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[TR] Dragontail- Dragon Scar 9/6/2006


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Climb: Dragontail-Dragon Scar


Date of Climb: 9/6/2006


Trip Report:

The Beckey guides see a lot of action in our house. Countless cascade peaks are drooled over daily, even though we only see a handful every season. The right side of Dragontail had been calling to Jens for a long time, so we headed up to the Lake for a night in the woods. Wednesday morning found us below the wildly striated Colchuck glacier, pondering the options above.


Many thin systems spiral upwards to the right of the Boving route, some of which could use a carefully drilled bolt or two, perhaps just a solid piton. We were not equipped with such advanced exploratory equipment, however, so we chose a pillar to shoot for and headed up a fairly protectable crack. Two intriguing, enjoyable, and just a little loose pitches found us atop a sweet ledge, faced with a variety of climbing options. Thin cracks again teased us with their scant pro, but Jens found a serpentine path up to the prominent rock scar above.


This feature is quite obvious from the Lake below, and appears to have sheared away some time ago. Three right facing corners offered themselves to us, Jens deciding the left one too improbable, I attempted the right one with the same results. Clearly, the center line was the only thing between success and a long, expensive rappel to the glacier. Luckily, after removing a few clumps of moss, Jens was able to reach the crux roof, a challenging feature composed of wild blocks and surprisingly splitter jams. Atop even larger blocks he belayed me up, struggling for purchase I managed to send down a sizable chunk of granite.


One last technical ropelength led me past some funky knobs and finally an enjoyable stembox, draging the heavy rope to a last belay below low angle ramps and ledges. From here we expected a possibly heinous 1200 feet of loose scrambling and intricate route finding. On the contrary, we found a superb path through orange flavored granite, depositing us on the summit ridge in less than half an hour.


I trudged the last few 100 metres to the summit, my first time atop the dragon, and surveyed the vast spectacle of... smoke and haze mostly, forest fires have transformed the view into a murky panorama, unique but not quite as good as it gets. The descent proved uneventful, crampons and an axe were definitely appreciated, as the late season iciness has formed. All told we climbed 5 long pitches, found no evidence of previous ascent (although you can never really rule it out), got to the top, and made it to the trailhead just as our ride showed up.


An excellent outing, and a bitchin' day.



oh yeah, i think it's something like grade IV, 5.11aR...


Gear Notes:

standard rack, extra thin gear helpful

Edited by maxhasson
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Thanks again for the pics Hoodie. That was a fun suprise to see those! The "R" designation is definetely for the crux pitch. Every pitch was more exciting than most I climb (seems to always happen in the mountains), but the real place to keep open eyes is pulling the crux roof. This feature, while incredibly splitter and fun, is a frightning collection of loose blocks. These blocks are all quite large and sharp. The rope being cut in the event of falling rock or even a leader fall is a possibility. Also, the belay is directly underneath the action (although when Max let loose a large block following the pitch it looked like it might have cleared the belay). That said, Max and I were blown away at how quality the climbing and the rock was on this line. I definetely recommend the route and would love to see what others think. Get after it!

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