Ania's TR, and took the crack system just left of it to a tree just below and left of the roof. From there another 5.8ish pitch up and just left of the roof (2 older fixed pieces here) takes good gear and has some nice liebacking to a belay right on the crest. Another pitch over quickly easing ground but more difficult routefinding trending left now away from the crest, and then one more super mellow roped pitch with routefinding leads to some true simulclimbing to the base of the Fin.

On the Fin we busted out the instruction manual beta, but in the end it didn't help us find the "correct" route, nor did it matter all that much: the Fin is completely blank smooth slab split by some crack systems and it seems like you can weave together any number of options to get up and off it.

Far below us now we could hear another party on Serpentine, and the sun had just begun to peak over the Fin, effectively blinding us from seeing what lay ahead. Oh well. It was nice to be in the sun, after the cold belays on the lower ridge. I took the rope (a 70m) for an 85m pitch up along the major ramp system. This is a bit run-out moderate 5th, has some loose sand and blocks. Eventually after a short simul I found an adequate belay on a ledge below and right of some creaking flakes leaning out from the face. Scott came up and tackled a 30m pitch face climbing out left just under the creaking flakes, some face holds, then up into the next major ramp system above, up another diehedral to a ledge and up into "the Twin Cracks". Well, a set of twin cracks anyway. But unsure of how far he could get, he brought me quickly up mid-pitch to another belay spot and continued. From here he completed the twin cracks right to the top of a pedestal over some 5.7 to 5.9ish ground. (In retrospect we were one crack system right of where we should have been.) From here the blocky gendarme is just above and left of us, and it was one crack pitch to the top. The crack system is good 5.8ish climbing, but ends blankly 6 feet from the top (!!!) so scott pendulumed left 6 feet into the correct crack system and did the final moves to the crest of the Fin and a belay.

We were pretty tired when we topped out here, so we took a short break. The instruction manual said follow the crest on blocky loose 4th, while I remember Gary and Ania had gone into the TC gully. That looked really ugly, so we stayed on the crest which worked out very well and after about 100m we were changing out of our shoes.

Neither of us had a watch but we had the feeling we were doing ok and that we would still get out by dark by the number of idle wanderers roaming around the Enchantment Lakes plateau and Aasgard Pass. We descended the snowfield off the back of Dragontail with crampons on, down the difficult pounding grind that is Aassblaster Pass and out. Met Alpinfox and friend at the lake but otherwise it was pretty deserted. No bugs!

 

Eric and Lucie's Bus Trip TR

http://www.ericandlucie.com/Cascades%20Rock%20Climbs/Dragontail%20Peak/Dragontail.htm

 

Gary and Ania's TR

http://www.ofb.net/~ania/life/Dragontail_Jul05/

 

Gear Notes:

Doubles to 2, single 3,4,and 5. No nuts.

 

Approach Notes:

Its all good.

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Nice work. Maybe next time you'll climb it free wink.gif

 

Darin and I went left of your line on the fin: from a belay on a ledge below the left center of it we did a few unprotected face moves and then up and left to a crack near the left skyline. This connected with the left skyline of the fin briefly, then jogged back right just a bit into another crack. There was a long handish crack diagonalling up and right to a notch. Perhaps this is the crack you swung into up high. Like you, we stayed on the crest of the fin to within a few dozen yards of the summit.

 

Sounds like you had a grand outing.

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That was my first trip into the mountains in five years. All in all, it was pretty mellow.

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Cool running into you up there Alex. After you left we were wondering if you had soloed Backbone since we didn't see your partner and you said it was "scary".

 

hellno3d.gif

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scott had been just ahead of me when you saw me, he was go-go-grinding me into dust the entire time

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From here he completed the twin cracks right to the top of a pedestal over some 5.7 to 5.9ish ground. (In retrospect we were one crack system right of where we should have been.) From here the blocky gendarme is just above and left of us, and it was one crack pitch to the top. The crack system is good 5.8ish climbing, but ends blankly 6 feet from the top (!!!) so scott pendulumed left 6 feet into the correct crack system and did the final moves to the crest of the Fin and a belay.

Did the route a week prior to you and essentially had the same issues and did the same "variation" (down to having to pendulum left to reach the crest of the Fin). Nice TR.

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